By Louise Petty.
With street food traders providing stiff competition to high street restaurants and serving something a bit different to the usual dining experience, it is no surprise that the UK street food market is big business and growing at a much greater rate than the total fast-food market. Foodies, such as condiment connoisseur Levi Roots, are the driving force behind the trend, with street food now at the forefront of culinary innovation in Britain. More and more people are looking to start their own street food business, but where do you start? This guide aims to provide the foundation for you to get started on the street food road to success!
Can I start a street food business?
Starting a street food business can be daunting, but what new business venture isn’t? The internet is a great platform from which to learn the core aspects of starting a food business. With so many online training courses now available, anyone can harness their catering and creative talents and kick start a career in street food.
Funding your street food business
Sourcing money to start your business can be one of the hardest parts when starting out. Some people choose to fund it entirely themselves, but this approach can be unreliable. Approaching the bank for a loan is the most trusted way or sharing the cost with a business partner will take off some of the strain.
In the first months of your business, you might find that you won’t be taking home any salary. This is a standard in any new business venture.
Establishing the name and the brand
A strong and unique name and identity helps your brand stand out from competition. It creates a lasting impression upon your customers and is what people will see everywhere – such as on your transport or stall, menus, social media and online.
Your brand identity should communicate your vision and be truly reflective of what you want your business to be.
How and where to register your street food business
When you first set up a business you will need to register with various people:
Register with your local authority – you must register your business at least 28 days before you start trading, with the Environmental Health Department at the local authority closest to where your business will be based. Once you have registered, an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) will come to inspect and certify that your vehicle or stall in line with current regulations. They will also advise you on matters such as food labelling and allergy information.
Register with HMRC – you need to register your street food business with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure all taxing and personnel information is correct.
Business insurance – it is the law that all caterers must have Employers Liability Insurance, which covers everything health and safety-related for you and your employees.
Gas/electrical safety certificates – all gas-powered equipment used for catering purposes must be installed, inspected and tested annually by a Gas Safe engineer. You must get all electrical equipment PAT tested every 12 months by an electrician, which ensures its safety and proves that you are ensuring a safe environment for you and your staff.
Get a food hygiene certificate
Food safety regulations state that anyone responsible for handling and selling food must ensure that the food they sell is safe to eat. Of course, this applies to all street food traders and the easiest way to prove that you are complying with the regulations is to take an online food safety training course that covers all the essential things you need to be food hygiene savvy. Training should then be refreshed every three years to ensure that you keep up to date with any changes in the law or food safety practices. It’s easy to find an up-to-date online course.
Undertake a risk assessment – known as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) control system, all street food businesses should also complete a risk assessment to ensure that there are no food safety hazards and that working conditions are safe and suitable. You can find out more by visiting the High Speed Training website.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) – the FHRS is a government and Food Standards Agency scheme to help show how important good food hygiene practices are within a catering business. An FSA officer will give you a rating from 1-5 depending on how you hygienically handle your food, the condition of your premises and kitchens, and how you log and manage all your food safety procedures.
Once you’ve established what your street food brand, product and premises, it is important to spread the message and promote your exciting new business:
- Advertising in magazines/newspapers, issuing a press release or lining up media interviews.
- Business Cards.
- Creating a website.
- Handing out leaflets and free samples.
- Securing a slot at a food festival – take your business on tour!
- Social media.
Work on your customer service skills
For a business to increase sales, there are two main ways:
- Secure new business.
- Increase repeat business.
Repeat business is the key to a successful. It will help to increase your exposure through word-of-mouth – which some argue is the most powerful form of marketing!
For more information and advice, visit www.highspeedtraining.co.uk discover online courses to help you begin your journey to street food success.