Once again we’ve decided to unite two of our absolute favourite things in the world…startups and food. Anyone who is a regular pilgrim to Startacus wont be surprised by this - just take a look at this lot of culinary curios. This time though our enthusiasm is verging on the ludicrous as we take a look at all the yummy details of starting your own street food stall...
Why are we so excited about this particular post you may wonder? Well it’s because a street food stall is much more than just a place to get tasty treats on the go…unlike a lot of other businesses, street food trading is a self employment opportunity which is a realistic and achievable prospect for a huge number of people. The overheads are relatively low, it can be started without an enormous initial investment and (in true style of the popup venture) can be a great way of testing the market for a larger scale business in the future.
Having said all this, running a street food stall is still running a business and when staring yours there's a huge amount of things that need to be considered. Hopefully this guide will help get your business underway.
What food stall to start?
It’s fair to say that in the past few years we as a nation have become a little more adventurous with the food that we eat when out and about. Gone are the days when “street food” simply meant a sloppy burger and chips drenched in vinegar…a stroll down a city centre high street is now like taking a gastro tour of the world with everything from kangaroo balls to reindeer burgers being ours for the munching!
We aren’t suggesting that you go out and open a stall selling Rudolph Wraps with a side of Skippy sauce but there really is no limit to the type of food that you can sell… the basic rule to follow is, if people will buy it, you can sell it!
Just as with any other business, before deciding to open a street food stall you will need to complete comprehensive and detailed market research. Not only will this research help you to determine whether or not you can feasibly set up the business but it will also help you to make some key decisions about it. Some of the things you should be trying to address in your market research are:
Where should you locate your street food stall? Do you want to have a permanent/semi-permanent location for it? Are there particular areas where street food traders seem to be focused where you live?
Will you be located within a market or will you be on the street?
A street food vendor is highly dependent upon passing trade so it is absolutely essential that the area has a good footfall. Have you visited the area on different days and at different times to assess the level of passing pedestrians?
Be aware that footfall can change quite significantly throughout the year e.g. during non-term time, during the festive period... how could these changes affect how busy you will be?
It’s really important to gauge the kind of food that the people in your area will wish to have from a street food vendor. You can do this by investigating what kind of food is sold in the area already and by holding a focus group, or simply by asking people for their opinions.
Do you plan to sell food which is in a similar vein to that which is already available or are you going to offer something different?
When it comes to a semi-impulse purchase like street food, price can play a large role in a customer's decision whether or not to buy. What kind of prices are similar stalls in the area charging? Will you be able to provide your food at a price which is competitive?