Street Food Vendor - how to get started

Me, a street food vendor? Why not! There’s a huge buzz around the idea of street food, with many local markets now offering a vast array of different gourmet dishes from around the world. It can be a highly lucrative business that has seen successful vendors opening restaurants off the back of their market success, so if you want to sell delicious, exotic specialties for a living it doesn’t have to be a pipe dream.

Street food vendor in Thailand, serving various soups

If you think you have something unique to offer, starting your own street food business could be one of the most fulfilling things you could ever do. Here are some things to consider when setting up a street food business.

Photo left is a street food vendor in Thailand serving various soups at an open air marketplace.

Permits and Premises

Despite being set on the street, you still require a number of documents to be able to legally sell your products in markets and on the street. It’s best you visit your local council to speak with somebody about your plans.

Because your business involves food, the premises where your food is made will need to pass a number of checks in order for you to trade. There are a number of different requirements that your premises will need to meet so be sure to check these out before applying.

If your home is not suitable for manufacturing your food, look into renting a kitchen. This can be expensive but if you have no other option, it’s necessary.

If you intend to trade using a van you will need to have additional inspections as well as insurance, so be sure to look into van insurance quotes.

Products

It’s always a good idea to have a firm idea of what you want to sell. Try going to your local markets where you would ideally like to trade. Have a look around at what people are offering and think about how you could position yourself in a way that would come across as unique. In such a competitive market, standing out from the crowd is essential.

Branding

Having a strong identity is vital if you want to have long term success. Sit down and think about what message you want to convey as well as how it will compliment your food.

Having a strong identity will definitely help you when it comes to pitching to markets, as they often look at branding and packaging before accepting your application.

Finding a location

Because street food is so hugely popular, it may be difficult to get a spot at your favourite market. Some markets have waiting lists, meaning that you may have to wait around for considerable time if you have your heart set on a particular location.

Visit as many local markets as you can to see where you would fit in best. Speak to an experienced street food vendor to ask about their experiences trading on the market as well as whom you should contact to start a stall. This will give you a good idea of whether this is the right location for you.

Starting a street food stall requires a lot of hard work and thought, so be sure that you’re ready to take on the responsibility!


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