Setting up your own street food business

Setting up your own street food business – words Alexa Wang

Would you class yourself as a dab hand in the kitchen? Are you looking for a new business adventure? Do you like the idea of being your own boss? Then look no further, your own street food business could be the answer.

With the popularity of street food and niche cafes continuously on the rise, now is the perfect time to cash in on the success. We plan to tell you can run your own (even if you’ve burnt a few meals in your time).


Street food has been around for years in countries such as Thailand, but it’s relatively new to the UK and it looks like it is here to stay – music to everyone’s ears. It’s a cool alternative to eating in a formal restaurant. Whether it is Chinese, Indian or Italian, the types of street food are endless and available in all cuisines, and it’s delicious. Over 3.5 billion people are eating street food, and search volumes have increased by 80% between 2014 and 2016. So, it is clear that business is booming in the food industry. Happy days!

Having a strategic business plan plays an important role for your business to be successful. You must have a clear vision about what good food to offer on your customers, how you will deliver your products efficiently, how to brand and market, as well as how to handle unexpected situations your business might encounter. The safety of your customers is priority. With this in mind, you should follow the EU food regulations, but don’t worry, we know that it can be boring!

The big opening

You’ve got the boring stuff out of the way including your street food business plan. You might plan to have a big grand opening for your startup – a big party, or maybe a VIP invite only event to wow your guests with free tasters of your food.  However, before your business’ grand opening, you must register your premises with the environmental health service. This is one of those boring but important musts. It should be done 28 days before you open and is completely free. Be aware that if you have more than one premises for your business, you need to register them all under the same name.

Can you trust your suppliers?

Now, we aren’t saying your suppliers need to be your best friend, we aren’t referring to that kind of trust. But your business’ success depends on the reliability of your suppliers for quality produce. An unreliable supplier can have a negative impact on the safety and quality of the food you intend to serve to your customers. There are some questions you should ask yourself when the food supplies arrive:

  1. Are chilled and frozen foods cold enough?
  2. Is the packaging damaged?
  3. Is it what you ordered?

If the answer to those concerns you, then give your supplier a call. You are within your rights to question them, and reject the items you suspect.

Presenting your food

Make your food look good! Presentation is everything in the food business – make it look real tasty and someone is likely to buy it.

On a serious note, all the food that you intend to sell needs to be labelled and presented to the customer correctly. It shouldn’t be misleading. All information should be made clear and allergen advice should be available on the labelling.


Yes, we said it. Paperwork! Unfortunately, even with a cool food business, paperwork is necessary. All food businesses and operators should also intend to keep records of food, food substances, and the food-producing animals that have helped towards supplying consumers with food.

How to avoid cross-contamination

No chef wants their guests to feel ill after eating their latest masterpiece. Within a business, your customers have the power to rip your reputation to shreds in one single bad review – even more so in this digital age we now live in.

Cross-contamination should be avoided at all costs – make sure your staff label foods correctly and keep raw food away from cooked. The correct storage is key here.

You may have customers that have allergens – for example a nut allergy.  You must ensure that foods don’t come into contact with each other when preparing foods to avoid allergen cross-contamination.

The ground rules for food prep:

  • Keep raw meat/poultry and ready-to-eat foods separate at all times, including packaging material for ready-to-eat-food.
  • Wash your hands after handling meat/poultry, fish, eggs and unwashed fruit and vegetables.
  • Clean and wash work surfaces and equipment before and when handling these foods.
  • Prepare and store allergens in different areas of a kitchen and when serving them to the public.
  • Keep raw produce below ready-to-eat food in the fridge, or in a different fridge if this is possible.
  • Attempt to educate any new members of staff to the business on cross-contamination, allergen contamination and food hygiene.

Setting up your own street food business – words Alexa Wang


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