Street food is fun, exciting, and tasty, and there’s something for every taste and palate among its varied offerings, no matter when and where you want it.
The concept of street food is many, many, centuries-old but it seems to be blowing up in popularity these days. Worldwide, people have been serving food from carts on the street for far longer than anyone can remember. This type of food has always been an affordable and easy way to buy and sell food and feed people on the go.
However, today more than ever before, people are going out of their way to try street food. They seek it out in their hometowns and in places they visit both domestically and abroad.
It’s a wonderful time in history for street food. As a result, more and more people feel called to get into this niche of food preparation, service, and sales.
Perhaps you are interested, too. Fortunately, starting a street food business is easy. The initial investment is far lower than it would be for you to open a traditional restaurant. With a little money, a good idea, and a lot of energy, you can soon be sharing your culinary delights with passersby on the street, and you may even find some fame while doing so.
Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Starting a Street Food Business
There are so many benefits to starting a street food business of your own.
First and foremost, the start-up costs are low. Opening any sort of food service is risky, and many fail in a short time. If you open a street food business, you’ll invest less to start out, and will lose less if things don’t go as well as you hope. Further, for some, it’s possible to start a street food business without borrowing any money from the bank or from friends or family; that can be very attractive for most.
Also, if you own a street food business, you can be your own boss and you can work when and where you want. If you like working alone, you can often run a street food business all by yourself and you can avoid hiring employees. You don’t need much restaurant experience to succeed in this realm, and with the growing popularity of street food in general, you will have interested customers before you even begin.
Challenges Faced by Street Food Vendors
On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to this type of business as well. There’s a lot of competition, and that competition will continue to grow. You’ll have to work long hours and you’ll need to stay motivated even when the going gets tough.
There are many regulations and laws that you’ll need to know well and comply with, and you’ll have to seek out locations where selling your food is not only allowed but profitable. Also, your business may ebb and flow with the seasons, and you’ll need to be prepared for that.
How to Start a Street Food Business
The challenges of starting a street food business are many, but so are the advantages. Despite the possibility of struggling in the beginning or failing altogether, many people jump into this sort of business every year. There are a few simple steps you’ll need to follow to get started, but if you stay focused, you can be up and running in a month’s time or less.
Before you spend any money on your business idea, you should spend time brainstorming. There are many different factors to consider.
First, what kind of food do you plan to sell? Do you already know how to prepare it? What will your food costs be per item? How many menu items will you offer? What about beverages? What kinds of containers and utensils will you need? Take time to itemize all of your expenses so you know what to expect before you invest a dime.
Where will you sell this food? Will you stay in the same location or change your location each day? What hours will you work and on what days of each week? These factors are all crucial ones to consider.
What type of vehicle will you need? Which kind is best for your menu and locations? Do you want a street food cart, a concession trailer, or a food truck? Where can you find the best flat top grill? The type of vehicle and equipment you choose can make or break your business.
Do you know how to make a food business plan? There are many resources to help you online. You will need a business plan before you go any further.
Determine Legal Requirements
Your next step should be to determine the legal requirements for a street food business where you live. You will likely need to obtain permits and you will also need a business license. In most places, you will also need to register your cart or other vehicle.
Furthermore, you will need to keep track of your earnings so you can pay taxes on them. You’ll also need to make sure you can pass regular health inspections. A health inspector will want to look over your set-up before you begin selling food, but you will also encounter surprise inspections when you are out in the field.
Creating Your Concept
Once you have determined all of the above, it’s time to have fun creating your concept.
During this stage, you can finalize your menu and perfect your preparation techniques. Try out your offerings on your friends and family and ask them for complete honesty to improve upon your existing ideas.
You can think about branding and create a recognizable design for your cart, trailer, or truck. Make a website and create social media accounts. Decide if you want to wear a uniform and scope out possible locations for your mobile street food business.
Open for Business
Finally, opening day will arrive. Get out there and start selling street food to hungry people. Remember, it may take a little while before people find you and start spreading the word. Don’t get frustrated if sales are slow at first.
Also, be sure to take constructive criticism and adjust things based on the feedback of others. A few tweaks can be all that’s need to turn yourself into an overnight success.
Everybody Loves Street Food
Everybody loves street food, and if all goes well, everyone will love yours in particular. Starting a street food business may sound easy, but you’ll still have to work hard if you plan to succeed. Dedication, focus, drive, and talent will all work in concert to get you there. Stick with it, and you’ll be feeding the masses with a big smile on your face while enjoying the earnings in your pocket. Good luck!
If you’re looking for more great posts about food policy in New York City and around the world, check out the Food Policy Snapshots section of our site.