So you want to start a Street Food Business? But you have no idea what that actual entails, well let me break down what a day in the life of a Street Food Trader is. That was the plan anyway to share with you one day, when I started writing I realised that one day just isn't enough! So take a look at what is like to run a Street Food Business.
There are no events without lots of leg work. They don't all just land on your lap you have to go out and get them! I spend most of my days quoting for events or contacting event organisers to try and get us a pitch Often there are lengthy application forms, negotiating prices and just generally selling yourself and your little empire. If you land the event there is often lots of work to do before you get there. Think Method Statements and Allergy information plus sooo much more! Our top tip, sign up to NCASS they are amazing help for these 'fun' tasks that you must complete. If you ever have any issues they are only a phone call away, they also offer great discounts in exciting things like insurance.
After you have booked that event is when the real work starts! Think logistics and prep. Figuring out what time you are going to need to leave, deciding on the realistic amount of covers you will have time to do and will be able to sell depending on footfall. Then you have to prep all of your amazing food for the next day. For us that involves making sauce, prepping toppings and if we are going to be trading early Baking lots of breakfast goodies. Each trader will have a different Prep routine, some will take a lot more time than others! The more your Prep before the event the better, if you are fully prepped you are then fully prepared for the day.
For lots of Events they may start later on in the day but you are expected to be there at the crack of dawn and for larger events even the night before. This is something for you to think about when you are figuring out your break even point. I naively thought when we started that we wouldn't have that many early morning because who wants Pizza first thing in the day?! Well I quickly learnt that that doesn't matter, so prepare for lots of slow starts to your day before the craziness kicks in! For events that you don't have to be there early for make sure you leave yourself enough time to be able to set up. For us we need a minimum of an hour to heat up our Oven. Depending on your set up depends on the amount of time you need to set up. We are obviously a Food Truck so although we need an hour for the oven to heat up we can use the rest of our time to organise ourselves, making Pizza Boxes etc.
Once your slow morning has subsided the craziness will begin! My top tip, make sure you go for a Loo Break before it gets busy, I've gone hours without being able to go as it has been so hectic! You will never be so tired or proud until you have finished a hectic shift where you don't stop until you sell out. Don't mistake that for a winge, I am always the happiest when we are crazy busy on our Van. It is definitely one of the best feelings you will ever have! Especially when people keep coming back to you, to compliment our Pizzas or return for another Pizza. Our record is four Pizzas in an evening for the same person!
After you have taken a moment to either celebrate or commiserate your Day, unfortunately like in any career you will always have a bad day every now and again. As long as you learn from your mistakes then you aren't walking away with nothing. Even though you are probably going to be knackers that is the time to clean, clean, clean! Once your Van is back to its sparkling self you are hopefully on your way home. However a lot of the time you will be off to another job, the Summer especially is full of double whammy days! Think Polo Matches in the Day and Weddings in the evening. Forget the phrase Money never sleeps, Street Food Traders never sleep!
This is only a small snapshot into what it is like to be a Street Food Trader, I may make it sound somewhat easy and stress free, but it is far from that. Working in any part of the Food Industry is hard work, the only way you will really succeed is if you love what you do. Your passion and need to achieve is the only thing that will get you through those crazy busy days and slow events! The great thing about this industry is that it feels like a little family, nearly everyone we have come across has been eager to help us succeed.
Want to find out more about being a Street Food Trader? From Wedding Fairs to How we Started our Business check out some of our other Posts. We have only been going a year and I know we still have so much to learn! Bring on another amazing year and the all the lessons that I'm sure will come with it!
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