Issue 1. 14 September 2012 streetfoodbusiness.co.uk @streetfoodb
Why traders are key to urban regeneration Staying up late: The rising popularity of British night markets
Cuttingedge social media: Boosting business with mobile applications
Vendors go van crazy: Demand rockets by 100%
The UKâ€™s only weekly for the street food industry
B’ham site debuts
8 9 10 11
Features Cover: Regeneration12-13 Sampling 14 Expansion 15 Technology 16-17 Social Enterprise 18 Marketing 19 Retail 20-21 Trends 22 Locations 23 Talking Point 24 Editor Lucy Mair email@example.com Deputy Editor Matthew Wright firstname.lastname@example.org News Editor Polly Bryan email@example.com Features Editor Corey Kitchener firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Sub-Editor Louise Richardson email@example.com Production Editor Thomas Dines firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MEAT SHACK
Analysis Night Markets Pork Prices Regional Growth
Brum traders: Making it happen MATT RUMBLE
Birmingham traders finally got the chance to operate despite a lack of council support.
Festival gets bigger after 50% footfall rise LUCY MAIR
A food festival that brought 150,000 extra visitors to York city centre has invited more street food vendors to trade at this September’s event. Footfall on York’s main shopping street increased by 50 per cent over the ten-day York Food and Drink Festival in 2011, according to festival director Debbie Waite. York Council has since
Matt Rumble email@example.com Cover Photos: Lauren Brown, Malaysia Kitchen, Andy Evans and Paul Winch-Furness
Street Food Business and streetfoodbusiness.co.uk are published by PMA Group. They were created by postgraduates from the Summer 2012 Magazine Journalism Diploma Course. PMA Group, 7a Bayham Street, London, NW1 0EY 020 7278 0606 All copyright belongs to authors.
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knocked down a public toilet block to provide space for 20 more stalls at the food festival and other popular events. Waite said: “Street food is becoming more popular every year. In the past we’ve focussed on Yorkshire produce and cooking but this year we’re expanding into more international foods because people want a variety.” Traders will serve ethnic and Yorkshire dishes.
Shabby Bristol area rescued by traders
Reporters/Subs Ainhoa Barcelona firstname.lastname@example.org Seeta Bhardwa email@example.com Ben Carey-Evans firstname.lastname@example.org Matilde Casaglia email@example.com Tom Newcombe firstname.lastname@example.org
The Digbeth Dining Club was launched last month to give street food businesses a kick-start in a city where vendors have been missing out. Event organiser Jack Brabant said: “I would love to make this a weekly event with a series of different local traders.” Birmingham City Council is not licensing street food traders or launching any events. “The problem in Birmingham is that the council is not supportive in making it happen so I’ve found somewhere willing to support us
The Bear Pit: Revitalised by snacks and street art sausage specialist and a Caribbean SEETA BHARDWA
A Bristol community group is using street food traders to regenerate a rundown area in the city. The sunken subway space is located near the bus station and known locally as the Bear Pit. The Bear Pit Improvement Group wants to improve the site and make it safer for pedestrians. It has introduced some street food stalls including a gourmet
food stall. Chair of the improvement group Henry Shaftoe said: “We have been working for two-anda-half years to try to make this space better. Street food has made the area more attractive.” The group received a grant from Bristol City Council and the University of the West of England to help in the renovation.
and get it going,” said Brabant. The event is based outside the Spotlight bar in Digbeth. Co-owner James Swinburne said: “We are trying to bring culture to the area and make it more interesting for people. Being able to get good quality food is part of that.” Paul Collis, who runs The Meat Shack and was at the event, said: “We’ve been trying to get street food going here for months and hopefully this will finally make it happen.” Traders included Churros Susanna and Big Smoke.
North East gets first night venue JAMES BYRNE PHOTOGRAPHER
New market: Global cuisine LOUISE RICHARDSON
Newcastle’s first street food night market will showcase produce from a range of celebrity and regional chefs. Urban Street Feast is a one-off event and will take place from 28 to 29 September. Indian chef and food writer Maunika Gowardhan, who is setting up the market, said: “It will run from 6pm until midnight, or when the food runs out. Indian street food markets are really bustling in the early hours of the morning and I wanted to bring that culture to the North East.” The market will try to include a mix of regional dishes. Gowardhan said: “We have traders from all over the contry including York, London, Liverpool and Darlington. “We also have some confirmed celebrity cooks that I am keeping under wraps until nearer the date.” Gowardhan has been a private chef for ten years, but chose to get involved in street food due to growing interest in the North East. Analysis p.9
Custom-made vans Top chef soar to £1.7m in sales moving to streets A mobile catering company’s
TOM NEWCOMBE WILKINSON’S MOBILE CATERING
annual turnover stands at £1.7 million, despite the recession. Wilkinson’s Mobile Catering in Darwen, Lancashire, has custom-made 80 street food vans since 2010 and orders have doubled over the past two years, according to the manufacturer. Owner Mike Wilkinson said: “We are creating more custommade vans. We get more requests for quirky, eye-catching vehicles every year.” Wilkinson’s built four of the ten street food vans in the London Evening Standard’s list of the best, including Pitt Cue Co’s unit. “I’d advise anyone who’s serious about their business to consider designing their own van.
Festival seeking unusual vendors
Wilkinson’s: Record turnover
The vehicles we’ve created around a theme have gone on to great success,” said Wilkinson. “I think when you show someone you care about the outside of your van, you’re showing them you care about what goes on inside too.”
The East Midlands Food Festival is looking for innovative traders to book pitches. Catering spots and exhibition halls are available for vendors interested in the event. It is expected to bring 10,000 people to Melton Mowbray for two days from 6 October.
Legendary chef Pierre Koffmann is looking to move into the world of street food. Following the success of a pilot pop-up restaurant on the roof of Selfridges in London, he is looking to find a permanent street site in the capital later this year. One of Koffmann’s chefs Jason Seddon confir,med the move. He said: “We’ve seen the opportunity to display quality food on the streets of London.” After five years out of the business Koffmann opened his Michelin-starred restaurant at The Berkeley Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge in 2010. Trends p.22
Wales jumps on the market wagon Wales’ first street food market will open in Cardiff on 17 November. Organiser Deri Reed said: “I am excited to bring this to Cardiff.” The event will be exclusively for street food. Analysis p.11
£500k Games debt
Yorkshire docks to be transformed
Three street food markets expecting to serve thousands of Olympic visitors have closed early after suffering losses estimated at around £500,000. Urban Feasts in Canning Town, Weymouth and the Olympia Market in Leyton all abandoned their pitches when the expected number of customers failed to materialise. Leyton traders paid up to £16,000 for a 45-day pitch at the market. Many lost more on unsold food. North London Business, the company organising the market, refused to comment. Leyton traders are taking legal action to recoup their losses. Clare Richards, project manager of Industri[us] in Canning Town, said: “We were expecting thousands but in the end we didn’t
BEN CAREY-EVANS & MATTHEW WRIGHT
Urban Feasts: Olympic transport controls resulted in painful losses
even have the pre-Olympic level of footfall.” In London, stewards directed spectators directly onto the transport system before they had a chance to visit street traders. Weymouth spectators were also directed away from the town centre market, according to street food trader Jonathan Williams. He said: “If you were
inside the spectator area it would have been fine, but the town centre was dead.” Williams was hoping for more business at his stall, Cafe Môr. Mainsail, organiser of the Weymouth Bayside festival and Cowes events, went into receivership just six days into the Olympics, citing poor turnout. Social enterprise p.18
means more chefs and more cooking demonstrations.” More than 60 vendors had stalls this year, with master classes, tasting sessions and demonstrations on offer. Gloucester Quays is owned by Peel Group, which also owns the Trafford Centre.
ALL IN THE IMAGE
Gloucester Quays shopping centre has set a date for next year’s street food festival after the event attracted 90,000 visitors this year. Head of marketing Alison Tennant said: “We’re hoping to make it bigger in every way, which
TV fame beckons a busking vendor A street food busker is planning to launch a digital show to raise awareness of food busking. Customers pay based on the quality of his food. John Quilter will interview celebrities as he cooks for them on www. celebritychefsuk.com.
Lancs success to repeat next year
Quays market return AINHOA BARCELONA
Street food could revitalise docks in Leeds. Property firm Allied London will turn Clarence Dock into a destination for business, leisure and events by 2014. “Street food markets are definitely something we’re considering,” said project coordinator Lucy Whalley.
Clitheroe Food Festival will return in 2013 after this year’s success. More than 22,000 people attended the event in August. Organiser Julie Whalley said the two day event had been a “phenomenal success”. It was the second festival in the small Lancashire town.
Gloucester: Making it bigger Street Food Business | 3
Traders debut at Manchester event A food festival will feature street food traders for the first time in its 15-year history. The Trafford Food and Drink Festival is capitalising on the popularity markets are enjoying nationwide to attract record numbers. Development p.12-13
Street Kitchen’s permanent base Street Kitchen is to settle at a fixed site in Shoreditch. The owners, who hosted the London Restaurant Festival’s street food competition, hope to move in September. Co-founder Mark Jankel said: “We are keen on a permanent spot. The process is going well.”
SA accredits our organic traders Vendors who want to achieve the Food For Life Catering Mark should apply to the Soil Association (SA). It rewards food-providers for using local, free-range and organic ingredients and gives firms gold, silver and bronze level awards.
Hot Dog mega app launches LUCY MAIR
Big Apple Hot Dogs will make street food more accessible to busy customers with the launch of its mobile app. People can choose their hotdog and toppings before pre-paying via PayPal. Orders are sent to founder Abiye Cole by email and text to be prepared. Cole chose the features his business needs, including a loyalty scheme and email database of his customers. The app was then created with Chylled Catering Apps, which designs apps specifically for caterers.
Until now, the mobile hotdog cart has only been able to take cash payments. “Few people carry cash these days and we often have to direct people to the nearest cash machine. It slows everything down during the lunchtime rush,” said Cole. The loyalty scheme means users automatically receive every tenth hot dog free without having to carry a stamp card. Cole will also use the app to drive business on quiet days by sending special offers direct to his customers’ phones.
“Creating the app was simple, but it takes around 40 days for Apple to test the app and make it available to download from its App Store,” said Cole. Technology p.16-17
The creators of a money transfer app are looking for street traders to test their new product. Droplet is an iPhone and tablet app designed to allow businesses to deal in large sums of money without having to worry about costs and security.
The service is in beta-testing in Birmingham. A launch date will be decided after the trial period has been completed. Owner of Urban Coffee Company and tester Simon Jenner said: “One of our current frustrations is the cost of taking
Shakes stall expands with new drinks van
card payments and how time consuming it is. We jumped at the chance to try this out.” Droplet co-founder Will Grant said: “Our vision is to create a far more convenient way for people to transfer their money while on the move.”
Food critics’ mixed views on industry COREY KITCHENER
Scottish street food traders will have three minutes to convince investors to fund start-up businesses. They can pitch ideas to investors at the Angel’s Den, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow from 14 to 16 November.
Rashers top food favourites list
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Mobile: Multi-function opportunities
Trial for secure mobile payments
Finding funds the speed dating way
Bacon is the number one food in the first Top 100 Food Index. Food Network UK asked 2,000 British adults about their favourite foods. Meat dominated the top ten, with bacon topping the list above chicken, chocolate, steak and lamb.
CHYLLED CATERING APPS
Creation: Inventive trader’s first van in action at Netil Market LOUISE RICHARDSON
Milkshake-stall owner Ben Smissen is expanding his business by custom building a new van, nicknamed Beetlejuice, to sell a range of fruit smoothies. Street Shakes currently
makes a wide range of milkshakes in a 60s-themed campervan, which Smissen also designed. He hopes the new addition will be finished by May 2013 and develops into a new chain.
There are mixed opinions about the street food industry at the Guild of Food Writers. Carol Wilson, author of five cookery books, said: “Feelings about street food are quite mixed. I’ve tried street food and the quality of it differs as much as our members’ opinions.” The Guild has 390 members who write professionally about food. They include national newspaper columnists and cookbook authors. “I do think there is a lot of interest in street food though. People are more adventurous about what they’ll eat in the street because they’ve sampled similar things abroad,” said Wilson, who is also the Guild’s secretary. Regular lunches and conferences are held across Britain to discuss trends and news in the food indsutry.
Pork cost hits traders POLLY BRYAN
BLYTHBURGH FREE RANGE PORK
The National Pig Association (NPA) is warning traders to expect a significant rise in the price of pork throughout the coming months. The UK could lose ten per cent of its pig production by Christmas, according to NPA general manager Zoe Davies. This is due to a sharp rise in the price of wheat and soya, which make up 80 per cent of a pig’s diet. Global warming is responsible for decreased yields, with severe drought in the US and flooding in the UK. “There are just 1,900 pig producers left in the UK and this
Blythburgh: Losing money
number is falling,” said Davies. “It‘s different to problems in previous years, because we are now seeing people physically leaving the industry. This is an issue for anyone who sells pork.”
London street food business Yum Bun is known for its belly pork sandwiches. Owner Lisa Meyer said she was unaware that pork prices will rise, but admits that a significant increase would affect her production. Tony Goodger, trade marketing manager for the British Pig Association, said this is not a shortterm issue. “Prices will come down again, but it will be two to three years before they start coming back down to current levels,” he said. Alastair Butler, owner of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, said he is losing £18 per pig. Pork Prices p.10
Supermarket return for the Chapati Man LUCY MAIR GREEDY BASSETS
Festival caterer Chapati Man is preparing to launch a new line of Indian-style sandwiches and snacks in supermarkets. The range is inspired by the trader’s curry wraps sold at events across the UK. Founder Chris Rai has spent the past 18 months developing the ready-to-eat range, which will be produced by The Sandwich Factory. The manufacturer is part of Cranswick, which also makes retail products for Levi Roots and Jamie Oliver. Rai said: “Finding the right manufacturer was very important to us and we met with a number of companies before settling on The Sandwich Factory. “There has been a lot of interest from retailers. The buyers respect that we made our name at festivals,” said Rai. Retail p.20-21
Unwelcome: Popular trader has been harrassed by shopkeepers
Vendor gets hostile reaction POLLY BRYAN
A Yorkshire street food vendor is facing hostility from traditional seaside traders and local councillors. Dave Rawson, who runs the Greedy Bassets Kitchen in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, is experiencing problems with rumours and objections to his business from other food traders in the area. “I just get the feeling they don’t want us to be here,” said Rawson. “There is a lot of local development going on and other food outlets don’t want more
competition. But if they are not meeting standards that’s their problem.” Rawson said his business is going well and proving popular with customers. But he also had licensing difficulties at a council hearing last week. The licence was approved, although one councillor was not in favour. Rawson said: “We just showed them all the positives about our business, but one councillor was against us and raised objections.”
Sampling strategy has trial in Scotland
Role reversal: Customers will cook
Traders at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market will swap places with customers for one day. Visitors will learn how to make a variety of dishes as part of a range of activities to promote the market’s first year of trading in September. Permission to start the
market in Jubilee Gardens came after two years of discussions with City of Edinburgh Council. It now features more than 40 stalls two days a week. “The only other market in the city is the farmers’ market. We aim to achieve an international vibe,” said organiser Beth Berry. Sampling p.14
IN BRIEF Festival fights for council funding NewcastleGateshead Initiative will decide whether to fund the next EAT! Festival at a meeting next month. Festival organiser Simon Preston said: “Initiative is supported by the council, so we aren’t guaranteed finance.” The event relies on government and commercial funding.
Ice cream show changes season Ice Cream Expo is changing its event so traders can fill order books for the summer season. The exhibition and awards ceremony is now taking place in February, rather than November, at the Yorkshire Event Centre. It will be held over two days from 19 February 2013.
Deli’s dummy run of children’s meals Baby Deli, an organic baby food company, is expanding into the world of street markets. The pilot pitch is at Trafford Food and Drink festival in September. Owner Louise Duerr set up the stall after struggling to find healthy food for her children on the street.
Second pitch for healthy business The Wild Game Co. will open a second pitch at London’s Whitecross Street. Owner Andy Waugh is reinvesting profits to expand into serving more unusual meats such as pigeon, wild boar and pheasant on a new stall. Marketing p.19
Salted sausage on sale to trade Henson’s Foodservice has launched a salt beef sausage. It aims to give traders the chance to sell something unique.
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IN BRIEF Gourmet burger van finds home The Meat Shack has agreed a permanent residency outside a pub after months of battling with Birmingham City Council. Founder Paul Collis said: “The pub didn’t do food and we needed a pitch. Birmingham council didn’t help us and there weren’t any other pitches available to us.”
NCASS online tests LOUISE RICHARDSON & SEETA BHARDWA
NCASS is launching two online training courses aimed at street food traders this autumn. The company will offer its first online risk assessment system, alongside a business development training scheme, that targets issues in mobile catering. NCASS will allow its members to complete the test
online in one day as an alternative to the face-to-face process. Managing director at NCASS Bob Fox said: “Risk assessment certificates are required by law, so it’s crucial that caterers get this qualification as easily as possible.” The site is open to any catering professional who is an NCASS member. Fox commented: “Getting this certification can be difficult.
NCASS: Courses for traders
Communication tool for traders
A new online platform will give vendors easier access to sustainable food. Entrepreneur Alex Potter is creating the service to provide links to ethical suppliers in London. It is being launched following increased interest in ethical and organic produce.
Mark Laurie: Helping street food profits grow
Food scene to be revamped Funding to by Hackney volunteers grow Devon businesses POLLY BRYAN
Website links to ethical suppliers
A market organiser has set up an online forum for traders to share advice, ideas and feedback. Thurstan Davies, who launched a night market in Kingston, thinks there should be more support for new businesses from other vendors. Visit baykaevents. com/traders for details.
Sushi stall given its own position Dorset Sushi is returning to Salisbury Food and Drink Festival after a mix up last year saw it registered as an incorrect name. This year it has its own gazebo in the town centre at the event on 16 September.
Trader supplies Fortnum & Mason Pistachio Rose Baking Boutique will launch its Indian-inspired desserts into famous department store Fortnum & Mason’s food hall this October.
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About 75 per cent of our members at NCASS are street food vendors, so we’re creating this as a completely online training experience to make it simpler and quicker for vendors of mobile catering.” The business development training scheme will give start-up companies the tools to increase their profits by teaching marketing and accounting skills. Mark Laurie, director of NCASS, said: “We have developed this course to help new street food vendors maximise their business. It is important that traders are aware of the business side of the industry as well as the food.” Launch dates for the courses have not yet been confirmed. NCASS has many courses available for food preparation, health and hygiene.
Chatsworth Road Market: Planning extensions in the pipeline COREY KITCHENER
A committee of volunteers is bidding to take control of a London street food market. The Chatsworth Road Traders and Residents Association wants to relieve the council of its responsibility for the market that runs on the same street every Sunday. If the bid is successful it hopes to fulfil the promises that haven’t been met in the original market proposal in 2010. Marketing executive and volunteer Diane Cunningham
said: “We’d like to put in the traditional market stalls people wanted to see when the idea of launching the market was proposed.” She added: “We can ensure the best stalls get a pitch if we have more direct control of the market. Street food is a big part of our plans as adding extra food stalls would create more of a social, community spirit.” The committee plans to extend the stalls further down the high street.
A project to help young entrepreneurs set up or develop their business is being organised. The project will provide funding in the form of a non-repayable grant of between £2,000 and £10,000. Successful applicants will also receive mentoring, financial advice and help to develop their business strategy. “We are flexible in what we can offer,” said programme manager Anne Sherman. “It would suit people who are passionate about street food but may not know much about business.” The project is aimed at those living in south Devon and Dartmoor but could be expanded across the South West. Competition is expected to be fierce but support is given during the process.
More venues for Real Food
Graveyard IN BRIEF turned to Free From stands market needed at show
Real Food Market: Organisers looking to expand nationwide
He said: “We haven’t decided where just yet, as it is a long process in picking the perfect location for a new market.” He plans to decide by next spring. All traders applying for a place are submitted to a taste test to ensure their food meets Lowery’s standards. The market prides itself on providing high-quality and locally-sourced foods. The Southbank Real Food Market took Lowery around two years to establish using his own PR teams and social media to alert people of its presence.
The Real Food Market is scouting for new locations, said organiser Philip Lowery. He would like to reproduce the successful street food market in another London location and a site in the north. The Real Food Market started as the annual Real Food Festival. It proved popular so Lowery extended it to a weekly food market in Southbank. Now that he has established this one, he would like to expand further by pitching in other places.
Cemetery: Unusual spot to dine
Meatball man reveals recipes in cookbook
Felwick: Man of many talents
Jez Felwick, otherwise known as The Bowler, will publish his first cookbook in February 2013. Felwick, who has been serving his signature meatballs for nine months, has been writing the book since January. It will reflect his business and feature meat, fish and veggie-ball recipes.
“It’s been a sideline project,” said Felwick. “It has certainly made the journey all the more worthwhile. The book will be a glossy hardback and I’m hoping it will be widely sold. It will bring me a lot of publicity and I’m really excited about it.” The book will be titled The Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook.
Street Feast shelters in disused car park LUCY MAIR
An east London market aims to overcome bad weather by moving to an indoor venue during the winter. Street Feast will hold a market with 10 to 15 of its regular traders, a licensed bar and dining room at a covered car park on Brick Lane from late autumn onwards. “Street food is great when the weather’s good but nobody wants to eat outside in the cold and rain, so it’s bad for the traders’
business,” said Street Feast founder and organiser Dominic Cools-Lartigue. He spent several weeks searching for a building that imitates the feeling of being outside. “The Brick Lane venue has high ceilings and lets in lots of natural light. I want to recreate the same atmosphere indoors as outdoors,” said Cools-Lartigue. Street Feast’s market has been popular since its launch at a Dalston open-air car park in May.
The Allergy and Free From show wants to attract traders to its annual festival in Liverpool. Event director Tom Treverton said: “As demand for street food grows we’d love to get traders who specialise in allergy-sensitive food.” The festival will be held from 27 to 28 October at the BT Convention Centre.
A Bristol cemetery and a street food collective are keen to team up together again for another street food market. Juliette Randall, chief executive of Arnos Vale cemetery said: “We will definitely hold another market and maybe even make it a regular event. This is a great way to promote the space we have here.” StrEAT held the night market on the 1 September, to promote the space in Arnos Vale and also to raise awareness of street food. The founder of StrEAT Navina Bartlett, said: “The aim of setting up a street food collective was to support local suppliers around Bristol.” Locations p. 23
NCASS creates online pitch map
ARNOS VALE CEMETERY
Regular traders include The Ribman, Mama’s Jerk Station Homeslice, Yum Bun and Big Apple Hot Dogs but CoolsLartigue is keen to add new vendors who bring different food to the market. He believes Street Feast’s success is down to the seating and dining area and he plans to expand its capacity at Brick Lane. “People can enjoy food from different traders and have a few drinks tp attract customers,” he said.
NCASS members have the chance to instantly find all nearby markets using a new online map. Bob Fox, managing director at NCASS, said: “Traders can click on an area anywhere in the country and find nearby places to trade.
Using Ikea to design stalls A crêpe stall built from Ikea furniture has opened in Netil Market. Gaël Horsfall customised flat-pack furniture to create a Breton look for Crêpes Laviec. “This was an easy way of creating the image I want,” said Horsfall.
School of Wok to offer classes Quick fire street food lessons will be offered by London’s Oriental and Asian Cookery School of Wok. The open-air event will take place in Covent Garden on 7 November and costs £45.
Councils to join hygiene scheme Traders in Hertsmere, Warrington and parts of London will be inspected under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. It has replaced similar systems to inspect and rate food businesses.
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We’re paying too much for our pitches at UK festivals Joe Botham of Levanter Fine Foods in Lancashire, comments on the threat that increasingly high pitch fees pose to a new trader
Welcome to Street Food Business. The only national magazine, website and mobile app for street food traders, suppliers and organisers. Street food is taking off across the country and leading the UK out of recession, with Birmingham and Cardiff getting ready to welcome their first markets this autumn. Traders and organisers are bringing business back to our high streets with their passion and creativity. They are revitalising rundown areas and supporting British farmers. The economic and cultural potential of the industry is so great that even established restaurateurs are jumping on the bandwagon. Street Food Business delivers the latest news affecting our growing industry and will help you expand your business with advice and opportunities. We aim to alert banks, big business, councils and catering associations to street food’s potential and encourage them to invest more resources in the industry to help it grow. Whether you’re running a regular pitch, hopping from festival fields to pop-ups or just starting out, this magazine will give you a voice. In this issue we look at the importance of location and planning, with examples of street food bringing life back to some areas, but failing in others due to poor publicity and pitches. We also investigate how you can improve your business with a strong online presence. Visit streetfoodbusiness. co.uk, download the app and enjoy our first issue. Lucy Mair
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“I didn’t take into account just how expensive pitch fees would be when I started my paella and chorizo stall. I thought selling food without the overheads of a restaurant would reduce spending, but I’ve found that 60 per cent of my start up costs have been spent on grabbing as good a pitch as possible. I’ve spent around £8,000 on my pitches, which is a huge proportion of my budget when you consider I only spent £150 buying a gazebo on eBay. I trade at large catering shows and festivals quite often but there is no guarantee I’ll make a profit. It’s harder when you’re one of the smaller traders who isn’t a recognised name. The outlay you have to risk isn’t always worth the stress of not knowing whether you’ll have a
INTERVIEW: Corey Kitchener
Joe Botham: Surprised at the outlay required in securing a pitch
successful day or not. I protect my business by having a deli on my stall as a safety net. People may buy the ingredients I use in my dishes and I doubt I could continue trading without this deli and the money it provides.
You get into a business like this because you love it and you want to offer something different. But it is a business and you want to make money, although big profits will be hard to find if pitch prices remain as high as they are.”
Generating start-up funds Greedy Goat ice cream vendor Simon Moore talks about how to go about getting initial capital. He also discusses ways to reduce spending and costs when launching an outdoor food business INTERVIEW: Matilde Casaglia
“Finding funds is probably the biggest challenge for street traders starting from scratch, as it takes time to build a customer base and presence at a market. We were self-funded to start with, but kept a tight control of costs. When we approached banks for loans they were receptive to a point, but they invariably required large security or proof of sales – which as a small or new business you do not yet have. Frankly, the economic environment at the moment is in such a state that any business plan you have is a little bit precarious. A lot of small businesses fail because they load themselves with high costs and then get caught out with lack of cash flow. Income is unpredictable, especially with poor weather.
I think what a lot of small businesses forget is that sales are likely to build, but slowly, whilst the loan payment will probably be fixed each month. Negotiating short leases can help minimise capital outlay. It is also important that small businesses are conscious of what their break-even point is in terms of sales: prepare additional funds to support the growth of the business.” Assume it will take six months to become established and make sure that you have the funds in place to get through this initial phase. You may ask to borrow funds from friends and family, or ask someone to invest in the business for a percentage of the equity. Try to negotiate introductory credit terms with your suppliers where possible and
Simon Moore: Funding tips
lease equipment to begin with until the business settles. Despite funding problems, markets are a great environment to test a product. Rents are lower than in retail spaces and a stall allows you to run an effective trial of your product. Our model allows us to get direct feedback from customers with every scoop we sell.”
Trading in twilight hours The dawn of the night market is rising. A way of shaking off the shackles of weekday opening hours, Louise Richardson looks at this trend in the UK
‘The hot food we sell lends itself to an evening meal, with starter, main and dessert stalls’
Apart from traditional Christmas festivals, most UK night markets run through the light summer and early autumn nights. Some organisers ditch the idea when winter arrives because of the weather. Navina Bartlett runs the StrEAT night markets in Bristol and Bath. “I’ll certainly keep the markets going in autumn, but probably take a break after that. I think the events are popular at the moment because of the climate.” A dining experience, as opposed to a quick lunch, seems to be encouraged at night markets. Bartlett has a strict rota for the food on offer. She said: “The hot food we sell lends
Kingston: Hot dogs to order at the night market
StrEAT Market: Evening markets are proving popular during light summer nights
itself to an evening meal. I purposely choose traders that complement each other’s dishes. One stall is the starter, another the main course and the last is the dessert.” Organisers also stress the importance of putting on entertainment for visitors to ensure their attendance. Sheffield Night Market featured a pole dancing class for children, which although controversial, shows the effort put into making night markets stand out. Peterson said: “We have to attract and keep people there. Month by month we see numbers of visitors increasing.” Night markets can struggle to offer enough to justify people making a late-night visit. Thurstan Davies, who organised a night market event in London’s Kingston, said: “We had to think of new ways to attract visitors, so we recently made a forum on our website where traders can pitch ideas.” Traders should keep abreast of global markets for ideas and new developments. San Francisco is famous for its food markets. The city held its first night market on 17 August, which displayed street food stalls as well as entertainment. A $25 entry fee was charged for the event, which some UK organisers have conflicting views about. Sheila McDaid, markets and city centre organiser for Gloucester, arranged the city’s first night market in July. She said: “It should be a free event to attract the broadest demographic possible. Gloucester night market was about using local businesses to drive up the economy.” Bartlett said: “I think they have to do this, as San Francisco events are so popular. I know that they had to close streets to hold the market, which may have had something to do with the fee.”
Some markets abroad operate until 5am. Davies relishes the idea of late night crowds. He said: “I think it’s possible this could happen in the UK. There are always people awake in city centres and I don’t think this necessarily poses a security risk.” Night markets appear to be growing fast, but they’ve had to work at it. Unlike their global equivalents, they sometimes have to contend with grim weather. Stall vendors shouldn’t be restricted by market closing times and night markets alleviate the pressure of having to sell as much as possible by 5pm. It’s another route to generate growth and help out recessionbeaten small businesses. n
t’s easy to think of a night market as an extension of the day version, but this is far from true. As the popularity of night markets increases, organisers are striving to make these events stand out from their day-time counterparts. Night markets are perfectly timed to catch weekday workers before they leave for home. Sheffield Night Market organiser, James Peterson, said: “Many people come to our day markets during their lunch breaks and then come back for the night-time market when they’ve clocked off.” Night markets may be a new idea in the UK but they’re part of the culture in Asian, South American and African countries. Personal chef Maunika Gowardhan, originally from India, is organising Newcastle’s first night market at the end of September. She said: “Night markets in India are bustling at 2am. We’d often go at this time and get a feast from street markets with family or friends.”
Bartlett: Preparing for the night-time crowd Street Food Business | 9
Why buying British will help keep the pork industry alive
BLYTHBURGH FREE RANGE PORK
There is much speculation about the rising price of one of the UK’s best-selling meats. Polly Bryan investigates the effect this will have on street food traders’ profits
Blythburgh Free Range Pork: Promoting support for British pig farmers
ork can be pulled, smoked, roasted, barbequed or put in a pie. However you choose to prepare it, pork is a classic ingredient that is always popular with customers looking for something hot, filling and flavoursome. But the British pork industry is in danger. Drought in the US and flooding in the UK have resulted in considerably decreased yields of wheat and soya, which make up the majority of a pig’s diet. Pig feed forms 60 per cent of the cost of pork production and with increasing global demand for meat, as consumption grows in Asia, it seems that problems will occur.
‘The price increase will be less volatile if a good relationship with the farmer is established’ The UK is just 40 per cent self-sufficient in pork and numbers of pig farmers are falling. For Alastair Butler, owner of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, the situation is worrying. “Pig farmers are vulnerable because the growing cycle for pigs is longer than for poultry. There is no doubt that the industry will shrink by five per cent at least.” The message from the National Pig Association (NPA) and British Pig Association (BPA) confirms this concern. They expect an even greater loss of pig producers, and a subsequent rise in pork prices. But will this really influence street food traders? The answer is yes. BPA trade marketing manager Tony Goodger thinks this is not just because feed shortages are causing price Street Food Business | 10
rises in the UK. The EU rule changes on keeping pregnant sows in stalls will affect traders who source their meat from outside the UK. “In early 2013 the EU pig herd will decrease by 10 to 15 per cent and the price of pork will rise by about 15 to 20 per cent,” Goodger said. “Other EU countries have higher pork consumption, meaning they will keep more of the pork they produce rather than export it to us.” Co-owner of Pitt Cue Co, Tom Adams, is aware that changes will have to be made. “Prices are definitely going to rise and when they do everyone will be affected,” he said. In comparing UK pork to that which has been imported, it often comes down to quality versus price. A meat supplier who trades at London’s Smithfield Market admitted that his imported meat is entirely price driven and that farmers are under pressure to compete with lower costs available on the continent. But those prices are also rising. Other Smithfield traders said they are not concerned and that no difference will be made to their prices. But Hugh Norris, owner of Plantation Pigs, said: “This is food inflation and everyone knows there is a problem. Production costs are going up and have got to be met across the industry, not just by farmers.” It is important for street food traders to do their bit towards keeping the UK pig industry alive if costs are rising across Europe. By supporting farmers, you know where your meat is coming from and the price increase will be less volatile if a good relationship with the farmer is established.
“If street food traders want a secure source of pork they are going to have to pay for it,” said Norris. “But cheap, good pork won’t be available soon. People can see where their pork is coming from if it comes from a farm. We can then give them information about it that they can pass on to their customers.” Adams is keen to maintain the quality of Pitt Cue Co’s pulled pork. “Meat should be a luxury and we pay as much as we can,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen. It depends which end of the business has to take the hit: prices or profit.” Paying more and raising prices is not the only option, though suppliers’ prices are rising. Goodger advises street food businesses not to spend more money but to subtly adjust the quantity of meat in their dishes. “With Mexican burritos you could increase the amount of rice or beans and have slightly less meat, but keep your price the same,” he said. He also pointed out that with street food growing in popularity, people now purposely go to markets to eat. In many cases traders already have the customers and can afford some flexibility in price or ingredients. “Vendors should look at their portion sizes,” said Goodger. “They should also consider whether there are alternative, cheaper cuts of meat they can use.” Ultimately the advice for street food traders is to work closely with UK pig producers to get the most competitive prices. The price of pork will rise and despite market suppliers arguing that meat can be bought cheaper from the continent, with new laws being enforced on 1 January, the lower cost will not be enough to justify what is often lower quality. n
Pork changes in practice £1.70 – production cost per kilo of pork £1.50 – market sale price per kilo of pork £18 – average amount lost on each pig Alastair Butler sells 800 – number of pigs Alastair Butler sells per week 300,000 – number of pork chops that could be lost per week if prices rise
PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
Wrapping it up: A Cafe Môr chef doing his bit in one of few chances to pitch up in Pembrokeshire, Wales
Welsh chefs fight to change councils’ traditional views Deri Reed hopes Cardiff ’s first market can kick-start the trend across Wales. Ben Carey-Evans explores what the future holds for its pioneering traders
treet food in Wales is growing. It remains a long way behind London and many other cities in the UK, but successful chefs are starting to raise its profile. Deri Reed, also known as the Ethical Chef, is widely regarded as Wales’ first street food entrepreneur. Another Welsh trader is Jonathan Williams, who won the Best of the Best Street Food Award with his Cafe Môr brand last September. Reed, who specialises in providing healthy and ethically sourced food, is in the process of setting up Wales’ first street food market in Cardiff. He has set 17 November as its opening date. He hopes to provide a street food platform for the rest of south Wales using his expertise, contacts and fame.
would certainly be different to the regular markets. It is all street food alongside more traditional vendors such as butchers, grocers and craft stalls at the moment.” Tudor, writer of CardiffBites, said she has noticed an increase in the quantity and quality of street food in Cardiff over the last couple of years. “With so much quality produce on offer, people aren’t impressed by a corned beef pasty or a panini anymore.” Reed’s long-term vision is his Green Kitchen initiative. He is in the process of setting up his own street food chef training centre. The plan is to take chefs away from what he described as “bad situations for chefs in kitchens”.
Wales. It has given some promotional support to Reed, and street food in general, but no money is currently available. Lowry Edward, food coordinator for Ffres, said: “Deri Reed is a member of our local business initiative. Our PR company published an article on our website, which should have promoted him.” She went on to say that public-funded organisations in Wales are not in the position to help these initiatives financially. Meanwhile, Williams has been busy after his success at last year’s British Street Food Awards and has spent the summer working at several Olympic venues. He highlighted how local authorities in Wales have slowed the growth of street ‘Being a street food chef is food, but believes that it is now changing. 100 times better than being a “Until last year there was a blanket ban on selling hot food on the street within 500 restaurant chef’ metres of a shop in Pembrokeshire.” He He is also concerned about the stability added: “There is an award-winning farmers’ of jobs for chefs in Wales. He believes that market there that is still banned from selling working independently can be a better hot food.” career option. Reed said: “Being a street Pembrokeshire County Council’s food food chef is 100 times better than being a and development manager Katie Morgan restaurant chef. When you work in a said it was the landowners who had restaurant you have no identity and no job prohibited the sale, but it was In action: Deri Reed increasing awareness security. Restaurants in Wales are closing understandable. “They have two cafès The market will include a wide range of down all the time and chefs are struggling.” selling hot breakfasts on the site, so they ethnic food, as he wants to move away from As part of the initiative he will provide don’t want people outside doing the same the traditional farmers’ market model. He equipment, exposure and advice for ten thing,” she explained. said: “I am looking to do something different, chosen chefs. By doing so he believes he can Williams said the authorities are now as they are a bit boring.” help struggling chefs and the street food improving, and that it only takes one A spokesman for the Riverside Commu- industry. He said: “We will provide them supportive person in the council to make a nity Market, which has three weekly markets with the platform they need to excel.” change. The ban in Pembrokeshire was in Cardiff serving hot food, said: “We don’t However, he will not receive help from lifted and Williams emphasised how he feel at all threatened by what he is doing. He is local authorities to start his project. Reed thought the market was starting to grow raising the profile of fresh ingredients and hopes to get some financial support once throughout Wales. creating stronger links between community these are established but it is hard to see Morgan said: “It’s all about quality. Street and the market.” where the money will come from. food used to be in lay-bys. But the council Award winning food blogger Nicki Tudor Ffres, which means fresh in English, is a made getting licences easier when the said she is excited about the opening: “This public-funded tourism initiative in south quality improved.” n Street Food Business | 11
Paving the way for a street
Traders will tell you they are the answer to the UK’s struggling urban areas by breathing life into c enough to recognise this opportunity. Tom Newcombe discovers how markets are impact
increase the use of the town square. A regular street food market will now appear in the town on the first Saturday of the month. The action group’s partnerships officer Imran Khan said: “People are drawn to these street food markets. We strongly believe that this is one initiative which could really help get this town moving again.” These are just a handful of examples, but they have created recognisable improvements to local areas. However, this doesn’t mean that everything in the street food market is rosy. Very few councils are aware of the street food phenomenon and some seem to be resisting growth. They either see street food as bogstandard burger vans or think street food markets will kill off high street catering outlets. Owner of Gingers Ice-Cream Emporium Claire Kelsey said: “Most councils still have an old-fashioned view of street food. They see us as clutter not as a way to bring in business to their area.” Street food markets need local councils to help them find sites and pitches but the amount of bureaucracy is putting off many of the city’s traders.
‘We strongly believe this is one initiative could really help get this town moving again’
The Manchester Picnic: The city’s first street food festival ru
Owner of The Hungry Gecko Jackie Kearney said: “I apply for a licence and it often takes so long that the opportunity to trade goes and I have to start again finding a new site. It’s a constant battle and cause for a lot of frustration.”
HUNGRY TRAVEL STYLE
he recession has decimated many UK high streets. A lot of city centres are deserted, unemployment rates are high and shops boarded-up. Governments, heads of industry and even retail guru Mary Portas have all come up with solutions but are struggling to find cost-effective and long-term strategies Step forward a movement which is turning heads, getting people back to work and making customers happy: the street food revolution. In May 2011 Liverpool City Council announced it would regenerate the Stanley Street area of the city centre. After the project was completed it added a street food market once a month, which has proved a real success. Paul Amann, chair of Stanley Street Quarter Steering Group said: “The area has been thriving since the regeneration project and the addition of the market has really given the area that extra push it needs and has also helped local food producers.” Even local restaurateurs who might be worried about the competition welcomed the street food market. Bala Croman, owner of Stanley Street restaurant Chocolate Cellar, only sees the positives. “When the market is here you really notice the difference. It’s helped us get that extra bit of revenue we were desperately in need of. The Stanley Street market is helping save failing businesses.” Last year many national newspapers labelled the town of Altrincham as Britain’s bleakest. With 30 per cent of its shops empty and boarded-up an action group was formed in July 2012. The main aim of Altrincham Forward was to
Stanley Street: A pizza stall at Liverpool’s new street food market is helping failing business Street Food Business | 12
Another option is to approach private landowners for sites but this also has problems. Kearney said: “Getting a site from a private owner is impossible on your own. They have to assess environmental issues, parking access, effect on local residents. If they do finally agree most of them want a minimum 40 per cent cut of all profits.” The view among traders is that councils are failing to keep up with the street food revolution and do not fully realise the potential of these markets. A solution could be to give more power to traders or different organisations. Not-for-profit organisation CityCo recently ran the Manchester Picnic food festival, which traders deemed a massive success. CityCo had complete control over everything on the site. Partnership director Alex King said: “The best thing the council did to help the event was to let us control it all. We got to choose the traders, set the pitch costs, decide on how many pitches we had and organise all the health and safety. I don’t see any reason why in the future councils couldn’t run
food regeneration strategy KAREN WRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
communities forgotten about in the current economic climate. But some councils are not doing ting on the country’s future by looking at what’s happening in key cities
KAREN WRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
Asian Kitchen: It will pitch up in Altrincham
to change. Steven Howell, Localis senior communications officer, said: “It’s not something we’ve conducted any research into. It hasn’t come up on our radar and is not a policy area we’ve got any plans for but it’s something we will definitely consider.” Street food is growing and the benefits it can bring to an area are proven. Yet if the attitudes of local councils, boroughs and private owners fail to change there is a risk this opportunity could be lost. Kelsey said: “Street food traders are in an excellent position to bring something different and change many areas of the country, but please give us a little help.” ■
un by CityCo, a not-for-profit organisation, was a massive success
street food festivals exactly like this.” Traders echoed this view. Kelsey said: “The council listened to them because they’re a large group and so we had none of the usual bureaucratic problems that come with approaching the council. CityCo turned up and transformed the centre of Manchester with relative ease.” Councils can’t take all the blame, they just lack the resources to recognise this movement is more than a passing trend. At the Manchester Picnic they supported CityCo and without them it wouldn’t have been a success. The council helped by providing funding for security and advertising. But this was a one-off festival and there doesn’t seem to be the money to support new traders wanting to help their local areas. King said: “I don’t want to talk down about Manchester City Council because it was a massive help in providing the site for the event. I think it would like to help if it could but as usual this government will probably look to the private sector.” The fear among traders is that as the industry grows over the next couple of
years people will inevitably try to cash in. If government doesn’t help, the door will be wide open for private companies to come in and make large profits and steal the success traders have built up.
‘Certain organisers have seen how big this phenomenon is getting and are exploiting us’ Kearney is one of the traders worrying about the future success of the industry. She said: “Certain organisers have seen how big this phenomenon is getting and are exploiting us. This is a massive worry. It’s one thing that could really slow down growth of the industry.” Street Food Business will continue to engage local government and councils in debate on this subject. Localis is a think-tank dedicated to dealing with local issues and provides a forum for the development of new ideas for local government. It’s currently unaware of the impact street food markets are having around the country but claimed it is open
The organisation helping drive street food forward CityCo is a management company for Manchester city centre. It is a not-forprofit organisation of private and public sector businesses that create projects to improve the city. This summer it held the city’s first ever food festival. The Manchester Picnic was a three-day food festival that attracted 15,000 people and sold a range of food from different traders. Locals helped put street food on the map in the northwest. There were also children’s activities, live music and exhibitions from some of Manchester’s art galleries. A festival organised by CityCo celebrating 200 years of the Rochdale canal took place last September. A floating cinema surrounded by a street food market was the main attraction in August.
Street Food Business | 13
Tickling the tastebuds to get customers to open wallets Matilde Casaglia finds out how traders are experimenting with sampling options to firm up sales, generate more profits and minimise food waste
“It’s something you can’t describe in words, but once they try they can’t resist. It’s a good way to make people come and chat, which is a fundamental part of our business as face-to-face sellers.” Sampling is a slow strategy, it doesn’t pay back straight away. It can take months for people to come back, but if they remember something special they might return to your stall. And when they come back they buy, according to traders. “The best sample strategy pays you back, but not necessarily the same day,” said Jing Weng, co-director of Chilli Daddy in Bristol.
Chilli Daddy: Investing in returning customers
EDINBURGH STOCKBRIDGE MARKET
tasting is the cost. “Offering free tasting is a substantial investment,” Arkin said. “It can lose you a lot of money whatever the size of your company. But it is our way of advertising, and for the street food industry it works much better than any other form.
Beth Berry: Trying a different strategy to make people taste what it’s like to be a trader
customers for one day as part of an interesting sampling strategy to celebrate the market’s first year of trading. It’s designed to increase people’s awareness of street food and to stimulate their curiosity. Organiser of Stockbridge Market Beth Berry said: “Sampling is what makes us different from a supermarket. At a street food market you will never buy something you haven’t tasted. At Stockbridge Market even the stalls selling raw meat will cook a few sausages to get customers interested. “We believe that food tasting is a fundamental part of our business strategy. Now we are trying to be even more radical by making people taste what it is like to be a street food trader,” Berry said. For Carol Hartnell, managing director of Box Choc selling handmade chocolates in Wales, the key to a successful strategy is bringing something special that people cannot find elsewhere. Hartnell said: “Making them try works for me, because my chocolate is different from anything they’ve tried before.” Street Food Business | 14
“We had a client that came to our stall in March and wanted to thank us for the free sample we had given him at the Christmas market. It is a way of making people link your face with your food. This is how you guarantee clients returning to your stall.”
‘When attending festivals we sample just the first day, then people will spread the word’ It seems to work even better if you offer people something they were not aware of before. “Everyone knows how a burger tastes — you don’t need a sample in that case,” said David Arkin, manager of Arancini Brothers, whose stall selling Italian fried rice balls is based at the Real Food Market in London. “But most of our customers are not aware of what arancini taste like.” But it’s not all good news when it comes to sampling strategies. The dark side of
‘It’s something you can’t describe in words, once they try they can’t resist to buy’ “We try to minimise sampling as much as we can. For example, when we attend festivals for two or three days we offer samples on the first day only. After that people will spread the word, so we don’t need to give samples any more,” said Arkin. Berry pointed out that sampling is not all about spending: it can be a way of saving, too. “Sampling is also a great way of minimising waste,” she said. “One of our traders makes handmade pies for the Sunday market, and if she doesn’t sell all of them she will freeze them and make samples for the next week. She will not sell frozen pies, but they are great material for tasty samples,” Berry added. ■
he risk with sampling has always been the same — naughty customers enjoying free and tasty tit-bits from every market stall, filling their tummies without spending any money. At the same time tasting can be crucial in making customers approach a van or stall to get them to buy. For street food traders sampling can boost sales, but getting it right comes from experience gained after many years in the business. One market is trying an unusual tack. Traders at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market will put their feet up and take the money. They will swap places with
Box Choc: Bringing something special
WHAT THE DICKENS
What the Dickens: Rose, Quinn and Bernstein are expanding from their Chatsworth Road market stall this September
Trying chef’s whites for size
t’s all about making your business visible,” said Michael Quinn of What the Dickens food stall, which will be catering indoors via a pop-up at the end of the summer. “I don’t think we’ll find a better way of getting publicity and getting people to notice us.” Quinn, Dominic Rose and Adam Bernstein have run their traditional English catering stall, which sells quintessentially British dishes such as kedgeree and devilled kidneys. The boys met at school and have made the stall their livelihood. They’ve been working at markets in London throughout the week for two years. But will expand the business from September by launching a pop-up café. They plan to serve breakfast every Saturday morning at The Reliance pub in Hoxton.
‘ We had never thought of doing a pop-up but it seemed a good way for people to notice us’ The idea came to them at a party. “We got chatting with the new landlord of The Reliance who was thinking about ways of bringing more attention to the pub,” said Quinn. “We jokingly suggested that he let us take over his kitchen sometime. I’d forgotten all about it then he rang me and asked when we’d be cooking for him. We’d never thought of doing a pop-up but it seemed like a good way of getting people to notice our stall.” The Reliance is currently being renovated ahead of its reopening on 29 September, but just before it closed What the Dickens trialled the menu. “It was an audition so we could show the landlord what we could do. But it also gave us the
opportunity to see what preparation and techniques we needed.” The trial gave the team the chance to see what problems they’d face once they popped-up every week. “The biggest challenge is cooking to order. On a stall you make a batch of something and hopefully people will come and buy it. You can’t do that in a pub and it was a struggle holding back to make individual meals for all of the customers.” Learning to use kitchen practices as opposed to those on the stall was another challenge: “On the stall we all just muck in and do a bit of everything, but we’ve found in a kitchen environment that isn’t an option,” said Quinn. “You have to have a role and stick to it.” Quinn doubts the pop-up will be a huge source of income but believes there are other benefits. “A pop-up does give you a lot of attention, and we’ve had customers who’ve enjoyed our food at The Reliance come to our stall. The pop-up has made us more visible and worked as a great marketing tool. It’s good because we will make some money at the same time as advertising, which doesn’t usually happen.” Part of What the Dickens’ marketing strategy is to give the stall and the pub a vintage look. They lay out damask napkins, play musical halls songs and dress in Victorian costume. The most interesting thing about the
WHAT THE DICKENS
A pop-up can create publicity for your street food stall and add to your income too. But are they the perfect blend of money and marketing? Corey Kitchener talks to a trader about his café and how he hopes it can improve his business
Excited: The first step towards a bigger business
pop-up is the traditional restaurant experience it can offer. Quinn said that trialling the pop-up has provided the team with good ideas to use at markets. “We now offer to cook bacon or kidneys to suit each customer’s taste and this has proved really popular.” The stallholders cure their own bacon by wrapping meat in a curing solution using saltpetre and leaving it to flavour for a few weeks. “I hope that as more people can now enjoy our bacon, we can begin to market ourselves as suppliers and sell it wholesale to businesses as an ingredient,” said Quinn. “We’re hoping it will become popular in the area and hopefully other pubs and cafés may try to source it.” The most interesting thing about the pop-up is the taste of the traditional restaurant experience it can offer. Quinn said: “It isn’t safe to open a restaurant in the current climate. This gives us the chance to test our food out on the public so we’re ready to expand the business when we have the funds to do so.” ■
What the Dickens’ top tips for popping–up: •• A simple banner is an easy way of letting people know what you’re doing •• Invite friends and family to your first few attempts to appear busy •• Take it in turns trying out the different roles in the kitchen •• Approach business owners with your ideas. The worst they can do is say no
Street Food Business | 15
Hand held internet: mobile pay Social media has been very effective at providing cheap marketing, but the rise of the smartphone has opened up possibilities in the market. Tom Dines investigates traders’ views on social media and the usefulness of mobile apps
ABIYE COLE BIG APPLE HOT DOGS
witter has been a great tool for street food traders. Instant free mobile communication with potentially millions of people is a crucial part of the industry, with some traders relying on it for all their marketing. Now, harnessing the smart phone market that helped Twitter become so popular, some traders are turning to mobile apps to improve their businesses. They could completely change the way street food take payment. New developments in the industry mean it is now possible to swipe debit or credit cards on phones using an attachment called Square. Street food traders in the US are already using the device. Visa is planning to release its own version called ‘In2Pay’ as a competitor. And Swedish company iZettle recently called for UK beta-testers to try a card reader attachment, feeding speculation that it will expand into the UK. Owner of Big Apple Hot Dogs Abiye
Hands on: Abiye Cole is trying to boost his business by developing a cash-free payment system
Cole said: “My app uses Paypal and as long as you have a signal it’s great. I’m going to start offering a cash back service and charge £1 for withdrawals. That way I’m making money but I’m still cheaper than the closest ATMs.”
The app has become a central part of Cole’s business plan. He hopes to use its ordering function to start a delivery service aimed at inner-city office workers. This will allow him to avoid the ban on street trading in central London. Cole’s
... and remember your website For a modern business to thrive it needs to have an effective online presence. Matt Rumble
ompanies, large and small, use the web to interact with most of their customers. But the importance of how you use your website and getting the best return on your time and financial investment is something many businesses often overlook. Galeta, whose baked products are sold at markets and stores across London, is launching a more complex website in September. Ben Stone, co-founder, said it will be a virtual store to create an online presence for the business. “The website will act as our front door for anyone wanting to buy from us, so if it’s not professional it’s bad for business,” he said. “There are a lot of websites that aren’t done professionally. We have had a holding page since we started but hopefully our new site will bring a new dimension to enhance our business.” Chris Jenkinson, owner of marketing firm Jenkinson and Associates, believes that having a website is a must. “If you want to be found it’s absolutely vital,” he said. The problems come when business owners don’t use the web effectively. “Some small-business owners think Street Food Business | 16
they can do nothing with a website and it will magically work by itself,” he said. “But the fact is, to get the most of it you have to spend a bit of time and money investing in making it as effective as possible. That’s when you start to see financial results.”
‘We don’t want a website noone would want to put their credit card details in to’ Looking professional online is key. But another important and misunderstood aspect of online marketing is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). As with all web jargon, the name SEO often confuses people. “It is so important. You can have the prettiest site in the world but if no-one can find you, it’s pointless,” said Stone. It’s not quite as difficult as it sounds. The name of your website or pages within it should relate to relevant keywords. If you are selling ostrich burgers, put that it in the domain name. If the picture is of your latest curry, make sure you use image tags to tell search engines. Use description boxes to write a few sentences about a page
so it has more chance of appearing in a search. But fear not. There are companies who can help you do this. “Making the most of it is crucial,” said Jenkinson. “A lot of companies claim they’re experts but you have to do your due diligence. If you find a good one, your website could soon appear on the first page of internet searches.” Some street food businesses still don’t have a website. Alex Hoffler, co-founder of The Meringue Girls, said that a website is not yet financially viable for her company. “Launching a website can cost £1,000. So we’re waiting until we’ve raised enough capital to do it properly,” she said. Despite her fears, you can use providers online who make creating a website easy and free. Wordpress is used by a number of professional news organisations. Tumblr is also free and not too complicated. Both are ideal platforms to showcase your business quickly and effectively. Stone said that despite its complex nature Galeta’s new website has been relatively trouble-free. “The main delays were after we asked our designers to add new elements, such as a pre-pay ordering
app is currently in beta-testing and is the first project of Chylled Catering Apps, a development company aimed specifically at restaurants and food traders. It launches later this month and will offer a range of features such as news updates, wireless payment, loyalty cards and in-app purchasing. Traders choose the features they need before the app is built and then have the option of adding updates whenever they want. They can manage the app themselves or pay Chylled to do it for them.
‘I’m not using social media but its importance has become obvious to almost everyone’ Chylled owner Andy Evans said: “My aim for the business is to be as flexible as possible. Apps are only worth it if they make people’s lives easier. I’m currently working with Pubs of Distinction, and it wants an app which is just purely marketing, no other features at all.” Evans will also provide a website with links to suppliers and equipment manufacturers, but said
that he plans to focus his business on traders and consumers. Many street traders are excited by the idea of personalised apps and the market for developers is wide open. A spokeswoman from coffee seller Bean & Gone said: “I’m completely tech-phobic. I’m not using social media but its importance has become obvious to almost everyone. I like the idea of a map showing where I am. The London Coffee Map is already very good for that.” Bean and Gone plans to start using loyalty cards for business, but says it will most likely stick to paper. You Doughnut co-owner Betsy Buckner said she will consider a mobile app when her business is more established. She said: “We’d really like to see a feature where people can suggest doughnut flavours and vote for their favourites. A private booking system would be great too as we’d like to do more events.” The view among traders seems to be that they will inevitably need apps of their own in the future. The only question now is when it will happen. While mobile apps are growing in popularity, the market is open for new
is still important
finds out how you can stand out from the rest
CHYLLED CATERING APPS
ment to replace cash...
Menu: Customers order as they go
companies to develop applications that could change the industry. Supplier-facing apps have yet to be properly integrated with consumer-facing apps like those that Chylled is working on. There is potential for an app to unite the two spheres, which will likely lead to a more streamlined, flexible business. ■ system. It’s been fairly expensive but doing it properly is important,” he said. “We don’t want a website no-one would want to put their credit card details in to.” Manuel Andrades founder of Mother Flipper, which sells quality home-made burgers, believes websites are great for informing customers. He is planning to launch one in September. “They help people see where we are. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, which some people don’t like using, everyone uses websites,” he said. “For me it goes hand in hand with word of mouth. People talking or hearing about you in any form is great,” he said. Cristiano Meneghin, founder of Tongue ‘n Cheek, which sells food made from underused meat cuts, agreed that websites are simple to use for great rewards. “The website has a lot of benefits. It was really easy to set up and not expensive at all,” he said. Getting people talking about your business and having a great reputation is crucial. Not having a presence online cancels out all your hard work. It’s worth running a site properly and it doesn’t take as long as you may fear. Once you have created the base, updating a website is a lot easier than launching one. Go for it. Maybe one day it will become another revenue stream for you too. ■
Galeta: The look of your website is as important as your stall and staff
Street Food Business | 17
Urban Feasts: Provided the food for the Industri[us] project in Canning Town
The prize-winning market that mislaid its customers Regenerators hoped Urban Feasts’ food market and Industri[us]’ recycling pop-ups would pack a derelict Canning Town site with Olympic visitors. When they didn’t come, planners couldn’t attract local interest either, discovers Matthew Wright
t all looked so good on paper. When social enterprise Industri[us] won part of the Meanwhile competition to regenerate a derelict industrial site opposite Canning Town station, it seemed to be a ground-breaking combination. Street food provided by Urban Feasts would attract people to take part in an irresistible mix of handcrafts workshops, live music and local culture, including a cockney museum of pearly kings and queens, to bring employment and activity to the derelict site. When it finally opened, a week late, it lasted all of ten days, before closing with heavy losses, denied emergency funding by Newham Council. Its opening was more ghost town than buzzing urban festival. A live music night on 3 August attracted 600 people, but otherwise visitor numbers were not enough to sustain the project.
banned them from advertising to avoid overcrowding travel routes. Crona Connolly, project manager at Industri[us], said: “Even on quiet Olympic days, we weren’t allowed to advertise properly. We were a sponge site, designed to deal with the overflow visitors. But unfortunately, there weren’t any.” For the stallholders, though, it was obvious that the site was simply not visible to Olympic visitors passing through Canning Town. Azi Duxbury-Campbell, a Malaysian satay stallholder at Urban Feasts, said: “We expected lots of Olympic people, but they couldn’t find us from the tube station.”
Davina Fell, director of Urban Feasts, was understandably disappointed. Her response to the losses and early closure was painfully instructive. “We had to do a lot to the site to prepare it,” Fell explained. “We had to provide power, parking, storage, security, and pay rent. It’s a lot more expensive than a street market.” There are lessons to be learnt about operating street food outlets alongside large scale events. Both Urban Feasts and Industri[us] complained that Transport for London and Olympic organisers had Street Food Business | 18
‘Is street food a Dalston fad or is it something sustainable in the long term?’
‘We were a sponge site designed to deal with overflow visitors ... there weren’t any’
street food, it turns out. Fell said: “Although our food was good value for its quality, our local customers were comparing us with discount retailers selling eight burgers for a pound.” Fell used to run Whitecross Market in the Barbican, London, and has seen how street markets have developed from bargain-basement general suppliers to more specialised, higher-quality outlets. It will be a challenge to show the public that what markets do best has changed.
Regeneration: Footfall comes first
Red Market on Old Street, set in a disused car park, has attempted a regeneration of sorts too, but only after ensuring the customers were there to begin with. Director Liam O’Hare said: “Footfall is always the first thing we look for.” Without the passing trade it needed, Urban Feasts became dependent on the local population for business. Canning Town customers did not want gourmet
She said: “Canning Town residents have a romantic idea of what markets used to be. They are possessive of the idea of selling really cheap underwear and food, even though they go to Primark and Iceland for that nowadays.” Fell was despondent about the prospect of changing attitudes to street eating. “Street food needs to change the way people eat,” she said. “At the moment it’s thriving in Hackney but we have a lot to do to change attitudes further. Is street food a Dalston fad or is it something sustainable in the long term?” Her comments posed a challenge to this fledgling industry. Street food has established itself as a popular dining option for a mostly young, culturally adventurous and reasonably affluent group. The question now is whether it can break out from a small number of hipster havens to become a mainstream dining option that takes the country by storm. n
Moving a brand forward
As the industry grows, more traders are facing difficult decisions on how to further develop their business identities. Polly Bryan explores the options and issues involved in diversification and protecting a company’s profits while trying to expand
Hocking’s: Long-term success without the need to diversify its product
here is more to a successful street food business than people choosing to buy your product. The key is to offer something so unique and special that not only will they come back for more, they will also recommend you to others. This ability to take a core food ingredient and transform it into a profitable, sexy brand is fundamental in a street food business. But this in itself creates a dilemma. Should you stick with what works? Or would you generate even more business by diversifying? “The great thing about street food is its flexibility. If something isn’t working you might as well change it,” said NCASS director Mark Laurie. That is what Lucky Chip has done. The signature chips that Ben Denner started his street food business with have been overtaken by gourmet burgers. Denner felt he needed to branch out to attract the young, trendy customers who come to street food markets.
‘Those who succeed play by their own rules and don’t try to please everyone at once’ The Wild Game Co is another firm that has changed its business strategy by expanding its range of game. Owner Andy Waugh said: “We want to be more varied and are introducing options like wild boar and pheasant to our menu with fancier, more intricate dishes such as pigeon salad. I am not a one-trick pony who simply serves venison.” Denner and Waugh maintain they have stayed true to their street food roots,
despite changes and expansion. Lucky Chip has kept within the boundaries of the American diner-style and the Wild Game Co still sells the game that originally formed its reputation. Ice cream trader Geoff Hocking is strongly against expanding his menu. His Devon company, Hocking’s, which has been trading since 1936, has made a name for itself despite selling only one flavour of ice cream. “We sell top-quality vanilla, made with butter and clotted cream and it is hugely popular. We don’t try to be all things to all people,” he said. The business has never struggled despite having only one option. In fact it can only just keep up with demand. Hocking thinks the company is a success because it has built itself a unique brand. In his opinion, selling just one specific thing has many advantages. “Flavours would slow us down enormously. One product means faster service so by selling less we actually sell more,” Hocking said. It also lets the family concentrate on maintaining the quality product they are known for. Mark Gevaux, owner of The Rib Man, also attributes his success to the fact that he only sells pork ribs. It has given him an identity within the street food industry and he wants to keep it this way. “People have a choice and you can’t try to feed everyone,” he said. “If people want the best ribs they know to come to me. Doing several foods can look like you don’t have confidence in what you do.” Laurie thinks it is this type of attitude that leads to success in the industry. “Whatever your niche is, you should stick to it,” he said. “Those who succeed are those who play by their own rules and don’t try to please everyone. Traders shouldn’t
over-extend their menu; three dishes are more than enough.” While many traders do not apply this rule of three, the important factor to most seems to be genre. Kimchi Cult has branched into various Korean dishes and introduced some Mexican influences. But owner Daniel O’Sullivan has been sure to keep it revolving around kimchi, the core food he has concentrated on from the start. “Experimenting and doing different things has been good for profit,” O’Sullivan said. “But I have never moved away from kimchi; it’s what gives me my identity.” It is possible for traders to use the flexible nature of street food while maintaining individuality.
Andy Waugh: Introducing wilder options
The key is to stay aware of your genre and expand within your boundaries. Jez Felwick, who runs The Bowler, is well known for his signature meatballs. He started with just one recipe and has branched out into various types of meatballs as well as fishballs and veggieballs but he has stayed true to his original idea. “You have got to brand yourself,” Felwick said. “Then you can work within that. I’m not a chef, but I have worked hard to perfect my meatballs. I have created a ball genre for myself, and people know me because of it.” Narrowing your options can seem risky, but in this evolving industry where individuality and identity are everything, it seems that less can be more. “People latch on to that one thing you can offer,” said Felwick.“That’s the street food way.” n Street Food Business | 19
Selling to supermarkets: th Supplying retailers is a growing trend among vendors who want to take their products from issues do you need to consider before preparing a pitch? Lucy Mair investigates how some
Galeta: The baker makes more money at market stalls than from wholesale, including supplying Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Harvey Nichols
ake-maker Kaelie Akaraskul is worn out. Not from the hundreds of cupcakes she has hand-baked and iced today, but from researching packaging and design companies. Akaraskul has no problem in locating a firm that will give her brand, Sweet Tooth Factory, a supermarket-style makeover. What is more difficult is finding one that she can afford. Akaraskul began selling her cakes from a market stall on London’s Brick Lane in 2009, inspired by her love of baking. She expanded into catering for events and supplying independent coffee shops in East London as popularity grew. In May 2012, she won a retail contract with Whole Foods Market to produce cheesecakes for its five London supermarkets. Now the retailer wants her to re-package her products so they stand out and sell more. “It was never my goal to be stocked in a supermarket – I just fell into wholesale. Street Food Business | 20
Initially I was uncertain about doing it,” said Akaraskul. Supplying retailers has advantages. Market trade can be unpredictable, but wholesale contracts guarantee a stable income. “With wholesale, I know exactly how many cakes I need to make and it’s easier to project how much money will be coming in at the end of the month,” said Akaraskul. That’s why Galeta co-founder Ben Stone began pitching his pastries and desserts to retailers as soon as his business started trading.
‘Retailers can hammer you. We make less than 30 per cent profit from wholesale’ “We knew markets wouldn’t provide an income that we could build a business on,” said Stone, who supplies Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Harvey Nichols, as
well as holding stalls at 16 markets across the capital. But a regular income is not necessarily a good one. Stone said: “Retailers can hammer you. If something costs us 70p to produce, the most they’ll pay for it is £1. So we make less than 30 per cent profit from wholesale.” But he’s confident that there’s potential in supplying shops. “If you stick at it and build up your client base you can negotiate better margins,” he said. Sticking at it often means small suppliers have to adapt to meet the demands of larger retailers, as Sweet Tooth Factory has discovered. Chris Rai, founder of festival caterer Chapati Man, signed a deal to supply Morrisons with his Indianstyle wraps in 2009, so understands the challenges street food traders face when moving into wholesale. “We spent six months working with Morrisons to develop the range and there was some to-and-froing between us, the
e whole story of wholesale partnership with Morrisons ended in 2011 when the supermarket chain changed its food-to-go strategy by swapping branded items for cheaper, own-label products. “The problem is that you can’t trademark street food,” said NCASS director Mark Laurie. “There’s nothing to stop a supermarket from simply replicating your idea at a lower cost,” he added. For this reason Galeta only works with specialist retailers that want to stock exclusive brands. Winning a supply contract may also mean street food traders have to meet stricter food safety requirements. “There’s likely to be a need to reassess food safety procedures or apply additional measures to maintain food hygiene,” said Food Standards Agency communications manager Nadia Mahmud. To move into wholesale, most suppliers have to be officially inspected and approved by their local authority, rather than just registered to trade.
‘There’s nothing to stop a supermarket from replicating your idea at a lower cost’
When Sweet Tooth Factory won its contract to supply Whole Foods Market, Akaraskul was sharing a kitchen and did not have enough fridge space to store all the cheesecakes she needed to make. Mahmud said: “It’s reasonable to expect buyers and manufacturers,” he admitted. that the food is prepared on larger Changing a popular product for the premises to prevent contamination and sake of a national retail deal is something keep it stored safely.” Fortunately for Mark Gevaux, who owns The Rib Man and Akaraskul, she was able to move into a new bottles and sells his sauces on his website, unit but was set back by higher rent and the is not willing to consider. “My rib sauces cost of new equipment. are made with love and care and it would One way to overcome these problems kill me to see a supermarket is to outsource production so the change the name and premises, equipment and staffing ingredients, then sell are taken care of by a profesthem for £1,” he said. sional manufacturer. This “My customers are works for Chapati Man, which what drive me, not uses Cranswick, the producer of money. If I sold my retail ranges for Levi Roots and sauces to a retailer I’d Jamie Oliver. Galeta also lose the personal decided that outsourcing would interaction I have with be best for his business. “The them,” he added. costs are much lower than if you As well as getting a try to take on a unit and employ fair price for their staff yourself, but it means that we product, street food have less control over production,” traders should be wary of said Stone. giving retailers their Having a finger in both pies is Street food: On the shelves ideas. Chapati Man’s the best option for many growing
PHOTO: CHAPATI MAN
a small stall to the nation’s shopping trolleys. But is it a good business move, and what traders have made the transition with varying levels of success
Festivals: Chapati Man enjoys the atmosphere
street food traders, despite the challenges of wholesale. “Festivals are still our bread and butter,” said Rai, who has spent the past 18 months developing a retail line to launch this autumn. And Galeta continues to trade at street food markets because it keeps the business afloat. “We have to sell five tarts to a retailer for every one we sell at our market stall in order to make the same profit,” said Stone. But The Rib Man and Sweet Tooth Factory see more opportunities to expand their businesses by supplying small shops. “I can be perfectly successful without a supermarket behind me,” said Gevaux, who is considering selling through specialist chilli retailers as well as on his own website. Akaraskul wants to focus on selling to independent cafes. She said: “It’s more profitable than supplying a supermarket and it means the people I partner with are small business owners like me, so we understand each other better.” ■
Is wholesale right for you? •• Space: Is your current workspace big enough for preparing and storing more food? Can you invest in larger premises? •• Equipment: Do you need to upgrade to have bigger ovens, refrigerators, grills etc? •• Distribution: How will the product get from your kitchen to the shelves? •• Branding: What will make your product stand out? •• Accreditation: Do you need it? Contact your local council to check
Street Food Business | 21
Restaurants go mobile
Wahaca: Pop-up van at Southbank complements the existing restaurant chain
he trend so far has been for street food vendors to move into the restaurant business. But with 684 restaurants closures last year, according to accountants Wilkins Kennedy, some big names and plenty of smaller ones are moving the other way. The streets are where it’s at, and incidentally, where it’s more fun. Malaysian-restaurant owner Azi Duxbury-Campbell identified the trend. “In Malaysia street food is very common, but in the UK it’s still growing. I want to be at the centre of it,” she said. She expanded her Islington-based restaurant, Puji Puji, to Urban Feasts market and Shoreditch Market this year. She said: “I think street food is more fun. The other traders are your friends and family.” Oli Ingham, marketing manager at Wahaca, the Mexican chain started by former MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers, agreed. “We’re taking our food back to the streets where it first started,” he said. The group bases its ethos and menu on Mexico’s street food culture. Five weeks ago its van popped-up at Southbank, next to its newly-opened restaurant. Along the river Pitt Cue Co manager Jamie Berger started with a wagon under Hungerford Bridge. But when the possibility of opening a restaurant came up, Berger was keen to move his business forward. Although the restaurant is up and running, he still thinks it’s important to show his face at Southbank. “It’s where we started,” he said. The less romantic view is that street food sells better. Restaurants are tapping Street Food Business | 22
into the street food sector as another source of revenue. “We chose Southbank for its amazing riverside location and incredible footfall,” said Ingham. The wealth of cultural events in the area draws crowds, which means money. Lebanese chain Yalla Yalla also parked its wheels for the summer. The bright yellow van was set up for the Diamond Jubilee and has since benefitted from tourism and the Olympics. The van will stay until September when it will find a new location.
‘People don’t have time to sit in a restaurant. You have to be quick, quick, quick in the market’ While big names in the industry have the luxury to pop-up seasonally, smaller restaurants don’t. Street food is their way of staying in the food industry. Owner Gabriele Palumbo has been running his Old Street Italian restaurant, Ravello, for 42 years. But when business dropped six years ago, he set up a stall at Whitecross Street market. “People don’t have the time to sit in a restaurant. You have to be quick, quick, quick in the market. It’s hard work,” said Palumbo. He chose Whitecross Street because it was close to the restaurant. Even Ingham agreed that most customers go to Southbank for Wahaca’s restaurant, but trade is passed along to the van when the restaurant’s full. Both support each other in the end, but the restaurant is a less risky business. It has more scope, such as the iconic design, the tequila bar, outdoor decking and extensive
menu, said Ingham. Other mobile vendors see street food as the way in to the restaurant industry. It’s the cheaper alternative. Actor and manager of Little Mixing Factory Richard Shanks was drawn in because of lower overheads and greater flexibility. Shanks owns a meat truck and frozen yogurt van and opens for business from April to October. “With the van I don’t make any losses in the winter. There are too many frozen yogurt shops now,” he said. But Shanks’s long-term goal is to expand his meat truck, Engine, into a restaurant. He plans to bring the same elements of his street food business in the venture. “I’m not going to have a snooty restaurant. The kitchen won’t be hidden away. I’ll still see and talk to my customers,” he said.
Street food is the next go-to for restaurateurs. Established businesses in the food industry have started popping up on wheels. But why are streets becoming the hot hospitality seats? Ainhoa Barcelona reports
Engine: Customers make use of speedy service
Food busker John Quilter doesn’t think he’ll lose the buzz either. He owned Brasserie Marmalade in Manchester, but came up with the concept of food busking where customers pay what they think the food is worth. “I’m trying to do everything,” he said, explaining his move into street food. But Quilter craves a more permanent home in the restaurant industry too. He plans to open one in London soon, and emphasises he won’t lose touch with his customers. Restaurants are more exclusive, he stated. People can feel intimidated by the setting or all of the fancy language on the menu. “I’m all about making people feel more included,” he said. Busking is “a more down-to-earth and intimate experience,” giving Quilter the chance to interact and have fun with his customers while he cooks food for them. “Street food gives social barriers, the finger,” he said. n
Why traders can profit from pitching at peculiar venues Organisers are getting creative with their market locations. Seeta Bhardwa explores the benefits and problems of setting up in more unconventional places
treet food markets are becoming more frequent and are beginning to happen in unexpected places. There are very few good locations still available for traders to pitch in, so organisers are having to think outside the box. StrEAT, a global street food collective from Bristol, held a weekly street food market in a converted train station in Bath. Green Park Station hosted the event during the summer, as a way to promote the space. Peter Cottrell, spokesman for Green Park Station, said: “Not many people came because, despite being in central Bath, we are hidden behind a supermarket. Hosting StrEAT on a regular basis has definitely brought us more attention. It would be great if we could make it a regular feature.”
‘We wanted to draw lots more people in and food is always a good crowd-puller’
Long Table night market: Bringing street food to a disused London car park
The concept of unusual locations was taken one step further when strEAT held a night market in the Arnos Vale cemetery at the beginning of September. Crazy as it sounds, it’s not a bad idea. Only a small area of the 45-acre location is dedicated to funerals and burials, so the space is used for community events. Navina Bartlett, organiser of StrEAT, approached the cemetery to discuss holding the market
there to promote street food. Juliette Randall, chief executive of Arnos Vale Cemetery, said: “It’s a great way to make the cemetery more family-friendly. We wanted to draw people in and food is always a good crowd-puller. If this one is successful then we would definitely be interested in staging another event.” Running a street food market in a cemetery did not come without its problems. One of the traders, VeeDoubleMoo, a VW ice cream van, had issues with electricity. Bartlett said: “Ice cream machines are very ‘peaky’ with electricity. The van often lost power, but we solved this by bringing in a generator.”
ARNOS VALE CEMETERY
‘Location isn’t really a key aspect that I look for when I am choosing a food market’
Arnos Vale: Location of StrEAT’s latest venture
Bridget Pilkington, owner of VeeDoubleMoo, did not think that location was an issue when choosing which market she would trade at. She said: “I am sure that trading in unusual locations is good for publicity but it has to be backed up with the usual PR and accessibility.” Another location that had difficulties with electricity was the Long Table night market held in Dalston, London, last
year. It used a temporary circuit to solve the problem. There were also issues with loading. The organiser invited each trader to view the car park before the event, so there would be no issues with loading the vans. Zachary Butcher, head of operations at the Bootstrap Company, organised the market. He said: “We chose a car park because applying to trade on a road is difficult as you are forced to redirect traffic. It is unlikely you will actually get the licence you want.” He added: “Traders want to know that they are guaranteed business so they don’t want to pitch in places that are too unusual to operate in.” The location of the Dalston market worked well for street food businesses as it attracted up to 3,000 people a night. Lisa Meyer, owner of Yum Bun which traded at Long Table, agrees with Pilkington. She said: “Location isn’t really a key aspect that I look for in a food market. The food quality and management team behind the market is my main concern.” Street food traders are more concerned about the popularity and accessibility of the location than the place itself. It is the street food market organisers and the owners of the unusual spaces that can benefit most from hosting a street food market. So be careful when planning where you will pitch up. ■ Street Food Business | 23
Thinking about the future: a formula for more success In an industry that’s always evolving, we ask various people at the heart of the trade: what is the future of street food? Lisa Meyer Owner: Yum Bun
Mark Laurie Director: NCASS
“I think more people will become traders. Food festivals will grow and become more popular. There will be more all-year-round events, as at the moment they only seem to happen in summer. I don’t think it will be as much of a cultural thing as it is in other places like Asia. Street food will become less of a social thing and a proper industry.”
“Hopefully we can get more places in the UK to start trading mainstream as street food is quite centred on London at the moment. It’s mostly on private land and that is something that will hopefully change. As for food trends most people look to the US to see what will be big here, and at the moment there is a big trend for Korean and Italian food.”
Robin Dunlop Owner: Mussel Men “It’s a trendy thing but the influx of people getting on the bandwagon is saturating the market, meaning we’ll have to shine even more. The industry is constantly growing, but I do think festivals are going to die very soon. The big ones will survive but when there are thousands every summer, massive prices for pitches will not be OK in the long run. Street food traders just can’t afford that.”
Paul Babra Owner: The Canterbury Curry Club and Wajwa “In the future we’ll see more specialised dishes. There will be a wider range of dishes instead of everyone getting a tikka masala. There are many simpler and tastier options. There’s a huge market that still needs to be tapped. I think franchising will become a lot more common. Local councils will have to learn to be supportive of the small businesses. in their region.”
Andrew Critchett Co-founder: Northern StrEats “People are beginning to see the benefit of street food in town centres. Markets bring vibrancy and exciting, alternative foods for people to try. Street food has the potential to pop-up in all cities in the north.” Street Food Business | 24
Jackie Kearney Owner: The Hungry Gecko “As the success of street food grows people may try to exploit it to make a quick bit of money, which is completely against our ethics and why we really do this. The attitude of consumers also needs to change. They have to realise that a £7 burger is an excellent price for the quality of produce that’s in it.”
Richard Shanks Owner: Engine and Little Mixing Factory “London has embraced street food and I think it will go on for at least another year or two, hopefully longer. I’ve noticed an influx of hot food stalls in markets. But I don’t know if it’s peaking. People think it’s an easy thing to do, but a lot of traders have sold off because it didn’t work out. Street food will stay popular, but at the cost of other people’s livelihoods.”
Jennifer Clayton Blogger: Jen Eats the Streets “It excites me that I don’t know what street food will be like this time next year. Quality street food is blooming and not in a faddy way. It is here to stay and will become a familiar, but still very innovative part of a city’s food lifestyle and culture.”
EVENTS September Lunch! The contemporary food show to go 20-21 September Business Design Centre N1 0QH www.lunchshow.co.uk October Foodservice Marketing Seminar 17 October Madejski Stadium, Reading NG23 5JR www.bfff.co.uk Improving Efficiency in Food Manufacturing 18 October Campden BRI, Chipping Campden GL55 6LD www.campden.co.uk November The Business Startup Show 22-23 November Olympia, London W14 8UX www.bstartup.com January 2013 Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring 20-22 January SECC Glasgow FK8 3LF www.scotlandstradefairs.co.uk The Hospitality Show 21-23 January NEC Birmingham B40 1PJ www.hospitalityshow.co.uk February Food and Drink Trade Show 25-26 February Cheltenham Town Hall BS26 2BQ www.thefoodanddrinktradeshow.co.uk March ScotHot: the home of Scottish hospitality 4-6 March SECC Glasgow W1U 3PL www.scothot.co.uk
Published on Aug 23, 2012