Tips for Setting up a Mobile Catering Business


Mobile food companies are taking the world by storm. With the rise of street food and new music festivals springing up like mushrooms, it’s an ideal time to live your dream and set up your own food-van business.

Initial Steps

  • Set up as a sole-trader or limited company depending on how you want to go about your finances.
    Sole traders can do all the accounting and paperwork online. As a limited company you may want to employ an accountant.
  • Pick your niche and be unique – OK, this is harder than it sounds – more on this in the next section.
  • Register your company’s web domains on social media before someone else does.

Meeting Regulations – The Practicalities

Obviously as a food business selling to the public you’ll need to meet all the health and safety criteria, including food hygiene. Following Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), getting qualified in essential aspects like gas safety first aid, and getting insured are all part of the setting up process. Invest in reliable power supplies like a generator for all your electrics, and LPG if you’re cooking with gas.

Make it Unique

So, how do you make your mobile catering business unique? Well, that’s really up to you. Doing your research about what’s already out there is the best way to make sure you can offer something no one else does. Want to make burgers? Make yours differently and shout about it; build your brand and get a social following.

Make connections within the locality and get on board with NCASS for support. With so much competition in the market, make your services stand out with original recipes or a never-seen-before combination of offerings. Change coffee and cake to coffee and pie or churros and chocolate to churros and every kind of topping you can get your hands on. Think of it as upgrading the positive Starbucks franchise experience.

Touring Calendar

Get your business off the ground after building up a launch campaign on social media. Festivals, sporting and community events are great places to book pitches and get support. Smaller, local music festivals where the customers are camping are the best places to build a loyal customer following for a weekend and beyond.

Establish yourself as the only caterer that offers a certain product – hot soup, hot drinks, and bottled water are really good money spinners for your target market and will get people returning to you. Don’t hold back with signs showing your offerings. A little bit of seating is really desirable to draw in customers in muddy fields.

Moving forward, you want your food van to be a profitable and successful venture where you will have a real opportunity to work and earn, employ staff and grow your empire. Get all the practicalities sorted first and work on your strategy afterwards.

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