Street food pop-up restaurants are all the rage these days. Some might say that the eating culture in other countries has contributed to their prominence in recent years, while others believe the desire to eat good, authentic and honest food is winning out over corporate and uniform offerings, with some attributing the increase to the movie Chef.
If you have practical cookery experience, or you have always desired to open a restaurant, just without the permanence and general responsibility it comes with, running a street food pop-up restaurant could be your (pun intended) business taste.
If this sounds like you and you’re thinking of setting up your own street food pop-up restaurant, follow these steps to make sure you’ve got the basics right:
Apply for the correct licenses for your street food pop-up restaurant
It’s important to sell food legally. Apply to your local council or authority for information about what licenses you need, and how to apply for them. Your business will likely need inspecting before this happens, so make sure to hone your menu, gain a competent understanding and qualification in food hygiene (you can study and qualify for this online,) and equip your truck or kitchen with all the necessary equipment to cook and clean in a hygienic way.
Being hygienic and selling safe food is even more important than making good food, as usually you cannot do the latter without completing the former. Both yourself, and any staff you intend to employ, should be well-trained in these matters.
Permanence in contact
While your street food venue might only be trading for a limited period, like touring around the country as part of a celebration or event, for example, you never know when you may need to rely on your brand image again. Just because you operate temporarily, don’t forget about the reputation and brand image you’re building over time. If you can, open channels of permanent contact.
This can be hard when temporary or on the move, so be sure to open up social media profiles and digital postal mailbox allowances, as well as a dedicated office manager if you need further administrative help. This could potentially net you future catering deals or partnerships with other businesses who may be looking to have their products featured. While you might only be in it to sell great food, you don’t want excellent opportunities to pass you because they were unable to reach you in the first place.
Cook your heart out
The blessing and the curse of street food venues is that they live and die by the quality of their food alone. While a restaurant might have atmosphere, service, promotions, drinks and a certain reputation working for it, a street food pop-up restaurant is instantly judged by how well the customers around the place receive it. For this reason, your menu should be the bible of your project. If you’re getting into this it’s unlikely you have a middling opinion of the food you made, but even then taking all steps necessary to improve through taste-testing and seeing what hits will always work wonders.
Do you enjoy eating street food? Would you ever open your own street food pop-up restaurant?