Things to think about before starting a mobile catering business


A catering business is a lifestyle choice, it offers you a chance to be your own boss and to build a business you are proud of. We are aware that starting out on your own is a big decision and we want you to succeed. In this article we look at what you need to think about before investing in your catering business.

1) What kind of catering business are you interested in?
ie: Pizza, fish and chips, barista bar, gourmet food, burgers

When thinking about what food you want to serve, think about what you are passionate about, but also consider how long it takes to cook (and how much you can store ready to serve). Knowing what you want to do will help you to find out what equipment you need, and from there you can plan the layout of your mobile kitchen.

2) Where will you trade?
ie: festivals, highstreet, weddings etc

If you are thinking about setting up a street food trailer make sure you consider the footfall to the area and look at where people will be coming from. Look at who else is in the area and what they are serving, you don't want to be doing the same.
If you are wanting to go to festivals bare in mind that they need to be booked well in advance so you need to be organised and have the dates noted to get your space booked on time.
If you are planning catering events, think of what you want to be serving and how you are going to promote your business.

3) Depending on where I trade, will I need a trading license?

You will need a licence to sell food and drink. You will need to set up as a food business. Contact your local authority for further information on this.

4) How many people will I need to run the business?

This will depend on what you are making; you might need a one-man band or you might have a team. Considering how you will run your business will help you plan your budgets accordingly.

5) Do all staff need to have a food hygiene certificate?

The short answer is they don't, but you do need to give them adequate training to maintain food safety and it is good practice and reassuring for your customers if they have one.

6) Does your driving licence cover you for towing?

If you're looking at a food trailer check your licence will allow you to tow it. It does seem obvious, but it does catch people out. You might need to get your licence changed. Horseboxes are a popular conversion because they can be towed by most licence holders legally.

7) What insurance will I need?                                                        ie: Trailer/ Vehicle insurance, public liability, etc

Public Liability Insurance is a must as well as making sure your vehicle or trailers is covered should you have an accident.

8) Sourcing food suppliers

Look into where you are going to source your food so you can work out your budgets.

9) Source local gas bottle suppliers

Knowing where to go to get a new gas bottle in the local area is a must so you can get your replacement quickly.

10) Advertise your business through a website and social media

Spend a bit of time setting up your profile so people can get in touch with you.

11) Finding festivals and events and booking in advance

Bare in mind festivals book in advance you will need to be well prepared to get your application in for the deadlines. There will be a lot of competition for big festivals.

12) Work out how much stock to take with you and your nearest supplier if you need to restock

Hopefully, you should have enough stock to take you through the day, but if you run out, make sure you have a plan for stocking up your supplies so you don't lose any profit.

13) Any alterations and modifications needed - book in the quiet seasons

Making a note of what you need and desire and book any work out of season. This means you will get your vehicle or trailer back quicker and it won't affect your business.

14) Make sure Gas and Electric certificates are up to date

Make sure you are gas safe and your electrics are PAT tested. Make a note of when these need renewing to keep your insurance valid and yourself safe.

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