Building a mobile food service is a great opportunity to not only own your business but also build a future for yourself.
Whether you want to set up in a layby or visit local and national festivals and events or you’d simply like to create a delivery service for surrounding businesses and other customers, this is a growing sector with plenty of scope for those who have an entrepreneurial mindset.
One of the key benefits of a mobile catering or food delivery service is that it has a lower initial outlay than something like a restaurant. Maybe you want to get out on the road and sell ice creams or you have a penchant for vegan food and want to create home-cooked food for your customers, all you need is a good plan, a place to sell your goods and the right transportation such as a refrigerated van.
1. Do Your Research and Plan
All great business successes come from a well-thought-out plan. That means putting in the groundwork for your mobile catering service is essential. Look at what other businesses are doing, how they are delivering to customers and what sort of equipment they use.
Try to find a niche that no one has thought of and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. You may, for example, want your primary portal to be a website where you can show off your products.
You can take orders through this and then deliver them to your customers once they make a payment.
If you’re planning to set up at something like a festival, however, you’ll not just need to think about how you keep food chilled but also how you cook it on site.
The other thing to look at is what regulations there are for carrying perishable foodstuffs and what you need to do to stay on the right side of the law and keep your customers safe.
2. Qualifications and Permits
- To handle any kind of food, including running a mobile catering service, you’ll need a minimum of Level 2 Food Safety & Hygiene. You can generally do this online and at a relatively low cost.
- A month before you start trading, you’ll need to register your business and notify your local council. You can do that here.
- You’ll need a documented plan called a HACCP or hazard analysis and critical control point in place – without it, your local council will give you zero-rating.
- You will need an additional risk assessment of your business.
- You’ll also need public liability insurance in place before you start trading.
3. Buying Your Catering Van
If you are cooking on-site (for example, making street food for your local customers), you’ll need a van that not only has refrigeration but cooking facilities onboard. You’ll also need to spend some extra money on branding your van.
For those who are creating food in a kitchen and then delivering it to customers, things are a little simpler. You’ll need a refrigerated van of a suitable size for getting out and about. There are several ways to do this – you can hire a van, contract hire or lease it, or choose to buy a van outright. A lot will depend on the type of products that you are selling and how many customers you have.
4. Marketing Your Business
Whether you’re getting out on the street or selling tasty treats via a website, branding is going to be extremely important if you want to stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself.
Marketing can involve a lot of different facets and getting it right takes a lot of time and effort. Even if you are mobile catering at events where there’s a ready-made audience, you’ll compete with other vendors so creating an attractive, noticeable storefront is going to be important.
Get Your Refrigerated Van from FridgeXpress
There’s never been a better time to set up your own food business and making a great name for yourself. If you are planning creating a mobile food business, investing in the right transport is critical. FridgeXpress is one of the leading refrigerated and freezer van suppliers in the UK. We offer vans for short-term hire, longer-term leasing or contract hire or to purchase outright.
With 20 years’ experience, we can make sure you get the right van for your business model at a price you can afford. Contact our expert team today to find out more.