Have you ever dreamed of starting your own street food business? If you’ve watched the film Chef more than three times then the answer to that question is probably a resounding: “yes”. There’s something about pursuing your passion – whether that’s selling cheese toasties on a houseboat or personally delivering pakoras around town on a tandem bicycle – which seems almost impossibly romantic and appeals to the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed entrepreneur in all of us.
Starting a successful street food business is, nonetheless, anything but easy. It’s actually almost impossibly hard. The competition is fierce, the overheads are poor, and the hours are brutal. But just because something’s hard, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. There’s plenty of hugely successful street food stalls out there that have given their owners a chance to turn their passion into their profession. There’s even a myriad of restaurants that started off as humble street food stalls and are now experiencing commercial and critical success on an impressive and unprecedented scale. Yes, Pizza Pilgrims, I’m looking at you.
To try and help out any of you budding Jon Favreaus out there, I spoke to some of the most successful street food operators in the scene to find out what their top tip for starting a street food business is. Specifically: how you go about turning a stall at a weekend market into a brick and mortar restaurant? We asked that very question to the people who have done just that.
Here are their top tips on starting (and maintaining) a successful street food business and turning it into an actual restaurant.