Interested in starting an outside catering business or toying with the idea of adding a mobile catering division or even moving away from your static business and going mobile?
With over 2.6bn people consuming street food daily, a 2.3% increase in quick service food stations and food purchases topping consumer spend throughout UK festivals at 35% it’s no shock to see the outside mobile catering industry grow in popularity and consumer demand.
However before you jump the gun and start profiting on this rewarding industry, ask yourself… ‘Where am I going to cater?’
Location, Location, Location
Location catering & event targeting is an important aspect within your planning stages. It’s vital to get your positioning right for viability, visibility, footfall and the right customer. So whether you’re an experienced mobile caterer or not, the key to success is through research and planning.
Put it like this, if you plan to sail to the southern tip of Africa without a map, well good luck getting there!
But with a Trailblazer and mobile catering business that great adventure could just be down the road!
Set some time aside to plan and get an idea of where and what events you are planning on targeting.
- What locations are you going to trade at?
- What type of events you will be targeting.
- The type of customers you will be targeting?
- The type of food to be serving
- Public or private catering?
We suggest taking your mobile catering business ‘on tour’ to try your hand at different catering opportunities and locations. Follow the footfall throughout peak trading periods. This will not only maximise profit opportunities but will also give a real idea for what works best in terms of seasonality, revenue and customer base.
Live the spot!
Spend time and list all the trading opportunities, catering locations and planned events close to your area. Drive around the city and scout different trading locations.
Think of this process being like a field biologist studying the feeding habits and trends of humans.
Sit with a notebook and live the spot, watching for: –
- Footfall densities
- What side of the street do people walk on / does the sun shine.
- Area surroundings (Office buildings, apartments etc.)
- Brick and mortar / food truck competitions.
Formulate your findings into a list and run through each opportunity, listing the type of customer that is likely to attend, any pitch fees, nearby competition, busiest time of day etc.
Having a clear and concise plan will give you a fair idea of what to expect throughout different events and can act as a platform to weigh out the pros and cons of the different opportunities to help ensure you are making a viable choice.
Flexibility with Trailblazer BBQ
There are established and successful Trailblazer BBQ owners whom operate across a wide variation of industries and sectors. Take these sectors into consideration when planning the areas and types of trade you will be targeting!
· Street food markets
· Farmer markets
· Music festivals/concerts
· Private / corporate parties
· Local sporting grounds & Civ
· Beer gardens
· Church gatherings
· Hotel & restaurant grounds
Have a read through some of our customer success stories here
Festival/ Event catering
Last year (2017) an estimated 1,000 large festivals took place throughout the UK. This being six times as many as in 2004 and research shows food and drink as being the biggest outlay.
Insurance company ‘Bobatoo’ found 35% of the overall consumers spend throughout a festival being on food & beverages.
Why not introduce Trailblazer BBQ to a festival or private function and watch it become one of the headline acts!
With so many revellers to feed it makes perfect sense to introduce your mobile catering service throughout local events.
Before putting your money where your mouth is and agreeing to the pitch fees set by an event organiser make sure to gather as much information as you can.
- The number of attendees that are expected?
- How many traders will be at the event and what will they be offering?
- The amount of people are likely to spend money on food?
- Where is your pitch located?
If you are in the wrong location you could spend your night watching people walk past your pitch already with food in their hand.
Ask to see a site map outlining the pitch you are being offered. Make sure to highlight that you don’t require a large pitch due to Trailblazer being compact and ultimately you can access areas where larger units wouldn’t be able to.
And last but not least, always ensure to get a written contract to ensure the organiser stays true to their word.
Private events & weddings
Advertise your services and appeal to the wedding sector, private events and corporate parties.
One of the great advantages of private bookings is the ability to pre plan and set a fixed fee for the event.
This not only lets you forecast how much you will be earning that day however also lets you plan ahead in terms of resources needed, staffing requirements and in turn will help keep wastage to a minimum.
The rise in millennial and modernised weddings brings a decline of the traditional 3-course set menu wedding meals. Couples are now focusing on casual, festival styled dining, food trailers and prosecco vans.
Couples are growing on the idea of presenting platters of delicious foods for the whole table to devoir into and discuss, in turn providing a ‘true’ food experience for their guests. Think sizzling BBQ buffets.
Create excitement amongst guests and demonstrate live cooking over a naked flame to the hungry, wide-eyed party. Let the bride and groom pose for photographs beside the roaring Trailblazer. Cook high quality produce, in a theatrical and healthy manner, anywhere at anytime.
Street food Trading / Location Catering
According to ‘The Food People’ an estimated 2.5bn people worldwide now consume street food, each day!
Grab this trend by the teeth and offer artisan, indulgent dishes through theatrical cooking experiences at an affordable price. Check Trailblazer BBQs 2018 street food trends to get an idea of the street food trends predicted throughout 2018. (link)
You may want to focus selling your produce on street markets, car parks, by the roadside or in an area adjoining to a shop. There are many different opportunities associated to street food trading however before doing so it’s a good idea to do some research concerning legislation. NCASS offer great guidance and support on street food trading legislations.
Secure trading pitches through ‘Street Dots!‘
‘Street Dots’ is a brilliant app that allows traders to secure different trading locations throughout the UK on a daily basis. Consumers can then access the app to find where you will be located that specific day. This is a great way of securing different trading locations at an affordable price.
Remember, as people perceive street food as restaurant quality but less expensive it’s important your offerings ooze with quality. Focus on a limited menu offering with unbeatable quality. Another great idea is to find a niche and stick to it, utilising it as a USP.
Partner with local businesses and build working relations
Building relationships with other local businesses is a great way to trailblaze your way to substantial growth!
Trailblazer’s compact footprint will allow you as a trader to access even the tightest of office courtyards, along with immense output capabilities giving the ability to cater for a large office at any one time. This provides a perfect opportunity to approach local offices and businesses and introduce your offerings.
Deliver menus: Print copies of your menu and deliver them to local offices and businesses. Tempt business employees with lunchtime specialties, meal deals or perhaps offer them free delivery services for bulk purchases.
Offer corporate catering services: Corporate events are a regular occurrence in businesses and more often than not require catering services. Make sure to highlight that with your Trailblazers mobility, cooking diversity and self-sufficiency you can ‘Hook It ‘N’ Cook It’ and cater for large groups, anywhere, anytime!
We hope this article is of value to you as a mobile caterer. Try your hand throughout different industries and sectors until you get a real feel for what works best for your business is terms of working hours, profitability, target customers, seasonality etc.