Profitable, Portable & Popular, there are many reasons for caterers to love the UK street food scene. An industry that has been continually growing since the mid-2000s.

Rewind back to 08, when the Great Recession saw unemployment rise to its highest level since 1994.

This recession helped spur on the success of street food trends as many highly trained, talented chefs were forced out of traditional restaurant jobs. Leaving them to take their culinary skills on tour in an innovative manner as they hit the roadsides with their food inventions.

street food trends 2021

Fast-forward to 2020 – With Coronavirus forcing the UK into the first recession since 2008, experts predict street food trends & alfresco dining to soar throughout 2021.

After all, it is seen to be the safest way of eating out & socialising during the pandemic.

“We have found that many people believe street food to be the safest way to eat out during the pandemic.” Hugh Campbell, founder of the UK’s largest events planning platform, Feast.

“We are seeing restaurants being encouraged to open outdoors as part of Al Fresco
Britain, with local authorities, expected to enable both mobile and fixed premises
opportunities in this new reality. We expect to see street food trends soar in 2021.” NCASS

In anticipation of this predicted growth, let’s take a look at some of Trailblazers top street food trends for 2021

Trailblazer BBQs  Top 5 Predicted Street Food Trends 2021


Being out in the fresh has a whole new level of relevance appeal. Either imposed by local restrictions or by choice, people are opting to dine outdoors.

Big Hospitality found that 79% of UK diners would increase their dwell time in a restaurant if they could dine outdoors.

alfresco dining street food trend 2021 with a Trailblazer BBQ

Is it time for the UK to follow other countries’ culture such as Norway or Poland who gear up to sit outside all months of the year?

In fact, in Norway, they have a saying…
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

2020 taught us that it’s safer to be outdoors, forcing many restaurants to change their business model. Therefore we’re expecting to see a growth in demand for streataries, pop up terraces & curbside dining options throughout 2021.

Some things to consider when opting to offer alfresco dining:- 

• Make sure you have the space for it
• Increase revenue by offering take away too
• Do you need additional cooking equipment?
• Focus on a USP that creates excitement & draws consumers to you
• Offer an Alfresco menu to promote a social style of dining

(Don’t worry, we run through 10 things to consider when starting an outdoor catering business further down this post so keep reading.)


As year-round alfresco dining grows in popularity, it’s no shock that chefs are getting more creative in the outdoor cooking sphere!

Adding a Trailblazer Commercial BBQ is much more affordable in comparison to building a commercial kitchen. Not to mention taking up far less space!

Get geared up for the overgrowing street food trends with a Trailblazer for as little as £995 +vat

live fire cooking street food trend on Trailblazer grill

The grill continues to global with its technique with influence from Japan, Mexican & Middle East.

Going far beyond main dishes, all-day fire cooking is becoming the norm along with layering fire flavours over each other. Think charred steak with blistered tomatoes & smoked hollandaise.


Street food has been at the forefront of culinary innovation for the past number of years however has somewhat lacked in technological support.
Covid has left consumers hyper-aware of safety, sanitation and now have greater resistance to hang about waiting in queues or deal with cash.
Technology has become the ultimate aid, enabling interactions that would otherwise be impossible.

• Contactless ordering
• Payments and pickup
• Queue pagers/buzzers
• QR code scanning

You can no longer afford not to invest in technology & processes

2021 is likely to see a growth in apps focusing on food sustainability.

Copia has a mission to ‘waste less, feed more.’ Copia’s technology allows businesses to safely donate their access food, access enhanced tax deductions, and receive powerful data to inform future food purchasing decisions.

Could we see apps like this make more of an appearance throughout 2021 & help tackle the ever-growing concern on sustainability?


Although 73% of the UK’s population are meat eaters, veganism is not a fad. It’s a street food trend that’s here to stay and caterers that ignore plant-based risk being left behind!

  • 2021 sees Veganuary hit a record of 500,000 sign-ups since it began in 2014.
  • Deliveroo reports a 163% increase in orders of vegan dishes.
  • 153% increase in Vegan searches on Google throughout the first week in January 2021.

Incorporating well-planned vegan dishes in your menu can not only be nutritious, healthy & extremely delicious however is also a great way of accessing a wider and often higher spending consumer base.

A large percentage of vegans are of a millennial demographic, including Gen Z who want to go out more often & are willing to spend more.

vegan burger dressed street food trend 2021

Why not give it a go and introduce ‘Meatless Mondays’ as a feature in your street food business.

Some Trailblazer BBQ traders are finding great success in offering meatless BBQ dishes such as grilled vegetable kebabs, Greek halloumi wraps or chickpea & coriander burgers.


The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the surge in ghost kitchens and collection or delivery only models as many restaurants were forced to adapt if they had any hope of survival.

Consumers are embracing online ordering, curbside pickup and now expect the option to get anything and everything delivered directly, and fast!

  • UK ‘Food to Go Market’ is set to grow by 2.7% throughout 2021.
  • Deliveroo target 100 new locations in 2021
  • Just Eat Takeaway surged by almost 400% in the fourth quarter of 2020%

Some of our Trailblazer customers are tasting great success with delivery options…

Due to Covid we are operating delivery only.  we are cooking on the Trailblazer at home for two nights and go to a village one night a week. We have no pitch fee to pay, only spending about £20 on delivery fuel over the three days, not sitting for hours in traffic and we have a steady flow of orders. Last night alone we sold 85 meals!” Appy Days Catering

street food delivery set up

If you aren’t already offering a delivery service, now might be the time to register with a food delivery platform & extend your reach!

If last year impacts the street food industry anything like back in 2008 then many traders will be presented with great opportunity to innovate and stand out.

Maybe you are a chef, caterer, or restaurant owner wanting to drive the business forward. A food enthusiast that has just been made redundant, looking to start something for yourself. Either way, providing a street food offering throughout 2021 could be your opportunity to do so!

10 key points when starting an outdoor catering company


outsider catering set up with a Trailblazer BBQ - Starting a street food business 2021


Have the right kit – It needs to be easily moved, compact, easy to operate & capable of coping with volume sales!


Bring personality, fun & theatre to the environment. Sell the sizzle, not the steak!


Partner with other businesses that can mutually benefit from your outside catering facility. This may be corporate businesses, local bars, sporting grounds, etc.

outdoor commercial bbq starting a street food business - street food trend 2021


Show consumers that you care for their safety by being a hygiene ambassador. Be assertive & provide hand sanitation and if possible, have handwashing facilities at the point of sale and encourage customers to make use of the facility prior to them eating.

NCASS offers a Covid-19 Certification Scheme allowing you to show consumers you have taken the right steps to keep your customers and business Covid safe.

Trailblazer Hygiene also offers a full range of innovative, multifunctional hand sanitation stations and fully autonomous mobile hand wash systems.


Keep it simple. We have been deprived of the old faithful’s so you don’t need to overcomplicate things. People still like to indulge in the old classics! Most of our customers find gourmet burgers to be the most popular option on their menu!



Use social media with reviewed enthusiasm. There’s nothing new about the concept of social media. People have always enjoyed being the first to tell someone something they don’t know.

Tell people a bit about yourself, where you will be, and when you will be there. TikTok, Instagram Live, and Facebook are all about the unpolished video. No fancy editing, just live filming done there and then. Consumers have responded well to truthful brand updates during 2020, so be honest with your audience.


Be consistent, don’t give up if you have a bad day, people are creatures of habit and are more likely to buy if they are confident that there is availability.


Serve your customers! ‘The company that knows its customer is the company that wins!’

It’s all about people

Our best experiences and memories are frequently about people. People you meet on holiday, the bus driver in the Disney car parks who always wanted to be on the stage, the shop keeper who let you off when you were 2p when you were young. Small memorable gestures of friendliness and kindness stick firmly in people’s minds.


Utilise any outdoor space. Outdoor space is a great means to increase a venue’s footprint and adds menu diversity. With al fresco dining, operators can facilitate a faster turnover of tables. An outdoor barbecue can attract new clientele to a venue they may have hesitated to try, potentially converting them to regulars.

commercial bbq cooking chicken street food trends


If your first idea isn’t as big a hit as you had hoped, keep trying. Success is 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration.


Hopefully, this street food trends report and considerations when moving outdoors benefit your business when moving forward as we slowly start to make a comeback to socialisation. Covid days are numbered so make sure your business is ready to bounce back this year. Get in touch to learn how a Trailblazer BBQ can rapidly help you get back to trading in a profitable manner!

[email protected]

+44 28 90 57 9000