Leigh, the grillmaster behind London street food business ‘Feast’ invested in a Trailblazer BBQ over four years ago. Throughout this time, we have kept in contact with Leigh and are delighted to see his UK street food business go from strength to strength.
In fact, one of Trailblazer BBQs main slogans “Make More Money, Work Less Hours & Have More Fun” was stimulated by Leigh and his positive feedback on how he has been able to reduce working hours and spend time with family without having to sacrifice earnings through trading in a way that was not deemed possible before owning his Trailblazer.
Understandably, a lot has changed throughout the UK street food scene and mobile catering industry in recent years. We thought it was about time to touch base with Leigh once again, and let him share his story along with any tips for caterers thinking of starting an outside catering business with a Trailblazer BBQ.
So Leigh, tell us a bit about yourself…
“I’ve been in the food business all my life. My Italian Uncle runs an Italian restaurant, so I was helping him out from an early age.
I didn’t like the long weekends that were associated to chefing. I was missing out whilst my friends were out having fun, so I decided to leave the kitchen trade.
After I left the catering trade, I ended up in the motor industry for 10 years. The money was good, but I had enough of the corporate life. I wanted to start something for myself and at still had a passion for food so decided to start my own business selling Italian food, condiments, and stuff like that.
It started off by just going around farmers markets for several years. It was great fun. We ended up doing a few weddings doing grilled produce and made more money than selling the other condiments at markets. This, therefore, led me into more direct catering.
It progressed from there really. We started basic. Operating a gas grill, selling burgers and sausages, then slowly added more to the menu and targeted some corporate events.
I realsied Farmers markets were dying out slowly and street food was the next best thing. Within 2 years street food traders and opportunities were popping up everywhere. I can remember thinking the quality of the food was amazing. Seeing talented chefs move to something that didn’t require them to work long, unsociable hours. I knew instantly that I wanted a piece of that.”
What lead you to Trailblazer?
“I came to notice Trailblazer through Streetzine magazine and NCASS. After searching Google I realised that the majority of charcoal BBQs were relatively small and not necessarily made for commercial use.
I Didn’t want to work long hours so needed something that could offer high output capabilities. There’s a two-hour window to serve lunch for a certain number of people.
The trailblazer has the capability to do about 200+ odd people at once, theater of the look, the smell, and the taste.
People do follow their nose and we set up on the high street and used a combo of charcoal and woods to have an extra smokey flavour that you just can’t get with gas or electric BBQing, it doesn’t compare.”
I would only work 4/5 days on avenge working during the week – I rarely work weekends as this gives me time to work out on the farm and spend valuable time with my son.”
What does the market buy – what’s the big hit?
“I do chargrilled wraps with chicken, lamb, and steak along with vegetarian and vegan options. I would do specials once or twice a week.”
Do you have to do any marketing?
“I don’t do anything appetising anywhere, it’s purely all done on social media. I don’t actively go out looking for venues. Generally, I let people come to me because I don’t want to be overworking. The Trailblazer is a real crowd please, so I think this has definitely encouraged locations and organisers to reach out.”
What would you say to people listening?
“Go for it! Have a look around. Have a good product and brand image. Social media will help. Make your images look good and spend time with your products. Have a nice background in photos and let your Trailblazer do the talking. It will have you sorted for busy and quiet working days.
The gull wing door design is brilliant, especially considering UK weather conditions. When they are opened, they block out the rain. If it’s a windy day you can drop one door and let it act as a windshield. It has the capability to work all year round meaning there is no need to watch out for the weather. It’s built for all kinds of weather!”
If you are thinking of starting a street food business within the UK or Ireland. Why not read through some of our customer success stories and learn how Trailblazer BBQ could help you get on the road to profitable success?
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