Street food is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. In fact, it’s safe to say business is booming in the sector. Building on eating habits from across the globe, many British businesses have been able to capitalise on the convenience – and kerb appeal – of mobile food outlets. Let’s take a closer look at why food truck businesses are a great investment.
Firstly, a couple of stats to back up the ubiquity of street food; it’s thought to be eaten by 2.5 billion people across the world every single day and, in the UK, a quarter of consumers tuck into food from mobile businesses at least once a month. If you want to get into this lucrative sector, there are plenty of options for you. The type of vehicle you operate from and the food you sell will have a huge impact on your customers and profitability.
You can opt for a traditional food cart, electric vehicle or converted van or truck, depending on your preferred vending location. Popular street food options include cuisines from all over the world, from German pretzels, Mexican burritos, Greek gyros and Middle Eastern falafel to the British classic, fish and chips. And it’s not just food that’s popular when it comes to grabbing a snack on the go; milkshakes are also a common choice among consumers.
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Why start a food truck business?
There are many reasons why you should consider a food truck business for sale. Below, we take a look at five of the most important ones.
1. They often have low investment costs
One of the most significant expenditures for any business is the cost of the property lease. With a mobile food truck, this isn't an issue. Of course, you’ll need to buy and maintain your truck and its fittings, but food truck franchises generally require lower up-front investments and cost less in the long run.
Because food trucks aren’t tied to a fixed location, you’ll have the opportunity to operate in high-footfall locations without forking out for expensive business premises. Where other small businesses may not be able to afford to lease property there, you’ll be able to generate sales income without making a long-term commitment.
Here’s what you can expect to invest in different types of food truck businesses:
- £5,000 or less – This is the usual investment for small start-up businesses just entering the street food sector.
- £5,000 to £10,000 – This will get you a food truck with the ability to operate in the street or at small events.
- £10,000 to £20,000 – Spending this amount will enable you to buy a new, small van equipped with a kitchen to serve food from the street. It would also fund a new, mid-range trailer that you can take to shows and other events, or a second-hand ice cream van in good condition.
- £50,000 or more – You’ll have to invest this much if you want a new, large converted van to take to shows and events.
2. You can go where the customers are
Businesses in the food and restaurant industry dedicate an incredible amount of time to getting customers through the door. It’s one of the biggest concerns restauranteurs have – how do you get diners from all over the city to come to your specific neighbourhood to try your food?
It takes time to build a reputation that pulls in the crowds and, until you've established yourself, you may find that your business isn't attracting enough customers to pay off all your expenses.
With a food truck, you can set up in busy locations rather than expecting consumers to come to you. Book yourself a space at big events, fetes and carnivals, and take your food to parties and festivals. Rather than sitting back and waiting, you can be proactive and take the initiative if you want to boost your income.
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3. It’s trendy
There's no doubt about it – food trucks are fashionable. We’ve already touched on just how popular street food is becoming, but just to give you a little extra information, the UK street food market is valued at £1.2 billion and is growing as we speak. Between 2017 and 2018, the sector expanded by more than nine percent.
Although the food truck phenomenon is yet to become as big as it is in the US or Australia, it's gathering pace and is already rewarding early adopters and entrepreneurs prepared to take a risk. Because the market is not yet saturated, it’s a great time to launch a food truck business or join an existing franchise. There are plenty of opportunities out there for business-oriented individuals with an eye for a good investment.
Remember, food trucks can be an effective way of testing ideas, so if you've got a restaurant concept in mind, consider becoming a street food vendor. Since you'll be investing less, you can afford to trial certain dishes, entire cuisines or whole truck concepts without exposing yourself to too much risk.
4. It solves a lot of problems
When you talk to businesspeople looking for franchise opportunities, you’ll discover a list of common obstacles that they’ve all encountered. For instance, the main problem faced by young investors is the price of business premises. The cost of leasing a property in a busy city often makes the venture too risky. Secondly, the initial investment required by many franchises is too high for many hopeful entrepreneurs.
Food truck franchises sidestep both of these issues. Firstly, food truck franchises don't need a property. Secondly, they have low start-up costs. This means there are fewer barriers to entry into the sector and the risk is lower – if things don't go to plan, you won't have lost as much as you would have otherwise.
5. It’s fun, new, and exciting
You may be drawn into food truck franchises by the low investment costs, but it’s important to remember that mobile food businesses are also fun. They offer up a new way of doing things and most modern food trucks adopt a playful but powerful brand identity that's brimming with personality.
Also, being a street food vendor involves meeting new people every day and working in a number of different places. If you’re successful, you’ll attend large-scale events and find yourself in the thick of the action. If you’re after a work routine that’s a little more varied than traditional food businesses offer, a food truck may be the way to go.
Mobile food franchises to get involved in
There are plenty of opportunities in this lucrative sector:
Coffee Bike takes the idea of a mobile coffee shop and makes it more portable and more eco-friendly. With all you need packed onto the back of a bespoke bicycle, franchisees can take their day-to-day operations on the road and find customers in a range of different locations.
This franchise requires a minimum investment of £8,000, but franchisees will probably need to invest more at a later date. Coffee Bike operates an interesting royalty scheme that ensures there are no fixed monthly costs. Instead of making regular payments to the franchisor, Coffee Bike franchisees pay a percentage fee on every cup of coffee sold.
Cafe2U delivers great coffee and fresh foods directly to customers across the country. As a van-based franchise, it's both affordable and easy to operate, giving you the best possible chance of turning a sizeable profit. To become a franchisee, you'll need to make an investment of £81,000. All franchisees receive comprehensive training and ongoing support.
ZooHoo’s Eatery is a US franchise that takes the fast-casual dining experience to a whole new level. It loads it on to the back of a trailer and allows you to take your restaurant with you wherever you go. Interested investors will have to raise total investment costs of around $100,000 and need access to liquid capital amounting to at least $50,000. Although the franchise isn’t planning on expanding into the UK just yet, it’s an example of just how popular food truck franchises have proven elsewhere.
Become a food truck franchisee today
Food truck franchises present an exciting investment opportunity for anyone interested in opening up a business in the food sector. While traditional restaurants can prove incredibly profitable, there's also a great deal of risk associated with leasing business premises.
Investing in a food truck for sale could save you a lot of time and money in the long run. So, get it right and you could be running your own business and turning a good profit in no time. Given how popular food on the go is in the UK – and across the globe – today, there’s plenty of scope to set up a highly successful franchise unit in your local area. Click here to see current food truck franchises.
To browse other franchise opportunities in the food sector, visit the franchise directory, where you’ll be able to compare your options by investment price and popularity to find the best one for you.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©