Starting a street food business or any food business for that matter requires you to adhere to specific EU rules and regulations that can seem a bit daunting if you don’t know where to start.
Running your own street food business can be extremely rewarding in many ways, starting out on the right foot can lead to great success in this business. The inherent nature of street food also allows start-ups to create a viable business for relatively little capital outlay.
Because you are selling food, dealing with the public and possibly even looking after employees, your responsibilities are not to be taken lightly in any way, but street food isn’t rocket science or astrophysics, though some of the dishes I’ve tasted seemingly take great skill and alchemy to create, the basic principles of starting a street food business are very simple.
There are a number of organisations out there that will happily take your hard earned cash whilst professing to alleviate the headache of paperwork and legislation required for you to start your business. Sounds great doesn’t it? Certain trade organisations can indeed be very helpful in starting a business, but sometimes the help or information you may pay money for is already out there in the public domain and totally free – you just need to know where to look!
Be very wary of organisations that scaremonger you into paying fees for access and help with over complicated systems that could actually hinder your business. The Food Standards Agency website is the bible for all UK food businesses (https://www.food.gov.uk) and carries all the information you need, best of all, it’s totally Free!
Food safety and hygiene is of paramount importance in any type of catering business, make sure you implement a proper food safety management system. Street food and mobile catering businesses would be wise to use the ‘Safer Food Better Business‘ pack as opposed to implementing a more in-depth complicated HACCP system. The Safer Food Better Business pack is based on the principals of HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point), but you will not find words such as ‘HACCP’ or ‘hazard’ in the pack because The FSA have cut out all the jargon. The Safer Food Better Business pack is recommended by the Food Standards Agency for small food businesses to manage their food safety and hygiene practices.
If your food production processes are simple, as in most retail outlets such as restaurants, cafes and sandwich bars for example – you are likely to find that the Food Standards Agency’s Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) pack provides a simpler approach that may meet your needs.
This food safety management pack helps restaurants, cafés, takeaways, street traders and other small catering businesses comply with food hygiene regulations. The new-look version of the pack (published November 2015) includes new advice and is easier to use. You can keep and complete records on a computer, or print them out for filling in. It’s also free and available to download here: http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/sfbb-caterers-pack.pdf
The great news is that we have compiled a list of FREE resources and guides to help simplify the task of running your street food business venture legally and safely. We also work closely in partnership with the NMTF, who are the UK’s oldest and most respected trade organisation that comes with free liabilities insurance, just a small part of their many membership benefits.
If you do need extra help with any of the above matters, NMTF members have free access to help, document templates and professional advice on all matters regarding trading safely and legally.
Let’s start by briefly looking at what you might need to trade safely and legally, we’ve taken all the leg-work out of this and trawled through the FSA website to show you where to access the useful information and hopefully save you money in your start-up costs.