Advice on Setting Up Mobile Catering Business

by Ali
(Yorkshire)

Hi David,

Firstly I would like to thank-you for this excellent website, reading the entire Q&A has been really helpful.

My husband and I are seriously thinking of setting up a mobile catering business. I would be grateful if you could answer a couple of queries?

We are only at the planning and researching stage however we do have the funds to set this business up.

We would prefer to attend events throughout the country rather than having a pitch in a lay-by.

What are your thoughts in selling more upmarket gourmet food i.e. home made burgers and hot food and also posh sandwiches which you would not normally find on your average burger van.

You have mentioned the events guide which I know is around £45, we did buy the UK shows and events 2011 book, would you recommend still getting the events guide also?

We want to fully research before buying the trailer however would like to get the business set up asap. What do you think the likelihood of getting pitches at events for this year would be?

We plan to email all events and festivals to ask availability for a pitch but we obviously have not started up yet or have not bought our trailer. Do you think this will be a problem?
Sorry just two more questions, we obviously would like to make the most money from our business and attend events with the most footfall, do you think the bigger the trailer the better?

You mention buying a permit from the council, do you need this permit to trade at all events or is that just for local events within that authority?

Kind regards

Ali

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Mar 06, 2011
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Mobile Catering Questions
by: David

We would prefer to attend events throughout the country rather than having a pitch in a lay-by.

Answer: Attending events can be great income source, but then your income dependent on these events/cancelations as opposed to establishing a pitch and customers that you may want to on as an asset/business later on, so some points for you to consider.

What are your thoughts in selling more upmarket gourmet food i.e. home made burgers, hot food and posh sandwiches which you would not normally find on your average burger van.

Answer: The question you need to ask is- will there be enough profit in selling homemade burgers, as you are going to have to buy all the ingredients and make the burgers yourself.

The same goes for sandwiches and other forms of upmarket food. This could be seen as a lot of additional work, which will be time consuming for you.

You will also have to charge a premium price to make a decent profit for yourself. This sounds great if you are catering for wedding or private events, but I’m not so sure at normal events around the country.

Will people want to pay a premium price for homemade burgers or will they be happy with the normal type/price of burgers?

You have mentioned the events guide which I know is around £45, we did buy the UK shows and events 2011 book, would you recommend still getting the events guide also?

Answer, if you have enough contact number and addresses to make enquires then you may not need it but it’s entirely up to you. As long as it does not contain duplicate information it may be something you may want to consider.

What do you think the likelihood of getting pitches at events for this year would be?

Answer: There is a good chance of attending events this year if you have planned for it and if you don’t leave it much longer. The earlier you book the more chance you stand of securing a pitch for yourself

We plan to email all events and festivals to ask availability for a pitch. but we have not started up yet or have not bought our trailer.

Answer: This is a good idea as it will give you a good indication of how much a pitch will cost you, but be aware that most event organisers may ask you for a deposit to secure the pitch.

Do you think the bigger the trailer the better?

Answer: Not necessarily, as long as you have a reasonable size catering trailer with adequate equipment this should be fine for you.

You don’t want a huge trailer and then get stuck trying to store or park it when not in use. A medium size trailer should be flexible enough to cover 95% of catering events around the country.

You mention buying a permit from the council, do you need this permit to trade at all events or is that just for local events within that authority?

Answer: You will have to register your business with the local council of where the trailer is to be kept, once this has been done you are free to work in other areas of the country.

Best of luck with your business,

David

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