Mobile Catering Trailers From China

by Addy
(Newark, UK)


I am in the process of starting my business plan and looking for a proper trailer. I want to make sure that it meets all UK regulations and that I don't have to make any major modifications to it after purchase - apart from signs, painting, extra cooking accessories, etc.

I keep seeing these Chinese trailers shipped from China

For around $2000.
Does anyone have any experience with these and find that they are of good enough quality and suitable for use in the UK? Would those with experience have an opinion on them?

Many thanks!

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by: Fred

Why go to China, I live in Southampton, Hampshire, uk, I've got a 10 x 5 ft trailer which I can convert into a burger van/ mobile home to anyone's specification. I'm a carpentry by trade

Catering Trailers
by: Vanessa

I agree with Addy to a certain degree. However, there are an enormous amount of people in China who speak English very well. I have done business with quite a few people online from China and sure, you have to weed out the ones who are using a Google translator! but that is very obvious on first communications.

Have a look at so many of the products on shelves that are Made In China. A lot of them are very good quality. If you get the right factory, They will ensure that all of your specific needs are met - roadworthy, chassis etc. It might cost you a bit more than the $2000 advertised but you will get the product you are after.

I have not bought a food trailer from over there but have seen quite a few that have been imported to Australia and spoken to the owners - they have not had a problem.

Chinese Made Catering Trailer Kiosk
by: Excel Trailers

Hello Addy,

At Excel Trailers Ltd we have had a number of customers who have purchased these Chinese trailer imports and have brought them to us to get them adapted to meet UK standards.

Unfortunately, on each occasion for the customer this has become a lengthy and expensive process with the customer stating that they wish they had purchased a trailer in the UK, as they would have got exactly what they required and spent less money in the process.

Some of the issues with the Chinese imports include:

They do not meet UK/EU regulations with regards to road lighting, indicators, reflectors, reverse lights etc, therefore, these need to be fitted before it is road legal.

Many of these trailers do not have a strong enough chassis (some of them don’t have chassis’s at all), meaning that one has to be built and we have not seen any that come with a road worthy A frame, which means that they cannot be towed until one has been built.

Building a chassis after the event can mean that the trailer now becomes higher which effects the serving height of the hatches.

The bodies are extremely flimsy, if you were to lean against the body (which customers often do) it dents very easily. We have seen many of these trailers arrive damaged (presumably this happened in transit) and our customers have found it very difficult to get the situation rectified with a non English speaking person in China.

If you are thinking of using LPG gas powered equipment which is the standard in the mobile catering industry, there is little/no room to place a gas box/bottles and as above the body is so thin it becomes difficult to cut into it to make a compartment.

Whilst the rounded shape of the trailer looks nice, they are not very practical as most catering equipment has a square type shape, so lots of space is wasted by trying to fit square equipment into round spaces and therefore, the equipment often won’t sit flush against the wall.

The interior walls also need fitting out to meet UK hygiene standards.

In summary, when you initially look at these trailers, they do look nice and appear to only cost only a few thousand pounds in comparison to the trailer price in the UK.

However, when you add up all of the hidden costs such as customs charges (which you often don’t get told about until the trailer is in the UK), costs to make the trailer road legal and to meet hygiene standards etc you may spend more on this type of trailer than purchasing a trailer in the UK and the Chinese trailer is not likely to last very long.

Due to the limited interior space you will not be able to produce high volume food, which mobile catering is often about.

All of our customers who have purchased these trailers have regretted their decision to do so, but if you do decide to buy one, make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing and you have considered all of the costs involved with making this unit suitable for UK use.

If anyone has any questions or would like more info please contact us at Excel Trailers

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