Mobile Catering My First Day Of Trading
On A New Catering Pitch

For my first day of business I remember leaving early in the morning but not in any particular hurry, gathering my courage as I drove along to begin my first day of business. I was anxious being on my own,  but I knew I had to have courage after all what was the worst thing that could happen to me (other than getting thrown off the pitch I was going to) I thought.

I arrived at my destination and stopped in what I thought was a good spot to start trading, parked up my catering van and proceeded to get out and start setting up for the day.

All of a sudden two security guards came running over from the truck depot opposite to ask me "what are you doing here! I said to them firmly "I'm trading and I've got permission to be here... from the landlord and pointed to the sign opposite which was displaying (just by chance) Industrial Units to let with a contact phone number.

I explained to the security people that I'd called the number and asked the landlords for permission to trade on the site and they agreed. So on Hearing this they backed off and walked back to their post.

I gave out sigh of relief....Phewww

Back To Trading On The Pitch

With the drama over,  I continued to set up for my first day of business. Eventually curious customers started coming over and looking at my menu. Not long after I sold my first item a cup of tea I was thrilled and started getting a steady stream of customers from then on.

For my first day of business... I finished on £50 pounds an amount I was pleased with as I didn't do any advertising or marketing (in actual fact I just turned up and started selling)

Once I started cooking you could smell the food a mile away especially onions and bacon, so in a way the food sold itself and all potential customers had to do was follow their nose.

I have to admit there was one occasion where I cooked up a sausage for a customer from looked nice and brown on the outside but the sausage was actually frozen on the inside. Gasp... and the only reason I found out was because the customer had dropped it near my bin hint hint.

So as a polite tip, if you're cooking from frozen make sure to thoroughly cook and fork the food (pierce it) when you are cooking. This will let the heat pass through the food and ensure that the middle is cooked, otherwise cook from defrost which is easier and quicker.

Average Earnings After a Few Months

After a couple of months my average earnings for the week was between £300-£400 pounds and my daily working hours were from 7-2pm (7hrs trading Mon-Friday)+ (2-3hrs per day for cleaning, buying stock etc)

Was I glad I took the plunge to start my own mobile catering business?  Most definitely. I've come a long way from my first day of business and only stayed on that site for a few months to learn the ropes.

I eventually moved on to a better site which is another story altogether, but briefly I can tell you a lot more work came my way including catering for a fun fair, football matches and even getting a contract to provide hot and cold food for a 200 man building site, but that's another story. All this stemmed from my mobile catering van that I brought that horrid rainy, wet day.

Mobile Catering - Top Tips

Here is a list of my top tips if you are just starting off.

  • Defrost all food before cooking, place in fridge ready for cooking as defrosted food cooks much quicker
  • Use a temperature probe to check that food is heated thoroughly
  • Print menus in advance with mobile number for extra phone orders.
  • Smile be approachable and tidy
  • Get good quality food (not low quality) cook and taste all food before you sell it
  • Always keep prices competitive
  • For all hot drinks use biggest cups possible at least 12oz
  • Offer consistency in your cooking and don't let your cooking slide
  • First day of business is the worst after that it gets a whole lot easier
  • Very important keep your kitchen very clean and remember people can see everything

Finding a Site/Location Tips

  • Find a location that has few or no other hot food traders
  • Try and get the appropriate permission to trade as this will make things easier for you
  • If you find it difficult seeking permission to trade then just start trading and let the landlords/owners approach you
  • Hunt and seek out rent fee Industrial Estates (hard to come by but goldmine's if found)
  • If buying an existing catering business do all the checks such as permission to trade
  • Contact local council to see if they have any space available for you to trade from or a pitch
  • Some local Councils depending where you trade can charge you an annual fee (this has happened to me) and you can't start trading with out it so make sure to do the necessary checks
  • Check car boot sales especially newly starting car boots sales, get in their quick
  • I had plans to work outside a nightclub but never got around to it... imagine all those hungry people looking for food

Closing Words

To start my own small business took a lot of courage especially my first day of business. I am proud of the fact that I took the plunge and would encourage you to do the same no matter what type of business you want to begin. It's a great accomplishment to be responsible for your financial future through your own efforts.

You must be determined and work hard to succeed in your chosen business and I only hope that my personal experience will help you. Any questions regarding my first day of business or how I got there, please feel free to contact me and I hope this story has encouraged you to take the next step. Don't forget to sign up for my free 12 step guide to mobile catering

Mobile Catering Start Up Pack E-book

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