Took the Plunge & Brought a Catering Trailer

by Lee
(Northumberland)

My First Trailer

My First Trailer

Hi,

After reading the articles & info on this website a few weeks ago i decided that this was right for me & today i picked up my first catering trailer.

When i got it home i thought my god what have i done but the thought of working for myself soon put the negative thoughts to one side & besides it also means that i can spend more time with my family.

As I have a 2yr old daughter & 3yr old Son which at the moment i hardly see as I'm working 6 days & nights per week & the only person getting rich is my boss.

I am panicking a bit but its not the cooking side as I'm a chef anyway. Its the fact i now have to deal with the customers face to face however after my first day trading i think i will be alright after that (I Hope ).

I feel that i have made the right decision & once i start trading i think I'm going to wish i had done it years ago.

Have You Got Any Tips For A Newbie?

Thanks Lee.

Comments for Took the Plunge & Brought a Catering Trailer

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May 02, 2018
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As long as your trying your not failing... NEW
by: Fossway Grill

Good on you for getting out there and giving it a go!!

I did the same with the Taxi business and now just waiting for the council licence to trade from a trailer, Nervous yes but excited too and againif you don't try then you will never know but sure you will do fine at it.
Read the peoples comments offering basic tips and advice , I doubt you will go wrong.

Good luck young man

Feb 26, 2018
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taking the plunge
by: Mo

They Lee Good luck with your new venture .I am about to take the plunge and start up on my own like yourself am tired of making my boss all the money tome to do it for myself. Wishing you great success. Mo

Sep 21, 2017
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Catering trailer
by: William -- Belly Busters mobile Catering

Hi Lee

Its alot of things to think of and do before you can start trading

Look at the National Catering association they are great and will help you with all legal documents and training certificates

Good luck

Nov 01, 2016
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own business
by: Anita

This is one of the best decision you have taken.There is always in everything but, soon after you'll be sailing high. God bless you and your family. Remember, you're blessed already

Jan 21, 2016
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Good luck lee
by: Anonymous

Good luck lee, myself and my husband are going to buy a snack van and give up our two well paid jobs, but now we live so far away from work the journey has taken its toll. Like you we would love to spend more time together. It's scary to begin with. But you will reel the benefits in time, plus you get to see you children grow up properly with daddy quality time.

Oct 28, 2015
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Shellfish
by: Steve

Would anyone have any advise on opening a seafood trailer in south London.

Aug 03, 2015
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Wish you the best
by: Ana

I will start my business soon and I'm also a bit scared 😉. Don't you worry with customers, treat them as you'll like to be treated. GOOD LUCK 👍

Feb 27, 2015
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good luck
by: Anonymous

Hi

I will also be taking the plunge sometime this year in the north.

Good luck with your journey and it would be interesting if you had a blog to let us newbies know how you get on.

Keep trucking :-)

Nov 23, 2014
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Starting up
by: Sophie

Hi there,

I am starting a catering business out of a converted vintage caravan in Devon in the Spring. At 35 I feel ready to start my own business after accumulating lots of knowledge over the years working for other people!

Good Luck to everyone with their new ventures, I'll let you know once I have done my first days trading :)

Oct 11, 2014
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Good luck!!!
by: Anonymous

Hi Lee,I too have just bought a trailer and am just about to take the plunge but I wanted to wish you good luck and thanks for the inspiration 😀

Oct 05, 2014
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catering trailer
by: Anonymous

Good luck, we have also bought a catering trailer, still looking for a site.

May 04, 2014
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Good luck
by: Elliotts burger bar

Firstly good luck with your venture.
The most important part of your business is your customers, remain customer focus at all times, and they will become regulars and do your advertising for you with recommendations.

I have only been running mine for one month on an industrial estate hidden away in the yard of a brand new builders merchants who are not generating many customers at all, maybe 5 a day,

Despite this and without any advertising except for a sandwich stye blackboard outside saying "HOT FOOD" we are already averaging about £550 a week mainly from local business on the small estate.

I use quality food and keep an immaculate van, I also passed the Food Safety & Hygiene Level 2 for Catering and display the certificate in my van.

I created a loyalty card and bought a stamp off ebay and this has been a fantastic success, giving away any hot food to the value of £2.80 after getting five stamps, also my menu's are going well and are being put up in my customers works canteens by my customers.

I also give away tea and coffee to my regulars, this is a very low cost incentive "less than 10p" that keeps my regulars coming back everyday.

I also cook everything from fresh and chat to all my customers and supply a newspaper to read, free napkins and a smile.

I know it will hit £200 a day soon and i will be happy with that as i am home by 2:30pm everyday.

don't fear the competition, set out to beat the competition by offering a better service. be the best and customers will travel for miles for your food.

I wish you every success


Apr 10, 2014
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please help
by: Anonymous

hi all, I am thinking of buying a burger van but don't know what I need to do after the purchase can anyone tell me what licenses I need ect thanks all...

Mar 14, 2014
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Good Luck :-)
by: Louise

Good luck Lee I hope everything works out well for you! I picked up my trailer last weekend and am in the process of cleaning it up and getting everything ready. I am feeling quite scared and nervous about it so keep us up dated how you are doing!

Mar 05, 2014
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good luck
by: Eric jackson

All the best. You have to make dreams come true they wont do it by themselves

Feb 01, 2014
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Good Luck and stay happy!
by: Anonymous

The best of luck to you, Lee. Try not to worry about how much food you will sell or how much money you will make but on just how happy you are going to make people with your delicious food, as you will be, and then it will be so much more fun and you won't be so nervous.

People will be attracted to your catering van because you're smiling and happy and this gives the impression they will get good customer service and that you're selling great food - after all, you wouldn't sell them a duff burger if you like people! :)

I'm just at the information/education stage right now as I'm recovering from a long term illness, but decided I want to make a new life for myself and not go back to my old job. I want to be my own boss and do something I'm actually good at and be rewarded for it. It's so worth doing and you've come this far, now you have the opportunity to just enjoy it. :)

Jan 24, 2014
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Best of luck
by: Anonymous

Best of luck Lee. My husband and I are thinking of doing the same and our children are grown up. I'm sure when we do we'd wished we'd done it years ago. Jenny

Oct 19, 2013
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starting catering trailer
by: Anonymous

good luck i am doing same thing and due to start on monday all the best Keith

Mar 26, 2013
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Success Story
by: David

Hi All,

You can read Tim's first 3 days of trading here

I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who have successfully started up, but the thing is, once they get started they don't all seem to have the time to come back and tell us about it.

Best of luck all,

Regards,
David

Mar 26, 2013
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Newbie
by: Shirley

Although we are not earning loads yet we are loving it, it's good fun

Mar 25, 2013
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good luck but....
by: Anonymous

Good luck lee! I sincerely hope your business succeeds - partly because we want to do the same thing :)

But having read the previous comments - does anyone have a success story? most seem to be doom & gloom & not very encouraging. Please make me, & I'm sure Lee, feel better by posting some good news? !!!

Mar 23, 2013
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Newbie
by: Shirley

Good luck luci

Mar 23, 2013
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well done
by: luci

I too just starting I will be all systems go in 4 weeks I hsve just hsndede in my notice in my job and working flat out getting the van ready. I have just landed a great pitch in a new lorrry park just off thr motorway. I hope we all do well. Xx

Mar 20, 2013
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Newbies
by: Shirley

We started our burger van business 2 weeks ago and although its nice working for yourself it's hard going. We have a pitch on a lay by which is quiet at the imminent, probably due to the bad weather. We start at 6.30 am and finish at 2.30.not making much money at the moment but have just landed 6 months worth of car boots on a Friday and Saturday morning starting in April so hopefully things will pick up. Can't expect too much as its early days. We have a pitch at a football stadium and started that last weekend but due to a blizzard we were very quiet. Things dan only get better!!! Good luck.

May 07, 2012
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.50p
by: robert

Has any one had this experience? I parked up in a layby and took £90.00.the next week in the same layby I took.50p...it completely wipped my headout......

Apr 25, 2012
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Good luck!...we all need it!
by: Phil

I've just started myself but in a slightly different direction, I'm serving vegan dishes!!! Got my first event this weekend 60 -70 heads per meal, 2 lunches and 2 suppers. I've also got the breakfast shift all to myself. I think I'll do OK as the people attending are all alternative types and the other offerings are an in house caterer (meal tickets only) and a pizza oven in a horse box!

Good luck to everyone and if you need insperation check out a grat book by Richard Johnson called Street Food Revolution

Phil (Gaia's Kitchen)


Feb 11, 2012
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took the plunge
by: Anonymous

Well done Lee it takes bottle to do what you
have done with a young family to support,i am awaiting delivery of a van i have bought and
will be starting late March early April but your
pressure is greater than mine and i wish you and
your family monumental and continued success,
you have my admiration
Phil

Jan 31, 2012
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frank
by: Anonymous

Same here frank, its really hard work especially shopping afterwards.

Jan 30, 2012
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my burger van business review
by: Frank

It’s been nearly 3 months since i first went out with my Burger van.
I have done Car Boot sales on Sundays, Friday and Saturday Nights at a local Petrol Station and for the past 3 weeks i have a stationary Pitch from the Local Council.
EVERY DAY so far i lost money!! Once or twice i broke even, that’s it. Maybe another month and i will be broke. I had 13k savings spend around 9k in the van and equipment and the rest down the drain!

I regret so badly that I started this kind of "business" Petrol for the generator and LPG around £20.00 plus all the food you don’t sell goes in the bin, every night then this cleaning the entire time nightmare!!!!!!

DON'T WATE your money buying a Burger van, UNLESS you have a really good pitch! That’s my advice

Jan 28, 2012
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I FEEL THE SAME MATE
by: Anonymous

good luck mate, i'm gonna be starting my first day on monday so i know how you feel.

Jan 15, 2012
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mobile catering van
by: helen

I am doing well just fed up, can't get staff to work when i want them to

Jan 15, 2012
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Dejected..?
by: my meat stinks..!

Blimey, giving up..!

I know what you mean, my mate has gone from 3140 a day to £60 a day and still his costs are going up.
He'll make more money selling duty free fags and risk the fine..!

He has tried everything , everywhere...!
I helped with a car boot last year, loads of cars 400+ and they put all the burger vans in a row, he was at the end of a line of 6..!
And they wanted £80 for the pitch, i jumped in and told them to renegotiate, we eventually got it down to £10..!
But we only made £70 for the day, after my bit, his bit, cots and getting there from 6am and getting home for 5pm..!

It seems everybody wants food for nowt and dont care where it comes from.

He's changing the unit to a tandoori chicken and lamb hut and doing the shows, got his first one in Feb at a local football competition, 6 pitches and upto 24 games on the day.
but still, middle of a effing field , no facilities and they still want £70 for the pitch..!

keep going everyone and good luck, i may do it myself one day and i have a cracking idea, saw it in Australia and the q's were 100 yds long...

Jan 15, 2012
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mobile catering van
by: helen

Anyone interested in buying a mobile catering van in west yorkshire, fed up time to sell.

Jan 15, 2012
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So how did it go then Lee??
by: Chris

Hi Lee,

I bought my first catering trailor last week and am exactly at the same stage of business you were a while back when you started off! Quite nervous but very excited. Just wondering how you got on? Any tips out there folks for a new kid on the block please forward to cdoran1@gmail.com

I would not be the best cook in the country but am sure to give it a go. Staring a catering course next week and plan to hit the fairs/ markets/ boot sales in approx 2-3 months.

How to get your first (reasonably priced) pitch?
Certificates required? Hygience? Gas? etc

Hope everybody is doing well!

Stay positive! :)

Many thanks.

Great site you have here by the way David! Excellent resource!

Thank you,
Chris

Jan 15, 2012
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Good luck Man!
by: Gypsy 'T'

Hey well done, you have taken the plunge I am sure you will make a go of it. I really want to do this myself and I am saving hard for my first catering van. wishing you all the luck and good fortune I can:)

Dec 13, 2011
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How you're getting on ?
by: Frank

it's been four weeks now since i 1st went out with my Burger Van, i have done car Boot sales and weekends at a local petrol Station (after closing hours) so far i made a loss every time, not even broke even :-(
I am worried now if i made the right choice ?
How are you getting on Lee?

Dec 13, 2011
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Good Luck & I know how you feel
by: Gus The GRILLA

Its the first day thats hardest I have been told...
My first day is now only one week away and I have the butterflies and anxious nights where I wake, working out the selling price of the burgers is my hardest bit, I keep changing my mind.

Oct 16, 2011
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My
by: Frank

Hello all, my name is Frank i am originally from Germany, came to the UK 12 years ago i am working in the hospitality Industry all my life. The last Hotel i worked for 7 years just made me redundet :-( so what to do i am already 48y finding a job at this age is hard, very hard. So i bought myself an old London ambulance, converted into a buger van, 2 weeks ago i am in the middle of painting and cleaning it, i bought a few new appliences, like a kebab machine and a Crepe maker !!! Hard to find a Gas installer to fit my new stuff !! (county down, Northern Ireland) anyone can help ??
I will let you know how i get on over the next few weeks

Oct 09, 2011
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Well done
by: Julie

Hi, good job I wish you all the luck in the world. It takes guts and determination to take a plunge like this. I have been trying myself for the passed 3 years promised grants but got nothing. However I will never give ip. Sign up with ncass just google it. You will get a lot of benefits and places to trade. Like I said good luck and hope you enjoy everyoment. Stay positive. Fingers crossed for you. Julie

Jul 29, 2011
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congratulations lee
by: Anonymous

well done lee,i hope your proud of yourself,you should be,you have done really well to get this far and your trailer looks very clean and inviting.great business name too.im hoping to start a similar business myself,ive bin stuck in a factory job for 35 years and now face redundency.finding it realy scary but hope to use redundency pay to setup a catering trailer.so doing the research at mo.got my food and hygiene certificate,having trouble finding a pitch,good ones are like gold.im in south glamorgan.anyway i just wanted to wish you all the best with your new venture.i think you will do well with the kit you have.keep your standards high lee. trev.

Jun 29, 2011
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pauls kitchen
by: paul

hi lee
i hope you make a good go at it
i have built my own trailer and am trying to get it gas inspected then i will try and get a pitch i wish you all the luck in your own business
paul

Apr 29, 2011
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took the plunge
by: paul w

hi lee i brought a trailer 2months a go but needs total refit and respray i have been a recovery driver for 20 years but love to cook cant get a job and thought get a trailer and work for myself & the wife have helped a friend who had a trailer and enjoyed it good luck mate nice to here some one taking the plunge and going for it well done paul &steph

Feb 08, 2011
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Brand new 12 years
by: Ahmed

Hi Lee,
Good luck man,..wish you all the best
I m starting my own soon
I know you and I will do really well,especially that,...
Let me explain;
We are all going through a magical transformation especially
those of us who are positive and work hard at life,this magical transformation is caused by the transition from the old 12 years
to the new 12 years the took place on midnight the second of Feb
2011, during this transit the planets shift from one place to another which causes waves and vibrations that affects us all in one way or another including our planet the earth.

So for those of us who are positive will attract positive waves and will grow ,...Good luck Lee
make the most out of this amazing time.

Ahmed

Jan 08, 2011
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good luck Lee
by: Babs

Good luck Lee I wish you every success, this is also my dream and I am going to look at a van next week. Scary as I don't actually finish work )redundancy) until end of March so I know how you feel. Love your logo by the way, Very cool.

Jan 02, 2011
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good luck
by: helly's munch box

Hi to everyone who has just started up on there own, this is my 8th week just picking up i get scared when a few customers call at once just have a laugh with them while your cooking thats what i do then panic later cause i'm on my own.
good luck to you all.

Jan 02, 2011
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good luck lee
by: mike

Hi, I also am about to launch myself in the burger van busness, and to be honest, I'm terrified, but I have the full support of my wife, going to look at a van today which seems to be well equipped and while I'm not a chef, I have been following davids tips on his home page and e-mails and am actually qite a good cook, I would like to wish Lee every sucsess with his venture, and I know just how he feels.

Look out, we're going in.

best regards

Mike

Nov 20, 2010
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my van
by: hellys munch box

Hi
I have just started up on my own bought a mobile catering van got my pitch next to a university, monday will be my second week, last week i hated every minute of it i totally hated my van i had problems with generator and had to hire one, but now i have bought one hope i will feel better next week, all i can say is buy good quality food
and make what the customers like.
Spam and egg is a big seller.
good luck.

Oct 30, 2010
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newbie
by: Anonymous

Just in the process of buying a van and pitch which at the moment is very popular and busy. I am worried that I wont be able to keep up. know its a good position to be in but frightened I will lose trade due to slow service to start.

Think its a Daunting time for all newbies....

Im sure with your cooking experience you will do well.

Good luck lee.

Aug 22, 2010
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Good Luck
by: Julie

Hi Lee,

Good luck with your new venture. I have also just recently bought a mobile catering trailer it came with a pitch which was a huge bonus as it currently has a well established customer base. I have at the moment basically been doing what the previous owner did but I am starting to introduce my own ideas slowly. The main problems I have had are manouvering the trailer (I am pretty rubbish at this but I am sure I will get better) amd starting the generator. I have a huge monster one but am in the process of buying a suitcase style which I get next week thank goodness! It's a bit scary I am used to dealing with people though so it's fine and as long as you are pleasant and spend the time of day with them even if they have to wait a few minutes they never appear to mind. I have to say it's very interesting the people you meet.

Good luck keep us posted on your progress.

Jun 21, 2010
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Hi Lee
by: Steve

Congradulatons Lee i hope your venture does well it sure beats working for someone else.I am in the process of buying a trailer as well still looking though. As i want to get it right also spent a few weeks looking for the right site i have a few in mind.Also i think it will pay to spend a bit more on the food as quality pays.

Jun 09, 2010
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KISS effect, Keep It Simple Stupid
by: sean from barmouth

The best advice on food,...

Get good quality suppliers, local if possible and try and avoid the white van man who has a deal of 80 frozen sausages for £3..

I use local butcher for meat, local bakery for bread, brakes for dry foods and chemicals, - they deliver to my van during the day.

Please dont be tempted to use the cheap cheap fast food companies that offer 4oz burgers for 29p, how can you get 4oz meat that cheap, think aboiut it..!

I also offer a hot option, between 10.30 and 2.00pm i do a daily hot special - chicken curry, rice and a naan for £3.95 includes a fruit cordial with ice..!

Good luck..!!!!

Jun 01, 2010
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good luck lee
by: mark from west lothian

just like to wish you all the best for your new venture im doing the same.i bought a run down van and am currently giving it a refurb,money or the lack of it is holding me up but i will get there and cant wait to get out there and start trading.
im sure your customers wont be long in welcoming you to their lunch time especially as you can already cook im sure you will love it
good luck
regards mark

May 28, 2010
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Great Looking Mobile Catering Trailer
by: Joana

Great looking mobile catering trailer.You have really done a great job to make is this far with your business.

Wishing you great success now and for the future, and just in time for the summer trade.

Joana



May 28, 2010
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Good Luck
by: Anonymous

Lee, just give the customers what they want, nice food, good portions and keep it clean. Van looks great and looks clean.

All the best.

May 27, 2010
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Good Luck!
by: Anonymous

Thats excellent news!

Im in the process of trying to set my own mobile catering unit up, Ive had a very productive day but the nerves keep getting to me!

Good luck and all the best for the future!

Aug 12, 2009
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Well Done For Starting Your Own Catering Business
by: Anonymous

Wow! Lee

Congratulations and well done!

I am very happy to hear that you have taken this first huge step into becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business - I wish you the best of luck!


The best tips that I can give you is to:

-Make sure you set the pricing right

-Give generous portions of food when possible.

-Include some meal deal- sandwich, crisp and drink, a set price perhaps

-Try your food and make sure it taste good all the time- not just when you first start

-Design and print up some menus on your P.C with a mobile number, so that your customers who can place phone orders.

-Make sure your work cloths look clean and smart

-Keep your trailer looking clean and tidy all the time.

-Add value to your service, by always giving a napkin, bags, free paper to read perhaps ? while your cooking

-Acknowledge all your customers even if you can?t get to them just yet, a simple nod or hi will do.

And finally always give a warm welcome and Smile:)

When you start cooking and throw yourself into your business - all these doubts will quickly disappear.

It's even more satisfying when people start to enjoy your food and become your regular customers.So don't worry to much - as you will do great!

Best of luck

David
p.s Get My Free Mobile Catering Guide

Free Start Up Guide


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