What it takes to be part of one of Britain’s most profitable sectors – industry grows 20%

Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food – Anman Jordan

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It’s estimated that 50 percent of British consumers buy street food at least once a week and 64 percent are willing to pay above the average lunchtime spend for quality street food. Vehicle leasing company Van Ninja shared some insights on this profitable market, and what it takes to get started as a street food vendor.

Currently, there are over 7,000 street food units that serve customers throughout the UK at markets, festivals and similar events.

While the food industry is not going anywhere anytime soon, setting up a formal, traditional restaurant can be pricey.

Van Ninja shared that the average costs of creating a restaurant business is £50,000 while a small catering trailer or market stall is less than a tenth of that price (under £5,000).

While some argue that these pint-sized trailers will only hold so much stock and won’t have the necessary appliances, a fully converted, brand new van that is tailored to specific needs of the owner will still cost less than a restaurant.

Van Ninja infographic

Van Ninja shared why entrepreneurs should be looking at street food for their next big venture (Image: Van Ninja)

Like with any business, there are upsides and downsides, and Van Ninja briefly suggested what these are in relation to street vending.


Relatively low start-up costs

No office hours

Low rent expenses



Strict regulations on where one can trade

No guaranteed work

Initially profits may be low

With all this in mind, if someone still wants to venture into the food van industry, where do they get started?

Van Ninja infographic

Van Ninja compiled all the different equipment, certificates and steps to start a street food van (Image: Van Ninja)

Van Ninja noted that they will first need to purchase a food van and all the necessary equipment for the specific products they are planning to sell.

Then they must register as a food business with HMRC and their local authority in order to get an Environmental Health offering.

Employers and public liability insurance is also a good choice when starting any business.

Then one can begin marketing, creating their digital brand, buying stock and, of course, cooking.

Necessary documents:

Food Hygiene rating

Electrical PAT test certificate (for any electrical equipment)

Personal food hygiene certificate

Certify any gas equipment with a Gas Safe engineer

Van Ninja also added some inspiration for different vendors through research done by Chef’s Pencil, which indicated that Britain’s favourite street food cuisines are:

Chinese, Italian, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Greek, Turkish and American.

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