How to Start a Food Truck Business in the UK 2023

food truck
Business Leader

Foodies with an entrepreneurial spirit may not always be able to afford to open a physical restaurant straight soon. Even with a dearth of demand for established storefronts, the expenses of renting and security deposits in cities remain exorbitant, and that’s before you start branding the space for your food. Not everyone can afford it, but they might be able to start a food truck business.

This tutorial will explain how to start a food truck business and why it may be the ideal method to launch your new restaurant concept.

What is a Food Truck?

A food truck is a mobile vending unit that includes a kitchen where food is prepared and served. They have been appearing in urban and suburban areas around the United States and are becoming increasingly popular. Many entrepreneurs choose a food truck because the fees of securing a restaurant location are prohibitively expensive, whereas food trucks are significantly less expensive.

Before you proceed, read this article to learn everything you need to know.

The Advantages of a Food Truck Business

Starting a food truck business has a number of advantages, some of which are as follows:

  • Business ownership: Numerous tax advantages come with business ownership and, while it is difficult to own and run a business, at least there is a little bit of relief on the tax front. 
  • Freedom: As a food truck business owner, you have the freedom to choose your menu items, the vendors you want to buy from, your workers, and the events you want to sell at. You have complete control over your social media, marketing, and calendar.
  • Mobility: Being able to bring your business to numerous locations based on demand at different times of the day, days of the week, and so on, according to Angulo, is a significant advantage.
  • Virtual Kitchen: Because established brick-and-mortar businesses are not always able to generate extra revenue through virtual kitchens due to a lack of closeness to a large client base, a food truck can hold many brands if the owner is not brand tied.

Licenses, Permits and Certificates for a Food Truck

As with non-mobile eateries, the food truck startup fees involve a number of licenses and permits that businesses must get before they can begin selling. Finding the correct permissions will save you a lot of future hassle when it comes to the crucial questions to ask when starting a small business:

#1. Food business registration.

You must register with each local authority in whose territory you intend to sell at least 28 days before you begin selling there.

#2. Food premises approval.

If your food truck will be handling meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products, council officials will need to examine it for safety and cleanliness.

#3. Street trading licence.

To trade on the street, you must obtain council approval, which may increase the cost of your food truck depending on the location you choose. In Margate, for example, there is no price, whereas, in Haringey, London, fees start at £54 for a 6-month license. Larger payments are frequently paid in monthly instalments.

#4. Commercial gas safety certificate.

If you intend to cook hot food with gas appliances, you must have this certificate to prove that all equipment is safe and fit for use. All of your gas appliances should have a CE mark and a flame failure device.

#5. Food hygiene certificate.

Food safety regulations require everyone who handles food or drinks to demonstrate their ability to do so appropriately. The simplest solution is to obtain a food hygiene certificate, albeit this is not required by law.

Always contact a lawyer to ensure that your licenses are lawful and that your food truck is in compliance with all other applicable rules and regulations.

Steps on How To Start Your Food Truck Business

In many respects, operating a food truck varies from launching a restaurant, from regulatory requirements to branding to staffing and beyond. Here are a few measures to consider if you want to start your own food truck business…

#1. Work on Your Vision

Take the time to consider the type of business you want to run before you begin your trip. This should be a creative and enjoyable experience. There is no danger here, no money has been exchanged, and there are no deadlines. Just some thoughts. Consider this…

  • Philosophy and Food

What foods make you salivate? What kind of experience do you want visitors to your window to have? What do you like to make quickly and cheaply? If this works, you could make this dinner thousands of times!

  • The Title

Try to come up with something catchy that (hopefully) hints at the type of food you’re offering. One phrase in the tongue of origin (“namaste,” “aloha,” etc.) may suffice; your own forename or surname if you’re the brand; something characterizing the food or experience (“My Meat Wagon,” “Crave”); or even a pun (“Burger She Wrote” and “Guac and Roll” are genuine trucks).

We would advise against names that are excessively long or difficult, as they will eventually be painted on the side of your vehicle. Consider this if you want to extend it to a restaurant one day: what might be a funny novelty name for a truck might not work for a restaurant. Have a good time brainstorming with your pals.

  • Branding and Image

This is also a good opportunity to think about what you want the food truck’s image to convey. Is it upscale or enjoyable? Are you macho or playful? Is there a concept behind it? What colour is it going to be? Is it suitable for Instagram?

Browse the internet for food trucks that stand out and appeal to you.

#2. Conduct Market Research

When conducting market research, there are several measures to take:

  • Go to the Location

Are there existing food stalls? What purpose do they serve? Are they possible competitors? (An ice cream truck, for example, does not compete with a burger truck.) Is there a lot of traffic? Is it legal to trade (more on that later)?

  • Interact with People on the Street…

If you’re shy, “clipboard marketing” can be difficult, but nothing beats travelling to the target market region and spending a day talking to people on the street.

  • Alternatively, in Focus Groups

Set up time and money to talk to a sample group of people if you wish to chat to fewer people for a longer period of time. This should ideally be 10 people who would routinely consume from a food truck, who can be family or friends.

  • Internet Research

It is worthwhile to examine national statistics on the emergence of this food trend and how much money is spent. This type of study could spare you from investing in a craze, among other things.

Make careful to compile all of this data into a helpful, convincing overall picture. This will give you a better understanding of what people desire and will be useful when looking for a loan or an investor.

#3. Develop a Business Plan

Your food truck business plan should include the following items:

Your food truck vision (as discussed above), then a sample menu Ingredient cost breakdown Margins on a typical meal sold One-time costs (the car, for example) and continuing expenditures (insurance, ingredients, vehicle repair, crew, etc)
Whether you will purchase your own vehicle or lease one from someone else, how much it will cost

#4. Financial Alternatives

Starting a food truck business is less expensive than opening a restaurant, but it is not free! Here are some alternatives, along with their benefits and drawbacks…

  • Commercial Loan

A typical and acceptable way to get a firm started, but we’d advocate shopping around for the best interest rates, considering repayments as an initial operational cost, and attempting to limit the borrowed amount to a minimum. Don’t only look at banks; also consider credit unions and online lenders.

  • Grant

There are numerous business incentives available in the UK and elsewhere. For newcomers, there are also publicly sponsored business services accessible, such as guidance and government loans. Again, this is covered in our essay on Starting a Restaurant.

  • Your Personal Funds

One of the most tempting aspects of a food truck business is the minimal upfront investment. You can also begin gradually, keeping your full-time job while working evenings, weekends, or at specific events (concerts and festivals, for example). Many successful street food enterprises began in this manner.

So, you can either save enough money to run it part-time while continuing to work at your existing job, or you can save enough to pay a salary while pursuing it full-time.

  • Partners/Investors

It’s not uncommon for start-ups to be collaborative efforts, and you could already know someone eager to partner with you. It should ideally be someone whose strengths compliment yours and with whom you would get along well when working in close quarters!

Another alternative is to seek financing from venture capitalists (some of whom specialize in hospitality) or from friends and family.

#5 Additional Resources

The food truck market has grown to the point that there are now collectives and organizations that can assist you in getting started.

#6. Obtain a License

Before you begin to trade, you must be registered with your local government. Registration is completely free. Aside from that, operating a food truck necessitates that the food be (naturally) fit for consumption – fresh, clean, and (particularly for meat and fish) properly cooked. Ideally, you and your staff should be trained in healthy food preparation. You may also be required to demonstrate how you intend to dispose of rubbish.

Local licenses differ from district to district, so contact them ahead of time to find out exactly what you need.

If you operate a temporary or part-time truck or stand as part of a market, accountability may rest on the organizers of the market. However, this must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The Challenges of a Food Truck Business

As well as benefits, there are also drawbacks that you may encounter, which include:

  • Time: Working long hours is the standard in the food truck industry. Running such a business is more than a full-time job, with concerns such as shopping, preparation, marketing, event scheduling, cleaning, truck maintenance, bookkeeping, and tax duties.
  • Competition and market: To maximize your chances of success, thoroughly analyze your market. You will almost probably face competition from other food trucks.
  • Ordinances and zoning: Each area has various rules about where and how long you may park your food truck. To avoid penalties and fines, be sure you understand the restrictions in each location where you intend to operate.
  • Foot traffic: Because a food truck relies on potential customers strolling by, it can be difficult to plan for rapid shifts in demand owing to weather or office workers’ flexible schedules, for example.

To operate a food truck, you must have many licences and certificates, including the Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene Certificate. Certificate of business auto insurance. Certificate of public liability insurance.

How Much Does a Food Truck Make UK?

Profits may be low, but most booths can expect to make roughly £100,000 per year – even on a cold, wet day, they may sell £500 worth of food, and in a terrible month, they may take as much as £9,000, provided they attend four markets per week and a couple of private events.

Can I Park My Food Truck Anywhere UK?

Some people believe that if you have the proper license, there are no restrictions on where you can park your food truck, but this is not the case.You can’t just park your food truck wherever in the UK and start selling because each town and city has specified places for food sellers to operate.

How Much is Food Truck Insurance UK?

In the United Kingdom, the average cost of catering insurance is roughly £51 per year, or £6.09 per month for a sole operator. However, catering business insurance premiums can vary greatly based on criteria such as your business structure, personnel count, and whether or not you operate a mobile van.

Food vans, also known as food trucks or mobile food units, have grown in popularity in the United Kingdom in recent years.

That’s a Wrap!

Your food truck business will require a significant amount of effort, but if you have the willingness and motivation to go for it, it may be a very rewarding undertaking. If you’re a budding chef, you can not only try out new dishes, but you can also gradually build up to your brick-and-mortar restaurant over time by experimenting with different foods, prices, and locations.


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