Maybe you've made the decision to open a street food business after enjoying the most delicious kebab of your life at a food cart near you, or you just embraced the reality that you could not spend another day on your 9 -5 boring job.
However you got here, we can't blame you – street food business is sweeping the nation right now. From thriving cities to small downtown areas, food on wheels is a growing trend which has come to stay!
But here is the alert! You're about to embark on one of the craziest ventures of your life – and if you consistently take careful and timely actions along the way, this could become the most successful, sustainable business that allows you ample time for the things you love as well as the privilege of being your own boss.
With British street food pulling in an estimated £600 million revenue annually, with a year-on-year growth of 20% according to an industry report from British Street Food; food on wheels has become a big business in the UK, no longer the preserve of low-quality hotdog vendors. Hence there's arguably never been a better time to enter the market.
With the industry's consistent growth year-on-year, new selling opportunities have been created by the countries growing a good number of urban street markets, private catering events, and street food festivals coupled with a rise in "foodie" exploratory culture of the British public as they increasingly become amenable to new taste experiences and quality cuisine.
Unlike a lot of other businesses, the street food business is one business you can start for a very modest outlay indeed, scaling your offering as demand grows. Despite being unpredictable and competitive, the growth of the industry also means a new start-up can quickly generate hype and establish a profitable niche.
Now that we've triggered your taste bud, are you already wondering where to get started? Well before you quit your day job and invest in a £45,000 street food, you certainly need to figure out if your dream is even viable. So grab some yummy delight from your favorite street food for inspiration and sit down with your best note-taking device. We're going to write your street food business plan in the next 15 minutes. Your entire street food business plan will take some considerable time, reading through the points below in the next 5 mins would help your brain explore all the possibilities within your new venture and help you set up your unique recipe for your future success.
What is a Successful Business Plan?
A business plan is any plan that works for a business to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities.
If the idea of a business plan leaves you confused and a bit queasy— like you've eaten one too many fried Oreos - don't worry, you're not alone. Many first-time and early-stage entrepreneurs like street food owners skimp on the formalities and neglect to write business plans until it's time to apply for a loan.
Whether or not your food business needs new loans or new investments, your business plan can do a lot more than secure funding—it also serves as a guide to take you through each step of building your business. It also serves as an accountability tool to make sure you're staying on track with the goals you've set. As you write down your goals and work through the numbers, you'll also gain a deeper understanding of what it will really take to turn your food business into a profitable venture. Businesses need plans to optimise growth and development according to priorities, this one document would show you which area of your business to prioritize at every point in time.
Keep in mind that your business plan should also include growth projections and ideas for expansion. Be realistic when it comes to profit plans, but dream big as you explore what the future could hold for your street food. Can you see yourself expanding to a brick and mortar restaurant someday or replicating your street food concept through franchises? Go ahead and jot those dreams down to give yourself something to work toward and to show others how serious you are about this street food venture.
Like your to-die-for buffalo chicken wrap or heavenly pulled pork sandwich, an awesome business plan contains several vital ingredients. And just like your scrumptious menu, your business plan should reflect your tastes and those of your target customers. Let's take a look at the key ingredients to cover in your business plan as recommended by GOV.UK
1. Executive Summary
Remember how in school all your reports had to have a strong summary at the end? That's what an Executive Summary is for your business; it succinctly describes what your street food is all about. Like your school reports, your Executive Summary should be written at the very end. However, we're going to cover it first, because, within your completed business plan, the Executive Summary appears before everything else—it's effectively an appetizer for the main course.
The Executive Summary should cover any experience you have that qualifies you to run a successful street food and explain why you're entering this industry. Discuss what need your street food addresses and how you plan to fill a gap in your local market. Describe what your street food will offer and where you plan to sell food. If you're trying to find funding for your street food, be sure to include financial information about the costs and profit expectations for your business. At the end, briefly outline your goals for the street food and where you see yourself in the future.
Keep your Executive Summary to a single page. This section should function as a resume for your street food, highlighting key facts in a clear, easy-to-read fashion. Since you'll be writing this section last, you'll have already included more specifics in the other areas of your business plan.
2. Company Description
Next up is your Company Description—the section that really gets to the heart of your purpose, plans, and goals. Effectively serving as a mission statement, the Company Description should clearly describe what your street food is all about (a focus on organic ingredients, fusion cuisine, etc.) and how it fulfills a need in your community. What does your street food do that no other street food can do? If there aren't any other street foods in your area serving your signature item, make this clear. Or if another street food has similar items—but you know you can do them better—make your pitch here.
And don't sell your winning personality short. The best businesses in any industry are those that are charismatic and likable enough to develop a loyal fan base. Explain who your target customers are and how you intend to woo them.
Whether you're focusing on quality, value, nutrition, or location, use the Company Description to depict why your street food will be a success. This is your chance to sell potential investors on your street food—and to remind yourself why you've taken on this challenging but very important mission.
3. Market Analysis
Why did you decide to enter the street food industry? And what are your chances of success? Those are the questions you'll be answering in the Market Analysis section of your street food business plan.
First, you'll need to look at trends in the street food industry to figure out what kind of performance you can expect. According to a report by the British Street Food, the street food industry earns about £600 million each year. That's a lot of cheddar—and trends suggest that profits will continue to increases year on year. So It's a good time to start a street food, and you can highlight this fact in your Market Analysis.
Next, consider your potential audience. Who is your target market? Why will they eat at your street food? Where will your street food go to find them? How many people will be interested in your menu—and how many of them can you reasonably expect to serve each day? You'll also need to factor in your pricing plans and any licenses or local restrictions that could impact your ability to attract more customers.
Your Market Analysis should display your knowledge of the street food industry and show readers that you've done your homework. It should also help you figure out whom you're selling to and what obstacles you'll face in reaching them. Outline what you know about the success of street foods in your city and the potential customers you're hoping to serve.
4. Organization and Management
The Organization and Management section is the area of your business plan where you're going to describe who will run your kitchen day-to-day and who will handle the back office duties.
If it's only you and a partner or two, this section should be pretty straightforward. First, outline the ownership and organizational structure of the street food's team. Who's in charge? How are the profits split? What is each team member's role? If you and your partner(s) have discussed this already, you might not think you need to write it down—but it's essential to show that you've thought the process through and that you're not letting any tasks go unmanaged.
Next, give a bit of background on each of the core members of your team. List each person's experience, skills, and other qualifications and explain how these will contribute to the street food's success. Don't forget to include personal qualifications in addition to professional training. If you're passionate about this project and driven to succeed, anyone reviewing your business plan will be more likely to pay attention to what you have to say. So why are you and your partner(s) the right people to run this business?
5. Services and Products
If you've been dreaming about owning a street food because you love cooking and sharing new recipes with others, this is the section you've been waiting for—your Services and Products.
Here you'll explain what your street food will offer and how it fits into your customer's wants or needs. Whether you're salivating to share your legendary spicy meatball sandwiches or orgasmic gourmet cupcakes, describe the unique benefits customers will enjoy when they eat at your street food. What separates your street food from other vendors in the area—and why should fans choose your food? This is your chance to create a unique selling proposition for your street food, so have fun with this section! Go nuts infusing your passion for food into your business plan.
Leave no doubt that your cuisine creates mad-loyal fans who will fight their way to your street food again and again.
In this section, you should also extrapolate on any ideas you have for future products and services. Will your street food have a full menu rather than a signature item? Are you thinking about booking events and catering gigs? Do you eventually want to open a chain of street foods or a brick and mortar location? Explain what your street food is currently capable of offering and how you'd like to expand in the future.
6. Marketing and Sales
Now that you've thought about the reasons people will choose your street food, you need to start planning strategies to let them know where you are and what you have to offer. Old school tricks like smoke signals and carrier pigeons won't cut it, so start thinking about some other ways to convey messages to customers.
In the Marketing and Sales section of your street food business plan, you'll outline your best ideas for finding and attracting new customers—and be retaining old ones. Describe how you'll get initial attention from customers and what you'll do to bring them to your street food. Will you give away free samples to people passing by? Send out press releases to local news organizations to announce the opening of your street food?
Then, start thinking about your plans for long-term growth. How will you keep customers coming back for more? Should you use Facebook or Twitter to let people know where your street food is heading each day? Will you pursue catering opportunities to bring awareness to your brand? Offer incentives or a rewards program for frequent diners?
The street food industry is a competitive business—remember that you're not just competing against other street foods, you're fighting against fast food restaurants, convenience stores, casual dining spots, and even brown bag lunches.
You need a way to get people's attention and have them salivating over the mere mention of your street food's name. Whether you create a catchy name for your business like our friends Bowled and Beautiful from "The Great Street food Race" or commission an unforgettable street food design like Maximus/Minimus'sgiant mobile pig, dare to be original and you're sure to get noticed.
In the Sales section, think about the number of sales you'll need to make in order to keep your street food running - and how many sales you'll need to make to turn a profit. You can break this down by average menu prices or by the cost of particular items, but you should have an idea of what you'll need to sell to meet your goals. Also be sure to factor in the number of days and hours you'll actually be selling, taking time out for any days you'll take off or time you might lose to street food problems or inclement weather.
7. Funding Request
Are you looking for funding for your street food business? Whether you're trying to get an investor to help you with the cost of outfitting your street food or to assist with licenses in your city, the Funding Request section should explain how much money you need, what you'll use it on, and how you'll repay any loans. If you'll need additional funds over time, specify so here and clarify when and what type of money you'd like to receive.
Though you might not be accustomed to asking for money in this capacity, keep in mind that your Funding Request could be a great financial opportunity for the right investor. The key here is to sell your potential investor on the benefits of getting involved with your street food. If your street food can acquire the loyal fans you're seeking out, a small upfront investment could prove to be a very lucrative deal for the person who subsidized your initial costs.
With that in mind, be clear about what you're looking for, what you're willing to offer in return, and what opportunities the funds could provide for your business. And remember that finding an investor isn't necessary—a lot of successful street food owners bootstrapped or worked with partners to get their street foods up and running. Explore your options thoroughly before committing to any funding plans.
8. Financial Projections
In the Financial Projections section, you'll get more specific about your plans for your street food business. Based on the sales plans you've already established, create monthly or quarterly projections for your income, costs, and miscellaneous losses over the first year. After you've covered the first year's projections, create quarterly or annual estimates for the next four years of your business.
If this is your first street food, you're probably going to be making a lot of assumptions and guesses in this section. That's okay—as long as you clearly specify where you're assuming a particular factor and how it contributes to the bottom line. You don't have to have all the answers right now, but you should be able to explain how you've arrived at your projections and be able to back them up with supporting data.
Finally, you may also want to create an Appendix to supplement your business plan. Though they aren't required to do so, many business owners create appendices that are provided upon request to people viewing the plans. The Appendix contains additional files and documentation such as photos of your menu items or street food concept, reference letters or resumes, research and statistics on the industry, copies of your licenses and permits, and other information pertaining to your street food. Even if you aren't planning to share your business plan with potential investors or consultants, it's still extremely valuable to have all of this information collected into one secure place for yourself.
Fill Out Your Business Plan
Feeling like we pushed you off the high dive during your very first swimming lesson? That's totally natural. Writing a business plan is a time-intensive task, and it requires answers to a lot of questions that you probably haven't even considered yet. But more importantly, it's an action that shows your true commitment to your dream. Though it's true that not every successful street food owner started out with a plan, each of them did invest the time and dedication required to build a sustainable business up from the ground.
Your business plan is a reflection of all of the thought, passion, and energy you've put into your street food goals. Most importantly, it will serve as your roadmap to success.
If you're ready to start working on your own street food business plan, sign up for our email list below to receive the FREE Street Food Business Plan Worksheet which complements this write-up. This exercise guides you through each of the sections covered here with helpful questions to help you lock down your street food's goals—and it's only available through our email subscription.
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