19 Profitable Street Food Business Ideas for 2020
Updated: Mar 18
From ice cream rolls to roast dinner wraps - 19 street food ideas to kick-start your food truck business in 2020
The street food revolution is in full swing and has grown massively over the last 10 years. There is now so much choice with an array of eclectic and diverse foods to try - from fresh and vibrant Persian wraps and Bao buns to wood-fired pizzas and ice cream rolls.
Despite this growth, new types of foods and modern twists on old classics are still emerging. This means there is still room for new ideals for people wanting to start out in this industry. So here are 19 profitable street food business ideas to help you on your way.
Let’s start with a classic and a street food staple that never seems to lose its appeal. There are some really good stalls now selling gourmet burgers, which the public have come to expect.
Depending on where you go there can be a lot of competition but there is still room in the market for new traders.
2. Woodfired Pizza
Freshly made dough and a range of toppings, thrown into a wood-fired pizza oven on wheels. The result? Some of the best pizza you will try.
As the popularity of vegan diets grows so is the opportunity on the street food scene. A number of vegan food trucks and stall have popped up over the last few years and this is likely to continue.
They are selling everything from vegan burgers and hot dogs to vegan pizza.
If you are looking for some vegan inspiration I recommend the book "vegan Street Food". It has a wide range of Asian street food recipes to chose from.
Chinese in origin these little bad boys are steamed buns filled with your favorite spiced meats or vegetarian alternative.
These have been around for a while and like burgers seem to have not wavered in terms of consumer demand. Some of the biggest queues I have seen have been at falafel wrap stalls.
6. Roast dinner wraps
Think slices of roast beef, shredded cabbage, and carrots with horseradish and gravy in a Yorkshire pudding wrap. Yes, these are now a thing and very tasty!
7. Pad Thai
Wok-fried noodle with egg, or prawn, chicken or beef. This is a very tasty dish and easy to make. Popular throughout Thailand
Thanks to The Lego movie I will forever associate Tacos with Taco Tuesday (sorry if you didn’t get the reference). I had some of the best fish taco’s recently on a trip to Koh Lanta, Thailand.
9. Caribbean food
Caribbean food is always popular with street food going masses. In particular jerk chicken grilled right in front of you on a BBQ or rich and flavorsome curried goat.
If you are looking for recipes then "Original Flava" is a good cookbook, giving you, authentic Caribbean recipes.
This is another dish that is very popular throughout Thailand on the street food scene, but not something I have really seen in the UK. Healthy and fresh and not too heavy when it’s hot.
11. Cheesy Chips
Not just any chips, but ones that come with cheese and a wide range of sauces and seasoning. When I first heard of this concept, I thought it couldn’t work, but there is one trader I know off who is very successful and has just opened up fix premises.
Don’t just think food
Because we use the term Street food and food trucks to describe outdoors eating, we often forget it is so much more than just the food. Drinks and desserts are also very popular and a lot of the timeless competitive.
12. Mobile cocktail bar
Cocktail’s and summer often come hand in hand, so it kind of makes sense to serve this outside. You don’t see many of these (yet) at street food markets but watch out for them, especially as gin is now so popular.
13. Mobile Juice Bar
People are more health-conscious these days and want their daily fruit and veg intake. Smoothies are also really popular with the kids.
If you need some juice ideas, then check out "The juice lovers' big book" You will not be short of ideas with over 425 juice recipes to choose from.
14. Smoothie bowls
If you don’t know what a smoothie bowl is, think a very thick smoothie in a tub with a range of nuts, seeds and fruits as toppings. Yes, this is a thing and is slowly finding its way into street food markets and food trucks near you.
15. Coffee Iced coffee
Hot coffee when it’s cold and iced when it’s hot. Win-win right!
16. Bubble Tea
A pretty new concept in the West and in some area’s bubble tea bars are more popular than the juice bars! A range of flavored fruit teas with milk served hot or cold with tapioca balls.
17. Ice cream
Another staple, Ice cream carts, and stalls have been going for years. But people always come up with a modern twist on an old classic. From made with organic milk to dairy-free ice creams, there has been a bit of a renaissance in terms of ice cream.
18. Ice cream rolls
Making these is quite a spectacle and definitely draws in a crowd. Liquid ice cream is squirted on a cold flat steel surface and as the ice cream solidifies, it is scraped into rolls with metal spatulas. You can then add all sorts of wonderful toppings.
You can have these thin pancakes with a range of savory or sweet fillings. My personal favorite is Nutella and banana. Bon appetit!
Street food Trends 2019
So, we know the popular street food out there at the moment but where is street food going and what are the trends for 2019 onwards?
Any trend in the general food scene usually makes its way onto the street food scene. It’s therefore probably a good time to consider the following trends:
"The number of people practising a vegan diet has increased from 150.000 to 542.000 in the last decade in the UK"
The general public is now more clued up about health and nutrition and is more interested in what ingredients go in their meals.
This shift in consumer demand can be seen on the high street from Pret A Manger to Leon and other well-known high street chains, who now offer a range of healthy options (even Greg's in getting in on the action).
Sure, we all still like a dirty burger, but the healthy option is still important and becoming more so. And I don’t feel the street food scene has taken advantage of this trend.
Vegan/ plant-based alternatives
As mentioned, vegan diets are on the rise and this trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. According to a recent report by the Guardian, the number of people practicing a vegan diet has increased from 150.000 to 542.000 in the last decade in the UK.
There are vegan food trucks and street food stalls out there but this is far from a saturated market at present.
As street food has grown so has the level of sophistication. Gone are the days where you could get away with selling low-quality burgers from the side of the road. These days you really need to up your game in terms of product, presentation, and packaging.
The demand for biodegradable or compostable packaging is not going away. Single-use plastics are bad for the environment and the general public is more aware of this than ever.
More and more Festival committees and event organizers also require it as a condition to trade at their festivals and street food markets.
"Vegware" is one of the leading companies in the UK producing compostable products and offers a range of eco-friendly disposables such as smoothie and coffee cups.
Getting into the food truck or street food scene can be exciting and definitely worthwhile if you do it right and choose a product that is going to sell.
The food scene is constantly changing and people are always looking for that new and exciting cuisine.
There are your stable street foods like gourmet burgers and wraps, but also very interesting vegan options starting to emerge.
In short, you have to strike a balance between a proven concept that sells and something a little different or a modern twist.
Whatever you choose I wish you good luck!