• Gavin Dudd

How much does it cost to start a food stall?

Updated: May 15


You will be surprised how little it costs to get started with a food stall business


The street food industry is a diverse landscape with a an array of food vendors selling all kinds of foods from different types of units.


From food trucks and catering trailers to food stalls and carts.


The costs to set-up up a start food business also differs and if you are on a budget a food stall is the best options as it costs the least to set up.


So you may be wondering how much does it cost to start a food stall?


The cost of a food stall can be as little as £1600 for the basic equipment such as a gazebo, catering tables and cool boxes and specialized equipment such as flattop griddles and cast iron hobs.


Below are three examples of popular types of food stalls and a break down of the approximate costs for the equipment needed to operate.


I've also included a few tips to save money and keep costs low.

How much it costs to start a food stall: Practical examples


Street food stands selling different types of food will obviously need different types of equipment.


However, there is some basic food stall equipment that pretty much every food stand will need to operate effectively.


Below are three examples of popular street food stalls and the cost of the equipment that is used.


These are approximate costs but should give you an idea of how much it costs to start a food stall.



Burgers and hot dogs


Burgers and hot dogs have been a popular staple for many years now on the food truck and street food scene and continue to evolve.


From the traditional burgers and hotdogs to the gourmet variety and now to vegan and vegetarian options.


It also one of the food stalls that needs the least specialized equipment to operate.



Basic food stall equipment costs


Gazebo = £300

Pop up tables = £160 x 2

Cooler box = £100

Hand washing unit = £200

Insurance certificates (public liabitlity/hygiene certificate) = £200

Signage/banners = £80

Menu boards = £60


Specialised food stall equipment costs


Flat top grill for burgers & hotdogs = £200


Total food stall costs (approx) = £1300




Indian Street Food


This type of food is known all around the world and for very good reason. It's very tasty!


With this type of food stall, the costs will be slightly higher as you will need a few extra bits of specialized equipment.


This is because Indian food stalls tend to have a larger range of food options than say a burger stand.


The specialized equipment can also be used for a number of different types of food stall that tend to cook food in pans, skillets or balti dishes.


Such as Caribbean and Thai.


Basic food stall equipment costs


Gazebo = £300

Pop up tables = £160 x 2

Cooler box = £100

Hand washing unit = £200

Insurance certificates (public liabitlity/hygiene certificate) = £200

Signage/banners = £80

Menu boards = £60

Specialised food stall equipment costs

Cast iron hob x4 = £160

Rice cooker = £180

Cast iron balti dish x 4 = £150


Total food stall costs (approx) = £1590


Related articles:


Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


Like burgers and hotdogs, grilled cheese is another popular type of food stall in mobile catering.


It is also, similar to burgers and hotdogs, the type of food stall that needs minimum extra specialized equipment.


This is because it tends to serve only one type of product.



Basic food stall equipment costs


Gazebo = £300

Pop up tables = £160 x 2

Cooler box = £100

Hand washing unit = £200

Insurance certificates (public liabily/hygine certictae = £200

Signage/banners = £80

Menu boards = £60



Specialised food stall equipment costs


Flat top grill for grilled cheese sandwiches = £200

Total food stall costs (approx) = £1300



Additional food stall costs


You have brought all your food stall equipment and are no ready to rock and roll!


But unfortunately, the costs don't end there and there will be other important additional costs associated with running a food stall that needs to be considered.


Transport


You will need transport to move all your food stand equipment from event A to event B.


Therefore you will need a small to medium type van (see money-saving tips to avoid this additional below).


Staff


When starting out most food stands and stalls owners use family and friends to help run the operation.


However, this might not always be the case and you will sometimes have to employ staff to help out, especially for larger events.


Stock/disposables


Aside from staff a relatively large operating cost will be the ingredients you use to cook your food and especially so if you use a lot of meat.


Then there is the disposable, plates and cutlery you need to serve the food on.


Pitch fees


Unfortunately, you can't just rock up somewhere free of charge and start serving the public.


You will have to pay a pitch fee whether it's at a street food market or festival run by a private entity or on the side of the road owned by your local council.


I've written an article recently to give you a rough idea of what food trucks pay to be at events, that you might find useful.


How Much Do Food Trucks Pay To Park At Events?



keeping basic food stall costs under £1600


When starting any new business there is always a risk. Your concept is untested and people don't yet know who you are yet.


It's exactly the same with a food stall business and a very good reason to keep costs low.


Luckily there are a number of things you can do to test your concept and save money.


Buy used food stall equipment


There are many places that you can buy second-hand food stall equipment such as on street food and food truck trader groups on Facebook and on marketplaces such as eBay.


Items such as gazebos, catering tables or any type of food stand items that do have electoral or gas components are good to buy second hand.


For electrical and gas equipment however, you are better off getting them brand new as you will get a warrant, which comes in handy if it breaks down after a few months.



Related article:

Where To Buy Used Food Truck Equipment



Rent instead of buying


Buying a van to transport equipment is the highest cost for a food stall business.


However, van hire companies can cut these costs out completely.


Van hire has become relatively cheap these days and you can hire a van with places like Enterprise or Eupocar for as little as £30 per day.


I've been running my food stall business for nearly 5 years now and I haven't owned a van for the last 2 years.


Final thoughts


The costs in this article to start a food stand is an approximation and will differ depending on what type of food is sold and hence the equipment need to make the product.


However, there are a number of ways of keeping food stall costs under £1600 by buying some equipment second had and hiring transport where you can.


This is probably a wise choice starting out as you want to test your product without spending too much of your hard-earned cash.


But overall food stalls are the most cost-effective way to get started in the street food industry.

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