You’ve set up your food stall and your menu is mouth-watering – it’s all go from here, right? Well, maybe not. We joined forces with Andy Waugh of successful The Wild Game Co. to get his best advice for dealing with five common pitfalls.
Can you afford to stop reading?
1. You’re trying to be Superman
Starting up a street food business will require you to be a jack of all trades. There will be many things you have no experience of. So where can you get the expertise that you need?
Andy’s best advice: “Be prepared to work your ass off, but don’t be afraid to ask your friends to give you a hand. Ask them to help you at the market stalls. Reward them with your delicious cooking.”
2. You’re hard to find
Street traders often find it hard to attract the crowds. Well, help them find you. Go social. Post regular updates on your Facebook page, let people know what market you’re at today and attract potential customers via pictures, special offers, news etc. Social media is also a great place to receive feedback on your food, customer service, the concept and so on.
Andy’s best advice: “Make sure you have a good brand and get lots of press!” Well, we should always try, right?
3. You can’t handle your finances
Many new traders happily leap into the unknown with a huge passion for the market, and think that’s enough. Unfortunately, it’s not. Make a business plan and a realistic budget, including all costs associated with setting up your stall, getting the inventory and doing marketing. How long can your business survive? Do you need to get a loan? And don’t neglect your bookkeeping – your business will depend on it.
Andy’s best advice: “If you have no previous experience of accountancy, get help!”
4. You’re disorganised
Your business is much more vulnerable if you don’t have a good database system for storing recipes, contacts and other important information. And that makes it more difficult for new staff to be an asset.
Andy’s best advice: “All your contacts and recipes should go into systems so you know exactly how you’re trading.”
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5. You’re boring
Don’t underestimate the power of making people feel good. Be friendly and outgoing and establish relationships with your customers. You’re selling the whole experience of eating, not just the food. Memorise names, remember their preferences, get to know your customers on a more personal level.
Andy’s best advice: “I put my kilt on and just chatted and made sure I was very open and approachable. How you are as a person makes a huge difference. Lots of traders are grumpy and that’s not good enough. No one wants to buy food from a grumpy person.”
Task of the day:
- Put together a budget for your business. A basic budget plan can be found here.
- Update your social media platforms.
- Put on a smile!