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18 things you should know before becoming a market trader in the UK

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Fancy setting up as a market trader? Be prepared by following our top tips and making sure you have the right insurance cover in place.

Starting up a street food stall at a market is the perfect way to break into the UK’s exciting catering industry. But before you invest your hard-earned cash, take a read through these 18 things you should know before becoming a market trader.

With over 20 years experience in the catering insurance market, the knowledgeable team at Mobilers is always available to answer any questions you may have about public liability insurance for market traders.

Give us a call today, and get your street food business off to the very best start.

18 things you should know before becoming a market trader

  1. Know your target market

It's essential to understand who your target customers are and what types of food and drink will get them flocking to your stall. For example, if you plan to set up a stall in a busy business district, you may want to focus on grab-and-go options like sandwiches, soups or salads that appeal to office workers with limited time for lunch.

On the other hand, if you plan to set up at a weekend farmers' market, you may want to focus on locally sourced and organic options that appeal to families with a bit more time on their hands.

Be aware your target market will probably include people with a variety of different cultural and dietary restrictions, such as halal, Kosher, gluten-free, and vegan. So, it's important to be aware of these requirements and offer options that cater to these needs.

If you're not tied to one particular area and don't mind travelling a bit further a-field, it could be worth taking a look at some of the best cities in the UK to set up your mobile catering business for a long weekend or few weeks at a time!

  1. Understand the regulations and permits required to run a food market stall

Running a food market stall requires you to follow a variety of food safety, health, and business regulations. If you want to stay on the right side of the authorities, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with these regulations and obtain the necessary licences, certificates and permits before starting your business.

  1. Have a solid business plan and budget in place

Starting a food market stall requires a significant investment of time, money and effort. You must have a solid business plan and budget in place that outlines your projected costs, revenue, and profit margins. Still don't know what food products to sell? Get some ideas by checking out our guides on how to start a mobile pizza business and how to start a mobile coffee business.

  1. Invest in high-quality equipment and supplies

In order to produce consistently high-quality food products, you'll need to invest in good quality equipment and supplies. This may include items like commercial kitchen equipment, food storage containers, and packaging materials.

To get started, take a look at what catering equipment supplier Nisbets has to offer.

  1. Build a strong brand and marketing strategy

Your brand and marketing strategy are crucial to the success of your food market stall. Work on developing a strong brand identity, creating a website or social media presence, and using targeted advertising to reach your intended customers.

Mobilers has lots of great top tips to make your food stall stand out on our blog. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the food stall business for many years, there’s bound to be something worth trying out.

But remember customer loyalty and building a positive reputation depends on delivering great food every time.

  1. Develop a reliable and efficient system for food storage, preparation and service

Maintaining food safety and hygiene while still keeping up with customer demand during busy periods is the hallmark of a well-run street food business. There’s lots of information available on this from the Food Standards Agency.

  1. Know the food safety regulations inside and out

Food safety has to be your number one concern when running a food market stall. It's essential to understand and comply with food safety regulations and ensure all food is handled and prepared safely.

From food storage temperatures and potential allergens to correct handwashing and colour-coded cleaning, there’s plenty of training available to support food business owners.

  1. Have a good understanding of pricing and profit margins

Getting the price right is crucial to the success of your food market stall. It's essential to have a good grasp of your stock costs, revenue, and profit margins in order to price your products competitively and still turn a profit.

Throwing away good food is not only bad for the environment but it’s also bound to bite into your bottom line. Follow Mobilers’ 20 tips to stop food waste and do your bit now.

  1. Get a great deal on stock by building relationships with suppliers

Getting to know your suppliers can help you get the best prices for ingredients. This is bound to improve your profit margins and business success. Remember to try and stay eco-friendly with your business suppliers.

  1. Be prepared for cash and card payments

No matter how delicious your food is, if you can’t take payment from a customer then they’ll go elsewhere. Whether a card reader or a simple cash box, the ability to handle both cash and card payments is important.

  1. Stand out from the competition

The street food business is a very competitive market, so you’ll need to put in hours of research to help you understand the market and identify ways to differentiate your offering.

For example, if Asian street food is something that you’re passionate about then take a look at the best Asian street food in London and learn from them.

  1. Expect the unexpected

Unpredictability is part and parcel of running a food market stall. From broken generators to bad weather, it's essential to have a plan in place for dealing with unexpected events.

And as you can see from our article on summer challenges for market traders, difficulties can come at any time of year!

  1. Get your insurance sorted straight away

Before doing anything, you’ll want to speak to a specialist company such as Mobilers to work out your insurance needs.

Arranging cover like public liability insurance for market traders is straightforward when you deal with our experienced team.

  1. Join a trade organisation

Joining a trade organisation like the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) is a great idea, particularly when you’re just starting out. By becoming a member of the NMFT you’ll receive access to lots of general, legal and financial advice.

  1. Search for the right location

Location is key to a successful launch of your street food business. Consult the NMFT database of UK markets to find one near you.

  1. Working long and irregular hours is to be expected

Running a food market stall can be very rewarding but also demanding. Getting a street food business up and running will require a strong work ethic.

  1. Offer great customer service

Providing good customer service is crucial to the success of your food market stall. And always be prepared to handle customer complaints and feedback, but find our guide sharing 22 top tips to make your food stall stand out. Public liability insurance for market traders can help cover legal costs if things get serious.

  1. Stay safe

Unfortunately, market traders can be at risk in a variety of different ways including disorder, intimidation and abuse, physical assault and theft. To stay safe while running a food market stall read through this helpful guidance from the Health and Safety Executive.

Find public liability insurance for market traders at Mobilers

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Think market trading is for you? Then you need to protect your business with the right insurance. Mobilers can offer a range of policy benefits, including instant cover, 12-month policies, and instant documentation.

With flexible payment options and exclusive products and schemes not available elsewhere, it pays to come to the specialists.

Protect your mobile catering business through us and get a quote for public liability insurance for market traders in minutes.

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