The Baked Potato first hit the fast-food scene in the early 1980s, after which mobile caterers selling the food type became a staple on the British high street. Companies such as Spudulike subsequently caught on to the mass appeal of the baked spud and opened fixed retail sites up and down the country.
The emergence of baked potato food outlets were initially met with skepticism, though this quickly dissipated in light of their success. Though not 'in vogue,' they remain a firm favourite amongst hungry punters looking for wholesome, versatile, wallet friendly food.
Potatoes remain one of the most readily available sources of food and can be grown, bought and cooked en masse! They are also easy to prepare and can be pre-cooked and simply heated before purchase.
Their mass availability also means that they remain one of the more affordable ventures for mobile caterers. Savings made by traders also stand to benefit the customer - thus hopefully encouraging custom. The fact that several potatoes can be cooked at once not only reduces energy costs
but also ensures that you can easily serve all of your customers in periods of high demand; time is a key consideration for busy workers at lunch times, meaning that this gives baked potato vendors a potential advantage over competitors.
Depending on the equipment you're using, it can take in excess of an hour to get your spuds just right! Whilst doing this ensures that your potatoes are cooked to perfection, it can be difficult to gauge how many potatoes to cook at any one time. In times of high demand, baked potato vendors do not have the luxury of preparing food within minutes, as is the case with other food types such as burgers, nachos etc.
Cook too few and you'll be in danger of having some hungry, disappointed customers who are unlikely to return; cook too many and you end up throwing product (and your money) in the bin - bad for profits and bad for the environment.
Once the go to food type for vegetarians, the baked potato now has more competition than ever. Many caterers and events are now dedicated to vegetarian cuisine - they saw a gap in the market and infiltrated it. Meat production is also a notorious contributor to climate change, meaning that vegetarian vendors are increasingly popular with the sustainable punter.
This isn't all bad for baked potato businesses - the spud is unparalleled in its versatility- though it might be time to get a little more inventive with those fillings!
Providing Caterers with the
Many people are drawn to mobile catering as the result of their passion for food and the desire to be their own boss. There's no doubt that it's a brilliant industry to work in but there is a lot to consider - don't jump in without having given it some real thought. In doubt as to whether its for you? Simply click the link below for further help:
> Is Mobile Catering for you?
Deciding on a price for your food is a huge consideration. Price depends on several things, such as the wholesale price of your product, whether it is locally sourced, etc. Food and drink prices are often exorbitantly higher at shows and events than they are on a roadside; however certain businesses are invariably less suited to a roadside location - whilst the fees which vendors pay to event organisers at shows and events are often factored in to food prices.
The most popular premises for mobile caterers are illustrated below, it is important to consider the cost implications for whichever option you choose. Motorised Vans for example are going to absorb a large chunk of your intitial set up costs, whilst gazebos will likely be a fraction of the price.
If it hasn’t got the CE label, do not buy it. The CE label is a legal requirement for a Gas Safety Certificate - if your equipment doesn't have this label, then you're not operating legally. Always buy your equipment from a reputable source and be extra vigilant if sourcing your equipment from abroad as there are counterfeit CE products on the market. Please refer to the NCASS Equipment website for further information or to purchase quality, CE verified equipment.
Event Organisers will always request to see your Gas Safety certificate - failure to show your certificate will mean you are unable to trade. If you trade at small private functions without approved equipment and a gas safety certificate, you run the risk of getting in to hot water with insurance companies and more importantly, the law.
Where you trade is critical to success - with the most popular and likely profitable options listed below. You can also find more information in our Get Profitable section.
Shows & Events
From village Fetes to week long music Festivals > Read More
Street Food, Farmers Markets, Car Boot Sales > Read More
Lay-by's, Car Parks & Industrial Estates > Read More
Notwithstanding your motivation for entering the mobile catering business, once you declare yourself a 'professional caterer' there are legal guidelines which you must follow as to not put yourself, your business, your staff and your customers at risk. Our Get Legal section is there to help ensure your compliance at all times.
Liability Insurance is a legal requirement for all mobile caterers and will cover you in all eventualities. Take a look at our Insurance section for more information.
Pricing your food is a huge decision and there are several considerations such as the wholesale price of your product, whether it is locally sourced, etc. Food and drink prices are often exorbitantly higher at shows and events than they are on a roadside; however certain businesses are invariably less suited to a roadside location - whilst the fees which vendors pay to event organisers at shows and events are often factored in to food prices.
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Research is critical to success in the mobile catering industry, especially if you've never traded as a caterer before. This site will aide your preliminary research, but for a more in depth look at everything you'll need to operate safely, legally and profitably see The Complete Guide to Profitable Catering. For more information > Click here
Perhaps we're biased, but we think that being an NCASS member is a sure fire way to make sure that you're getting the support which is so critical to success in the field. Being an NCASS member ensures that there's always someone friendly at the end of the phone with a wealth of advice that they're just dying to share!
Determination is the main difference between success and failure in the mobile catering industry. Are you prepared to get up at 5am in the depths of winter to source produce, pre-cook or travel miles to an event? If not, then chances are you're not going to succeed in the mobile catering industry.
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