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Creating jobs, Supporting Start-ups, Revitalising the cityscape

What is the street food alliance?

It’s an alliance of street food traders, organisers, stakeholders and local council departments, set up with EU funding to develop, promote and support the street food industry in Birmingham and the West Midlands. We aim to use our experiences to develop a toolkit to be published for free online.

Why has it been created?

UK street food has undergone spectacular growth over the last few years; from a handful of businesses in 2010 to around 3,000 businesses in 2016. However, there are simply not enough opportunities for these businesses to trade legally and that’s limiting their potential to grow and flourish. As the trade association for the street food industry NCASS is aware of just how difficult it can be for new start-up businesses to find opportunities to trade.


Do you dream of running your own street food business?

The West Midland's street food alliance is looking for talented chefs and cooks who want to get started in street food. We are running a competition to find the most interesting and talented street chefs in the region. Successful applicants will receive additional business support, access to the investors, work experience with successful traders and more...

To find out more about the competitions select the appropriate image below:

Competition for street food traders to go from a pop-up-to-permanent restaurant, with access to investors, business support and the opportunity to try your concept.

Competition for street food start ups to win business support, access to investors, work experience and the chance to try their concept at the award winning Digbeth Dining Club.

What does Street Food Alliance hope
to achieve?

We have ten major objectives:

To develop a thriving street food
industry within Birmingham over the
next two to three years, capable of
supporting up to 150 street food
businesses, including 100 new startups
which will be developed and
supported over the period.

• To assist up to 30 current local street
food businesses to make the leap
from street food into bricks and mortar
establishments in Birmingham within
the next three years.

• To add to and support the cultural
capital, boost tourism and encourage
inward investment to the city with a successful and vibrant street food.

• To work with the council to redevelop and
regenerate areas and spaces within the city on
a temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent basis.

• To support a vibrant night time
economy within the city, reducing antisocial
behaviour and ‘reclaiming public
spaces’ for the community.

• To support existing retail and business
activities, increasing footfall and dwell time
in the city centre and town centres within the
city’s suburbs.

• To rejuvenate, re-energise and disrupt the food offering in the city.

• To increase council revenue while creating
jobs and supporting entrepreneurship and
innovation in street trading and at markets.

• To foster a greater culture of eating out within
the city by creating fun, safe, healthy and
vibrant street food alternatives.

• To put Birmingham at the heart of the fast
developing European street food industry.

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Latest News

Caterers challenged to revamp trolley into fully functional street food business

by Sophie Haigh | Jul 24, 2019

Mobile caterers with a keen eye for innovation have been set a challenge; to create the smallest street food vehicle based on the design of a shopping trolley.

Dubbed ‘The Street Food Trolley Challenge,’ the concept is the brainchild of Dolly, the UK’s smallest, most versatile food truck, whose owner launched the exciting competition to get people to ‘use every corner of your imagination.’ The challenge has been described as a mix between MasterChef and Scraphead Challenge.

The competition officially launched on 17th July, with competitors invited to register at In round one of the challenge, competitors will create their chosen design using the plans of the trolley and must take into account the fact that the four wheeled ‘vehicle’ should be able to function as a street food operator – serving up any kind of food or drink. Food hygiene is also a major consideration when designing the trolley vendor.

A group of judges will then pick their favourite designs to go forward to round two, where each competitor will receive a refurbished trolley to develop and run as a street food operation at an exclusive street food event in London in September. Round three will then see the winner being selected and rewarded with a trip to Sweden to attend the European Street Food Awards, as well as £500 in cash.

Dolly's Creative Director, Andrew Mellon, said: “There are three things Dolly is particularly obsessed with. Fantastic food – that always comes first; recycling and refurbishment – she’s a great example of this herself; and trolleys! She has a pair of retro Monarch Airline trolleys that are perfect for so many uses, especially holding her gin. So this competition is something very close to her heart.”

Dolly, a 1986 Dolly model 2CV, was transformed into a state-of-the-art food truck and concept bar in 2018 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 2CV. She now operates as a fully functional, retractable kitchen, incorporating a series of exchangeable units for serving up food and drink, as well as the option to take her doors and wings off to allow her to slip through a double door. She has made appearances at the British Street Food Awards, the Portsmouth Seafood Festival, London Food Tech Week and most recently, served 100 VIPs at L’Etape Tour de France.

Anyone residing in the UK is eligible to participate but must register and complete the first challenge by 6th August. Each trolley will be judged on the following: 

  • Quality and creativity of food
  • Trolley appearance
  • Branding and style
  • Overall idea
  • How well everything works
  • Service Cleanliness and food hygiene
  • Eco-friendliness

If you fancy a challenge and the opportunity to serve up your own menu at the exclusive foodie event in London, click here to register. Good luck!

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