This is the second in our guide on setting up a street food stall. You can read part one about getting things off the ground here.
You’ve got your vision for a street food stall, your paperwork is all in order, you have the equipment you’ll need, you’re ready to get to work and enthusiastic as heck… so now, what next?
1. How to get a stall
Apply for a stall! You can submit an application via our webshop here and read about how to fill in the application here. Once we have received your application through the webshop, we’ll process your booking. This can take a while, so please be patient. We’ll then email you with a list of the trading dates you’ve been allocated, as well as which ones you’re on the waiting list for.
We allocate stalls based on a number of factors. We try to keep a careful balance of stall types at all markets, to keep competition healthy for everyone and to offer the customer a strong variety of quality goods.
As a Community Interest Company, we also prioritise traders from the Levenshulme area wherever we can. Other factors which may affect the allocation of stalls include electricity usage and stall size – we only have a limited capacity for power and space.
Above all, we want to bring customers out to Levenshulme, something we do by offering them the best possible variety of unique, quality and wherever possible, handmade or locally sourced goods.
When completing your application, follow this advice to give yourself the best chance of securing as many dates as possible:
- Apply: fill in all requested fields and upload documents where indicated
- Photos: upload good quality, professional images of your products and stall setup if you have them
- Details: be as specific as you can when describing your goods/stall. What makes you unique? We’re more likely to allocate spaces to a stall whose description and images give us a clear idea of what they sell. If you describe your product as ‘hot food’ we won’t know what type of hot food! Giving details of example dishes on your menu means we can find space for you where there’s less likely to be anyone else selling similar food.
- But keep it brief: keep your description of goods concise, appealing and descriptive, limiting it to one snappy sentence. This will be used to on our market stall listings and to promote your stall on social media etc. For example: “Delicious Jiaozi dumplings and other Chinese street food treats”
2. Making a success of your stall
You’ve got a stall at Levenshulme Market. Now all you need to do is show up, sell your products and watch the money roll in, right?
Not quite. That doesn’t happen without our traders’ hard work. First of all, getting your stall looking its best. Preparing a market stall display is something of an art, and everyone does it their own way. If you’re stuck on how to make your products look their best you can:
- Add height: products laid out on a table can look a bit flat. Products which can be seen from across the market will attract more customers.
- Colour: get your stall looking vibrant and creative so people notice!
- Branding: get a banner made and let everyone know your brand name and identity.
- Free samples: depending on the food you sell, you may want to draw customers in with a free taste. An alternative is a display dish – prepare your signature meal and have it on display for hungry passers-by to gaze at.
- Signage: clear signs and labels make customers feel more comfortable approaching and making a purchase. If they’re uncertain about things like what your product is or how much it costs they’re more likely to browse elsewhere.
- Smile: the market traders who make the most income tend to be those who are friendly and approachable. If you don’t have your market patter down yet, don’t worry – a smile and a friendly ‘hello’ or ‘please let me know if I can help you with anything’ will work perfectly. Last but not least – ask other traders for tips and advice on trading! These are your colleagues, not your competitors. At Levenshulme Market, our traders are a really friendly bunch and they’ll be happy to help anyone who is just starting out. Take a look at what everyone else is doing, and ask them where they got their banners or business cards. They can also point you in the direction of suppliers, second-hand equipment, other markets and loads of other helpful information.
3. Promoting your stall
- In person: trading at Levenshulme Market is about earning an income from your products. But it’s also about meeting people! Developing a loyal customer following can come from talking to customers, telling them about your story, your products and your plans. Taking the time to speak with people is an investment which can pay off in the long-term.
- In print: it’s a good idea to prepare some business cards or leaflets with your trading dates and contact details listed. A customer may not buy anything from you today, but they may want to look you up later
- Online: being active online keeps customers aware of you and your products before and after the market and can be crucial in establishing your brand. We have a dedicated guide to social media for new traders which you can find here.