This is the first in our guide on setting up a street food stall.
We’re often contacted by people who are keen to run a street food stall but don’t know where to start. The process of starting out can seem a little intimidating to newcomers: What licences do you need? What are the rules around selling food? Isn’t it very expensive? If you’re enthusiastic to start selling some incredible hot food to the public here at Levenshulme Market, here’s a quick guide to hopefully put your mind at ease.
What licences do I need?
If you’re planning to serve food and/or drink at the market, we need to see a copy of your Food Hygiene Certificate. This should be at least level 2. Courses to obtain these are widely available and start from £10. We tend to recommend NCASS as they’re the most highly accredited organisation offering the Level 2 training.
The other thing we require from all traders – not just those selling food and drink – is evidence of public liability insurance with cover of at least £5m. This is easily obtained and widely available but we tend to recommend Marketline as they specialise in market stall insurance.
There’s no need for any other licences from street food stalls – Levenshulme Market has a market rights licence, trading licence and its own insurance policy which covers the presence and activities of our traders while we’re operating.
What else do I need to do?
The other things to be aware of are a couple of legal requirements which may or may not be relevant depending on what you plan to sell.
Natasha’s Law came into effect last year which requires food businesses to provide full ingredient list labelling on any food pre-packaged for direct sale on the premises in order to raise awareness of any allergens. There’s more info at natashas-law.com but the headline is that if you’re planning to sell any food or drink which is pre-packaged it must have a label on it listing the contents, just like you find in a supermarket.
Labelling isn’t necessary for items of food which are prepared or packaged on the site, but traders still need to have something on their stall which either informs customers of all ingredients or a sign which says something like ‘please ask about ingredients’. Obviously, it’s important that you also know what your products contain!
Those preparing food on the premises are required to have washing facilities at the stall which should include a supply of hot water, towels, bowl, soap and ideally a nailbrush. There’s no running water available at Levenshulme Market, but an insulated flask hot water is fine. If you are using knives or other serving implements you will need separate washing facilities for those, ie. they can’t be be the same as those used for hand washing.
Something which isn’t essential in the same way the above but which we recommend all traders have in place is the ability to take contactless payments. Taking cash is fine, but there’s only a couple of cash machines in Levenshulme, neither of which are particularly reliable, and most customers come to the market expecting to be able to pay by card.
We tend to recommend the iZettle contactless payment point as they’re cheaper than most others, have a decent battery life, link to your phone and, if you have a PayPal account, connects directly. If you buy one here they cost £19 for new customers.
Levenshulme Market provides all its traders with a gazebo and a table. If required, we also supply up to 1200W electricity for £6 and up to 2800W for £12, but you’ll need to have your own equipment for preparing your food.
What you’ll need will very much depend on the type of food you’re planning to prepare. For most traders, this tends to be the biggest investment in terms of cost. However, there are often secondhand items available so we recommend shopping around – in fact, one of the best ways to source cheaper equipment is to chat with existing street food traders who can often point you in the direction of items for sale.
You are responsible for ensuring that any electrical equipment you use on your stall is PAT tested, safe to use and doesn’t exceed your electricity limit. Generators aren’t allowed unless agreed in advance. Gas cooking equipment is permitted (in fact, traders who use gas may find they get more bookings as we don’t have to worry about fitting them into our electricity capacity) but you’ll need to make sure it’s compliant with with Gas Safe Register/Corgi standards.
That’s all fine – now what?
If you’re okay with all of that, what else should you think about?
Getting your stall presentation right can make the difference between success and failure. It’s worth the effort to invest some time and money in things like a decent name, use of social media and the layout of your stall. You can find some more info on these things in our trader information page here.
One last thing
We try to curate each of our markets and ensure no trader is in direct competition with another as this tends to mean everyone goes home with less revenue. From our point of view, a trader who can bring an offering which is distinct from other traders means we can offer them more bookings. So, for example, if a stall offers burgers, pizzas and wraps that would mean a clash with a burger trader, pizza trader and a wrap trader, so we’re less likely to be able to find space for them. However, if we are approached by a trader selling, let’s say, traditional Icelandic cuisine, we’re unlikely to already have a trader already offering something similar, which means there’s a clash is unlikely, which in turn means we can offer more bookings.
You can submit a booking request here. All other info about Levenshulme Market, including stall fees, cancellation policy etc. can be found here. We also recommend all traders familiarise themselves with our terms and conditions for all the details.
National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) – Provide access to training, advice on finding funding, preferential rates on insurance and other services.
Startups UK – Great advice on starting up a business, with specific advice on insurance, rules and regulations around market trading.
If you still have some questions or want to clarify any of the above, we’re a friendly bunch – drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org