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The Great British Food Festival – it’s a boom for business!

Forget the Great British Bake Off, it seems the UK is also buzzing about the Great British Food Festival too. With a dedicated food festival occurring in almost every town in the UK, and food festivals carrying on throughout practically every month of the year, this is now a big business and a not-to-be-missed opportunity for street vendors. It doesn’t seem that the weather or the chilling of the seasons dampens our enthusiasm for a food festival either… still to come this year are two large-scale events - the Taste of London, from 15-18 November, which takes place in Regents Park and is an alfresco taste of the capital’s top restaurants and Masterchef Live, 29 November to 2 December, in Birmingham with John Torrode and Gregg Wallace – In addition there is also the smaller, quainter or quirkier events. On 18 November, the Clovelly Herring Festival, in the privately-owned village of Clovelly in Devon, showcases herring specialities, with the sound of traditional shanty singers washed down by local beer and cider, while in Padstow from 6-9 December, you can watch Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw at the Padstow Christmas Festival.

Book your place for 2019 food festivals

And if you’ve missed out on the extensive calendar of food festival events this year, don’t be disheartened. It’s time for caterers who want to burst out of the confines of their kitchen with their oriental style cooking, or any food that lends itself to wok cooking, to buy the Street Wok from Cinders Barbecues, and equip themselves with a list of the events they will be attending next year. From the East Anglian Game and Country Faire in Norfolk in November to the British Asparagus Festival in Worcestershire (date TBC), with Cinders you will be guaranteed to cook up a storm.

There’s never been a bigger boom time for street vendors to provide restaurant-quality food at value-for-money prices for eager and discerning customers. Food festivals and street markets, and especially Christmas street markets, are providing huge trading opportunities right across the country.

Do your homework…

But, while you want your food to be red hot, you don’t want to be caught out by red tape. So, here are some hints and tips for getting out there and trading:

  • To sell small items from a trailer/stall in the street, you’ll need a trading licence, however if you are a market trader operating at a license market venue or trading on private land this won’t be necessary
  • To sell food you will need to apply for a food business registration and register your business with the local council at least 28 days before you trade
  • Do your research on which events and locations will work for you. Identify your audience, network with other vendors and think about the most profitable locations for your business to sell from. Think long and hard about your competition
  • Make sure you send in your application to the food festival organisers in good time. The pitching process takes place months before the event start
  • Have exactly what stock you need available at the event. Make sure you’ve thought about this well in advance of the big day but don’t start ordering until your pitch has been accepted

There’s money to be made from food festivals, but don’t be caught out. Make sure you’ve done your research, thought of the pitfalls, and have triple-checked all contracts and legal requirements.

From Leeds to London, vegan banquets to meat-feasts, here’s to food festival success in 2019.

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