Across the UK, street food is now a legitimate and profitable alternative to premise catering. Despite starting off as a trendy dining experience, the outdoor ranks of pop-up restaurants, stall, and grills have beat the “fad” label and made their own catering market. With no signs of slowing down, KERB Talks covered the subject “The Future of London Food”, in which experts such as Victoria Stewart, Zan Kaufmann and Simon Mitchell weighed in on the rise, success and future of street food.
Simon Mitchell, a DJ within the catering industry, said he first noticed the street food we see today around 2010. Before this, street food meant burger vans, waffles and not much more. Soon after the financial crisis, gourmet street food, high-quality meals that could be enjoyed without premise overheads, started to appear. At the same time, social media photo sharing services such as Instagram made eating interesting-looking food a lifestyle statement, and this further propelled the demand.
Eating is the new going out
While most restaurant revenues took a dive shortly after the financial crisis, street food cashed in on its accessibility, adaptability, affordability and quality. Those looking to avoid a hefty restaurant bill while out for the evening in the city or on a date could now legitimately head to a hip, new food market instead. Street food is more social. too. Whereas most restaurant conversations stay on the table, shared benches and queues make conversations between strangers more likely.
A Growing Trend
The trend certainly started in London but has since spread all across the UK. Someone looking for catering equipment in Leicester might just as well be starting a new Vegan Curry stand as a cafe. However, there are always winners and losers in every story. The emergence of eating opportunities outside busy city centres brings business into dead areas but takes it away from existing providers. Outdoor drinking also means glassware needs to be organised and washers from suppliers such as https://washtechservices.co.uk/ need to be brought in.
There is also the issue of the huge fall-off in business in the winter months as customers head indoors to escape the cold. If street food wants to survive, at some point, it will need to come inside.