Organised Events or Private Standing
It’s a fact that people new to the catering van business can be attracted to large events like moths to bright lights. The attraction of huge crowds of hungry passers-by, a constant stream of income and the rewards that this could potentially bring make this one of the first areas of the catering van business that they look at. But sound advice would be to slow down and consider the pros and cons carefully before booking your pitch at that music or craft festival.
When event organisers sell pitches to events they will talk about footfall predominantly, prior to sending your invoice for payment in advance. What they don’t tell you is the fact that, firstly there will be countless other catering vans in competition with you. If the event plans to attract 5,000 visitors, find out the size of your competition, that is, the number of catering vans that will be attending, and divide footfall by this number. This starts to give a realistic estimate of your potential market. Try to establish what the other catering vans will be offering for sale, as this will give you a good feel for your direct competition. Many visitors to large events are happy to impulse buy their food on look and smell (as well as queue size) but others will have a specific fish and chips or kebab in mind, and will look specifically to find what they fancy.
Planning perishable stock for a large event can be a make or break decision. Running out of stock is only ideal on the last hour of the last day of the event but, in many cases its not what you sell, it’s what you don’t sell that dents your profits. Then of course the hugely unpredictable UK weather can have an even more dramatic impact on sales. Hot sunny days and ice cold drinks are always a winner but unseasonable downpours can impact on event footfall significantly. Unfortunately there is not really any planning that can prepare for this.
There are times when a reserved spot in a relatively busy area can bring a steady but reliable source of income, with minimal risk. As people get to know that your catering van will be in attendance week in week out, they will look you up at feeding time. Retail shopping parks and busy car lay-bys can outperform the busiest of large events through a consistent and reliable number of daily and weekly sales. Plus there is far less stress and planning required.
Choose your catering van site carefully. Both of the above options offer opportunities but minimising business risk is also essential.
To get more information on a bespoke Mobile Catering Unit by Pro Fry Ltd, please call: 01778 342915