Why Location is Important for Your Mobile Catering Van
When you are running a mobile catering business, there are so many difficult decisions to make that could have huge consequences on your future success. Choosing your cuisine type, your suppliers and your equipment are just a few of the major choices to make. But what could make or break your business could be more down to your choice of location. If you don’t find a hotspot for either regular customers or the less frequent goldmine events, then you are not going to be making enough money.
Choosing your location is probably the biggest decision you can make, of course the great thing about being mobile is that you can move around but if you are applying for permission from a specific council, then you want to be sure it is the right place. Since the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was introduced, there has been a large reduction in the number of roadside mobile catering vans, with people looking at alternatives. With permissions differing between local councils, it is important to pick a spot that you can obviously obtain permission for and also that is going to serve you well for custom.
There are numerous factors that you should consider when choosing your pitch locations in addition to council regulations, such as:
Footfall patterns – You should have a clear idea of when the place is busy and when it is quiet. For example, if you decide to pitch up on a private retail park, what is the typical footfall? Is it a busy weekend but a quiet Monday to Friday? Or if you are within a busy town or city, is lunchtime the peak opportunity for your sales? Before deciding on a pitch location, you should do your research. Does the area attract people all year round, or are there busy months and quieter months e.g. Xmas shopping, concerts, sports events etc. It makes sense to have a calendar of the events taking place nearby if you are close to stadiums, event venues etc. to accurately plan for stock orders and possibly extra staff.
Distance travelling – Ideally, you do not want your pitch to be really far from your home. As well as taking you additional travel time each day, you will be using lots of unnecessary fuel. So try and find the best location that is within a reasonable travel distance when looking at permanent pitch locations. For one-off events like festivals, this will not be as big of a concern.
Demographics of area – You also need to think about the type of customers that your van attracts and the areas/events that they are more likely to be. For example, you wouldn’t want to put a burger van outside an event where most of the attendees will be athletes looking after their bodies. If it is an event that attracts spectators then you will get custom but if you went to a local athletics meeting and pitched up outside, you probably are not going to get a lot of business.
Similarly, if you sell healthy food, juices etc. you might not get a great deal of business pitched up late at night looking for customers leaving pubs and clubs. After a night of drinking, they are more likely to want to buy a burger, pizza, chips etc. So it is really important to match up your products and the type of people that will be walking past (and at different times of the day).
Cost – Your budget is obviously going to play a significant part in your choice of location, so if you do not have the money for a high-pedestrianized area then you need to really think carefully about your location choice.