Street food. Why caterers are adapting their offering

By Charles Manners FIH, FCSI, Director, Turpin Smale Catering & Conference Consultants

The street food revolution is well documented, what is more interesting is how established caterers are adapting their offers in both office and educational catering.

It is worth asking firstly why street food is so successful, yes the price is competitive but the concept appeals to those of us who have limited time and may want to eat on the go. But part of the attraction and trend is undoubtedly the informality and non-corporate environment that the traders operate.

On the whole the provenance and quality of the food is excellent, bringing flavours and foods from around the world (including Brazilian, Peruvian and Vietnamese) and it is this single focus on one main product which is where the traders derive their success. There is always a temptation for caterers in meeting extensive customer demands to over complicate and lose focus on their menus.

Theatre cooking has long been established on server counters, the street food products are ideal for such an operation, and have allowed these areas to be fully utilised.

Many university catering teams are using the street food operational principles (single focus) to not only experiment but to take advantage of both regular and special footfall opportunities e.g. open days. They are also directly using the experience to change the daily offers on the food counters transferring many of the street food attributes. The food manufacturers have also been quick to adapt their offering, from chicken products, curries and wraps specifically designed for outside and inside, supported by strong informal brands.

The great advantage of trialling street food is that the costs and risks are low, it is the opportunity to unleash your team’s creativity, and allow a sense of humour and generate additional sales! 

If you’re in London and want to see one of the best street food operations then it is worth looking at where the traders and locations are all listed.


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