A step to step guide on starting a mobile kitchen service

If you have been seeking an opportunity to enter into the alluring food industry and would like to go directly to your clients instead of waiting for them to come to you, you definitely need to investigate the accessible option of launching a mobile kitchen service.  This service is a viable method for an aspiring entrepreneur to test the market before exploring the option of a long-term food business such as a café or a restaurant. The following steps will help you gain understanding and insight in how to start a mobile kitchen service.

Step one: Determine the type of food you would like to sell in your mobile kitchen service.

A mobile kitchen service is flexible in the menu and a diverse variety of foods can be offered. Examples of this is hotdogs, hand-cut fries, healthy soups, sandwiches and salads. It is also not restricted to savoury treats, but also introduces sweet treats, such as popcorn, brownies and cupcakes. 

An important factor to bear in mind is that a mobile kitchen service has space limitations that can restrict the types of food and beverages that you can produce.

Step two: Investigate the cost of purchasing a mobile kitchen unit.

It is important to set up a budget and seek counsel from a financial consultant before purchasing or renting a unit. Seek expert advice before making any decision regarding purchases.

Step three: Draw up a business plan outlining all the cost and components relating to the business.

This business plan will include market research, marketing methods, risk management, staff and management information, legal implications and regulations, revenue projections and financial aspects pertaining to the business

Step four: Determine the funding of your business.

Funding can be generated from a loan or from private investors willing to contribute. It is important to have a viable business plan available for the bank or the investor.

Step five: Abide by the legal requirements and regulations

It is important to take all the legal factors ad regulations into account when staring a business. Register your mobile kitchen service with the necessary authority/department in your community to obtain your trading license. 

If you are planning to employ staff, it is integral that you apply for an employer’s identification number (EIN) with regards to taxes. This should also be done at the Department of Labour. Contracts with staff should also be drafted and all regulations and rules be tended to within the contract.

Furthermore it is important to contact the relevant health and safety department to secure a street vendor’s license and obtain all the necessary documentation required.


Step six: Purchase or rent your mobile kitchen unit.

Whether you are purchasing a second-hand mobile kitchen service or renting one, it is important to make sure that the unit contains all the basic equipment you will be needing. This includes, but is not limited to a sink, refrigerator, freezer and counter top. Check that all equipment is in working condition and will not pose a health risk.

When you are purchasing a new mobile kitchen, you are able to specify the equipment that will want to be included.  This can be equipment such as a sandwich preparation station, an additional sink, a deep fryer or a griddle.

Be sure to test all equipment beforehand to ensure the safety within the unit.

Step seven: Determine a market for your product.

This step ties in with the market research for your product. You can contact your local authorities to determine where you are allowed to sell the products and do a comprehensive study of viability in the area.

You can also enquire at business centres or parks whether you will be allowed to sell the products on site. Some business centres allows this, but charges a small fee for the use of space.

Step eight:  Draw up a menu

After looking at your business plan and market, it is important to draw up a menu listing the products that you want to sell.

Step nine: Advertise your business

Advertising is very important for an entrepreneur. You can use different platforms to advertise your business. Place advertisements in the local newspapers, distribute flyers and brochures and investigate the possibility of using social media platforms as added advertising medium.

Step ten: Purchase necessary supplies

Purchase stock for the menu as well as added items needed in the mobile kitchen unit.

Step eleven: Introduce and open your mobile kitchen service.

Launch your mobile kitchen service in the area allocated and keep your eye on the market, changes and improvements that you can implement.