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Starting a New Catering Business

Starting a new business can be an exciting time and there is a lot to do during the start up period. At Excel Trailers many of us have worked in the mobile catering business and therefore we understand first hand what it involves and we use this information when we can to help with the design of your catering trailer or catering van.

No doubt you have already thought about the type of food you want to sell and the types of places you wish to trade from. Below is a short guide to some of the factors you will also need to consider.

Environmental Health

You need to register your business with your Local Authority or with the Authority of the area you will be trading in, at the time of writing, this is a simple process and they can also offer you help and advice about what their expectations from you will be.

Food Hygiene Certificate

You will need to pass this course, it is also recommended that other food handlers in your business receive food hygiene training.


You must have Public Liability Insurance in place and Employer’s Liability insurance if you employ people. Insurers normally sell these as a package with Product Liability insurance too.

Health and Safety

If you have gas equipment in your catering trailer or catering van, you will get a Gas Safe certificate and many event organisers will ask to see this, along with your risk assessment, method statement, HACCPs etc, but don’t worry organisations such as NCASS can help you to develop these.

Applying for Pitches

Every place has their own method of applying for a pitch, so the best way is to approach the places you are interested in. If you are looking to do festivals and events etc., you need to apply early as sometimes places can be booked a year in advance. Ensure you have all of your documents ready, as organisers will want to see them.

Should I trade from a catering van or a catering trailer?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, it depends on what is right for your business. However, if you think about the following it may help to make a decision:

What sort of events will I be trading at?
Will I be selling a lot of food in a short space of time or a steady amount during the day?
How much space will I have?
How often will I have to move my catering unit?
Will I be covering short or long distances?
Do I need to carry a lot of stock?
How many people will be working with me?
What type of catering equipment do I need?
Will I be selling hot drinks in addition to food?
Do I need space to expand as my business grows?

If you still have questions or would like to have a discussion feel free to contact us.


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