The tensions between established cafés and restaurants and ‘street food’ vendors are growing. High street food retailers are battling to survive the pressure of business rates, rent and other overheads, while a growing number of food trucks and pop up vendors are stealing their custom.
So, how can bricks and mortar businesses actually benefit from the nation’s passion for street food? There are two primary ways to approach the issue. Either beat them or join them.
Take the best of street food principles. By this, we don’t mean closing up and buying a mobile food vending unit of your own! Instead, some cafés and independent restaurants have an opportunity to tap into what makes street food so popular.
There is a degree of ‘romance’ to the notion, as you can select delicious and unusual food from quirky vendors. You can also mix and match your eating experience, potentially sampling a range of food genres and skills not normally available in mainstream food retailing.
Convenience is also a factor. Street food is often a ‘grab and go’ menu, designed to be eaten as you move around and go about your day.
This all suggests that established operators need to revisit their menu, business stance and interiors. There is no reason why versatile hospitality bosses can’t introduce elements of this into high street outlets. This can start by avoiding homogenous or ‘sameish’ decors. Mix and match café furniture
in a quirky and truly unique way, with eyecatching colours and lots of contrast.
Also, having an ever-changing menu of eat-in and take out food can keep your physical café fresh and ‘on trend’.
Play up the advantages. Another way to combat loss of ground to pop-ups and food trucks is to really push the benefits of visiting a brick and mortar eatery. Not least, as the weather in the UK makes indoor dining on comfortable restaurant and café furniture
Many hospitality businesses are also adding live music and a host of other add-ons, to get customers back off the streets, and enjoying meals sat on café chairs
Add this to a delicious array of imaginative, seasonal and cross-national dishes - that can be prepared quickly and consumed with ease - and you could be part of the street food revolution, on the high street!