Street food trader

Mobile caterer

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Street food traders run their own businesses, serving customers food and drinks from a stall or van.

Salary range: Variable

How to become a street food trader

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You can prepare for this job by doing a food production and cooking intermediate apprenticeship, or a senior production chef advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information


It’s common to get experience working in a cafe, pub, restaurant or hotel kitchen first and then set up your own street food business.

More information


  • you’ll need to register with your local Environmental Health Department before you start trading

Career tips

Experience in catering or customer service will be useful.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in catering from the Hospitality Guild and the Nationwide Caterers Association.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • maths skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

You’ll need a Street Trading Licence unless you operate only at events on private land.

The Nationwide Caterers Association has information about setting up and offers advice about driving licences and regulations for towing catering vehicles.

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • stocking up on food ingredients and drinks
  • driving your mobile unit to a venue and setting up
  • checking the temperature of fridges and food
  • handling raw food safely
  • preparing and cooking food to a high standard
  • serving customers and building up repeat business
  • washing up and keeping your work area clean, tidy and safe
  • keeping track of finances and marketing your business

Working environment

You could work on festival sites, on the streets or on a market stall.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and physically demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move to a busier pitch.

Extra training in cooking and cuisine could help you to improve or widen the range of products you offer.

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