If you are looking for serious and useful advice please check out our post on starting and running a street food business. This post is, at best, silly and unhelpful in that respect, but nonetheless, in the opinion of the author, delightfully readable and entertaining.
Ever asked yourself if you could do street food? Of course you have. Now the Jabberwocky Soliloquy brings you an interactive way to see if you have what it takes to light up the streets metaphorically.
You’re a budding entrepreneur, and due to an unexpected quirk of fate you have come into £5000. Nice. Rather than fritter it away on shiny things like you usually do, you thought now would be the perfect time to make your street food dreams come true.
– Search Ebay for the perfect trailer or van, then scrounge any additional funds from friends? Go to page 24
– Buy a gazebo and all the equipment you need with money to spare? Go to page 2
With your brand spanking new set-up you are ready to get started, and you have already picked the food – rollmops are the next big thing. It’s October, so there doesn’t seem to be much around, but no one ever got anywhere by sitting in their brand new gazebo in the garden pretending.
– Chuck in the full time job and beg, borrow or steal your way onto any market you can find? Go to page 27
– Get on the internet and find some markets while still technically at the full time job? Go to page 3
The full time work seems pretty boring now. You keep wondering what would happen if you dramatically sweep everything off the desk and run cackling for the door. But you have found a few festivals for next year during your extended lunch break. Except they want pictures, and you haven’t traded yet. Gosh darn it.
– Use those snazzy pics you took at home, because that will at least give them an idea? Go to page 12
– Hunt for more festivals, because someone will take you without a picture? Go to page 4
Time stretches away into the distance, and nothing appears to happen. It’s like an ending, but less satisfying. Perhaps if you had done things differently you could have avoided this… but it’s too late now. You get a little bitter, but only when you see other people doing street food. You idly wonder if you should sweep everything off their stall, but it might be really hot, so you don’t.
Who would have thought, you have a festival for next year. They didn’t have anyone doing Scandinavian fish products, or lumpy white desserts and you fit the bill perfectly. There is a montage of your activity over the next few months scored by some rousing 80s achievement music, during which you make no important decisions, and then suddenly there you are, only two days away.
– Focus on getting enough food in so that you could make loads of hard earned money? Go to page 13
– Get your stall looking awesome and bring enough food to make a bit of cash? Go to page 23
Fortune favours the well prepared, and like an industrious hobbit on amphetamines you stand in your little unit and you cook and serve like you have never cooked or served before (you never have, if you remember the plot). This is living! There are high-fives, there are big smiles all round and there is an eye-watering amount of caffeine.
Congratulations! You have survived and now the hard work truly begins. That mountain of washing up? You don’t get a montage for that, sunshine. But you are one of us now; the secret handshake will be emailed through later.
Full of win. And by win, I mean money. In your pockets. The festival were impressed that you didn’t quit and go home, and you are impressed with yourself for eating nothing but pro-plus and cup-a-soups. It wasn’t perfect, but it was fun. You’re not quite sure how 16 hours of standing in a 3x3m space was fun, but somehow it feels… satisfying. Plus there were three people on twitter who tweeted nice things. And you got some follows, perhaps some new leads. You can now put this whole thing behind you and look forward to repeating the whole epic process in three days time. Welcome to street food!
So you have had your first set back. It cost a lot of money and your are feeling resentful towards your largely innocent unit. The universe clearly isn’t planning on guiding your path like that inspirational speaker at the business talk said it would. Not unless your path is closely connected to having your big end up a tree. You hunker down in front of the TV for a few days and watch Countdown a lot.
– Stare resentfully out at the money-sink in your drive for a little longer? Go to page 4
– Tell the universe to take a running jump and start looking for new leads? Go to page 12
You are right there, at an actual festival, and people actually want to buy your food! With money! Not only that, but you keep getting compliments about your unit. There are also lots of people who keep taking pictures of it. You hope that these will later show up on facebook, but to be honest you are so busy selling food you hardly notice. Until you run out.
– Get more food. These people need to eat, you need to pay the mortgage and buy shiny things! Go to page 18
– Accept that you covered costs, that you need sleep and that you are missing Downton. Go to page 27
It’s like having a tiny kitchen right outside your house. You give it a name, you give it a style, you instagram it like there is no tomorrow and you decide to serve tapioca-dogs, which are clearly going to be the next big thing. With your interesting unit you catch the eye of a friend, who knows a friend, who manages to get you onto a market. You reward them with a lifetime supply of tapioca-dogs, which they grudgingly accept. The market draws close, and with only two days to go you realise that Wintlebridge Market is actually 150 miles away!
– Call the organiser and cancel, because there is no way your ancient unit will make it that far? Got to page 4
– Call the AA and make sure you’re covered, then hit the road! Go to page 25
Of course you break down. So there you are, sitting in the rain by the side of the M5 wondering what those little white posts are for. The AA are heading your way, but will have to tow you. You know this because there’s a piece of your engine in a tree nearby. You have an argument with your partner about the posts.
– Get the AA to tow you home? Go to page 19
– Get them to tow you to the event? Got to page 27
It’s been a tough road, but you have reached your first event! Healthy sales too! You always knew your concept would work. You consider framing that special first £5 note of takings, but as that doesn’t even cover the petrol, let alone all the other costs, you resolve to do that with a later note instead. Chatting to other traders also gives you some leads on where to look for more markets and this makes you happy.
Congratulations. You made it! You know that eventually the money will sort itself out. You are well on the way to success, and just need to mug the occasional leprechaun to stay in the black. Well played.