Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Hawker Stall Business in the United Kingdom

Starting a Hawker Stall Business in the United Kingdom

With the British food industry growing by 20% each year, it comes as no surprise that more investors are flocking to the sector. The good thing is that the market does have opportunities for everyone, and for those looking to make smaller investments for good returns, starting a hawker stall business in the United Kingdom can be a great idea.


What is a Hawker Stall Business?

A hawker stall is a travelling street vendor. Hawker stall businesses can sell many things, but they are primarily known for cooking and selling affordable food products in the street. The business requires fewer investments but still has to adhere to the guidelines of food quality and safety.


The Trends to Know Before starting a Hawker Stall Business in the United Kingdom

You can make excellent profits if you understand the trends and plan your business accordingly. Here are some of the most essential hawker stall business trends that can be highly expensive in the United Kingdom:

Vegan Street Food

Vegan street food is one of the best niches to explore when starting a hawker business. These days, many people have been adopting the vegan lifestyle, which is against the use of any kind of meat or dairy. If you have adequate knowledge and can show a little bit of creativity with plant-based ingredients, selling vegan street food can be very profitable.

Food Trucks

An important benefit of the street food business is that you can move your stall. What better way to do it than in an actual food truck? The vehicle is large- you can use the transportation not to only move around with your food, but also to cook them. Take it up a notch, and you can also decide to live in the truck.

Music and Sports Festivals

The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped social gatherings. But luckily, the world is opening slowly. And even luckier for street food vendors, the United Kingdom is known to have a lot of music and sports festivals and other entertainment shows. Getting known for concert and matchday snacks and food gives you a lot of favour, mostly pertaining to you having huge crowds of customers when such programs happen.

Biodegradable Packaging

People are becoming more sensible about their environment. Thus, you are bound to get a plus point from your customers and talkers if you use biodegradable packaging. Try to avoid plastics and other artificial wastes as much as possible in your street hawker store. Furthermore, the United Kingdom government puts a strong emphasis on hygiene, so cleanliness is also going to be necessary.

Internet Marketing

One of the challenges for hawker stores is the use of the internet. Not everyone is particularly a master in social media and other forms of promotion. However, if you are to start a business, knowledge about some form of digital marketing is going to be highly beneficial. You will be surprised to know how many hawker store businesses in the United Kingdom have been the best sellers because of five-star ratings on popular business listing websites.


Steps for Starting a Hawker Stall Business in the United Kingdom

Now that you have learnt the trends and some tips for a successful street food centre, we will discuss the process of starting a hawker stall business.

You have to register your food business in the United Kingdom. Remember, registration is compulsory, and if you don’t, you may have to pay fines or go to prison for up to two years. Registration will help the authorities to check if you are preparing food according to hygiene.

Here is the process of United Kingdom company registration in brief.

Choose a Name

The first step is to choose a catchy name that hasn’t been used before. You can’t use an offensive or a sensitive name for your hawker stall business. Also, make sure that the name hasn’t been trademarked already.

Choose a Company Type

Since a hawker stall business is a small business, you can either register a sole proprietorship or a partnership. A sole proprietorship is a company that has a single owner (beneficiary), while a partnership can have multiple beneficiaries. Some people can also opt to register a private limited company.

Register Your Company

You can either register your company yourself or hire a registration service provider. Registering with professional help is better as it will become easier for you. They will also help you get the licences that you will need to run your street food business. For more information, click here: United Kingdom company incorporation services.


Licences You Will Need

Based on your business activities, you will need certain licences before starting a hawker stall business in the United Kingdom. Now, the permits you need really depend on the nature of your job, and the operations you want to run with your business.

We still recommend you contact a corporate service provider to know about the licences, as missing out on one can impose serious risks on the operations of the company. Having said that, here are some licences you may need:

England and Wales

  • An environmental permit or an exemption if you want to discharge liquid waste to inland freshwaters, estuaries or coastal waters. May be useful if you serve fish or other similar food.
  • Food Business Registration for any type of ‘food operations’ in a food business.
  • Premises licence for carrying out ‘licensable activities’ at a particular venue.
  • A Temporary Event Notice for carrying out a ‘licensable activity’ on unlicenced premises.
  • Notification of Marketing of Food for particular nutritional uses.
  • Food Premises Approval if you want to sell or handle meat, fish, egg or dairy products.
  • Street Trading licence for trading in the street.
  • Pavement licence to display advertisement on pavement or street.
  • Child Work Permit if you want kids from your family to work with you.
  • Personal licence to sell alcohol.
  • Pedlar’s Certificate will allow you to trade while on foot.


  • Permission to Place Tables and Chairs in the Road.
  • Permission to Use Street or Pavement Space for displays advertisements and banners.
  • Food Business Registration for carrying out ‘food operations.’
  • Premises licence for carrying out ‘licensable activities’ at a particular premise.
  • Street Trader’s licence to operate as a street trader in Scotland.
  • An Occasional licence if you want to sell alcohol from unlicenced premises.
  • Extended Hours Application to get late hours catering licence for selling food or drinks between 11 pm and 5 am.
  • Pedlar’s certificate (All United Kingdom)
  • Personal licence to sell alcohol from licenced premises.
  • You will also need food premises approval to handle meat, fish, egg or dairy products.
  • Just like in England, you need a peddler’s certificate to trade something on foot.

Northern Ireland

  • Food business registration for carrying out ‘food operations’ in a food business.
  • A Fish dealer’s licence to sell salmon, trout, eels, pike or pollen from a vehicle or premises.
  • A Street Trading Licence for trading in the street in Northern Ireland.
  • Licence to sell alcohol.
  • Food premises approval for sites that handle meat, fish, egg or dairy products.
  • Pedlar’s certificate (All United Kingdom)


Hygiene Requirements for Starting a Hawker Stall Business

The United Kingdom government is very strict regarding health and hygiene. Thus, it is no surprise that hawker centres have to adhere to many strict hygiene requirements. These are the things you will need once opening your hawker centre.

  • If you employ anyone, you must have valid Employer Liability Insurance. This is essential even if you are employing a family member and you need to display the certificate in the place of work.
  • You need a documented Food Safety Management System. The system is based on the principles of Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP).
  • Everyone coming into contact with food must have hygiene training. There are three levels of training depending on the job:
    • Level 1 Food Hygiene Training: for staff who do not have direct contact with open food.
    • The Level 2 Food Hygiene Training: for staff handling open food.
    • Level 3 Food Hygiene: Training for higher-level staff like managers, supervisors, and business owners.
  • The business owner must conduct regular health & safety risk assessments.
  • If you have five or more employees, you must create a Health & Safety Policy Document.
  • You need a Fire Risk Assessment if you hire more than five employees.
  • Every food business must have separate hand and pot washing facilities. Furthermore, every catering facility must have a hygienic hand washing facility.

In the United Kingdom, the Foods Standard Agency (FSA) is highly active. You will also need permission from the Environment Health Office. The United Kingdom has stringent hygiene rules for any kind of food businesses. Thus, it is of utmost importance that you only serve the best quality food. At the same time, there are certain gas safety requirements, and there will be regular inspections of your site.

The above was how you can start a hawker stall business in the United Kingdom. You can contact us if you still have questions, or require professional help for setting up your business.

Starting a Hawker Stall Business in the United Kingdom