3 reasons why street food works

3 reasons why street food works

The UK’s street food industry has grown at a rapid pace in recent years, with an estimated value of£ 1.2bn in 2018!

Gaining popularity from festivals and pop-ups to indoor markets like Mackie Mayor, street food is becoming more popular and more varied. No longer does it invite connotations of a lone burger van; instead it has become a vibrant hub of creativity, fusing cultures together with possibilities and flavours you never expected from your lunch hour.So why is it that street food works so well?


The flexibility of street food and its quick response to trends sets it apart from the rest of the casual dining market. With an ever-changing choice of cuisine, you can choose the traders to best suit your audience, occasion, or theme. From highbrow office worker to on-site builders, holding street food pop-ups can upgrade anyone’s lunch break, and with seasonal changes and annual holidays, food can be tailored to best fit. We’re talking Summertime salads, Winter warmers, and as our very own Bite Street Food collective has shown, there is always a national holiday worth celebrating – think all things American on the 4th July at Exchange Flags, or our cheesy special on National Cheese Day at New Bailey!

Flexibility also allows for more creativity and originality in the street food community, with chefs having almost no limitations on the risks they can take on their menus. This makes for a much more exciting variety of lunch options, with something for everyone! From veggie and vegan crowd pleasers at GRUB’s Plant Powered Sundays, Halal-accessible menus from BON Street Food, to innovative fusion dishes served up by the likes of Arndale Market’s Fusion Lab.


Having street food pop-ups create a community feel at any location. It can enliven recently developed sites, where there is limited or no food and beverage offering.

What was once a lifeless place to work with only a supermarket meal deal obtainable for lunch, can become a thriving colourful place that draws crowds, fills bellies, and creates a connection between people.

It is not only buying lunch; it’s coming together with your neighbours and chatting to the chefs – most of which are local and have stories of their own. Being able to look your cook in the eye and converse with them while you watch them create your meal gives street food an authenticity that restaurants cannot.

These qualities of street food bring out the “foodies” in the community, really giving them something to Instagram. These foodies are the leaders of the social media community and will market a place for you, given the chance.

Long-term legacy

Lastly, the Street Food industry is such a rapidly growing trade because it is so beneficial to all parties involved. It creates business for the food traders, who are usually small-time and start-up businesses working for themselves; for site owners who want to breathe soul into their space; and is an easy way to please the public (food is the way to everyone’s heart after all) without the commitment involved in a permanent food vendor.

In addition to this, there’s legacy and future opportunities for these local start-ups – a one-time appearance at an event could turn into a permanent residence in an empty ground floor unit, or a regular monthly pop-up slot. This in turn brings a new lease of life to a space, which benefits developers, landlords and property managers, workers, residents and street food traders alike.

A win win situation.

By Erin Gregg