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- Written by Jacob Leigh
Gone are the days of sweaty burger and kebab vans! In recent years we have seen street food explode onto the UK’s hospitality scene and evolve in to what is now the forefront of food innovation, showcasing dishes like the classic southern fried chicken to more unexplored cuisines like Filipino and Icelandic. In 2016 a street food chef, Chan Hon Meng was even awarded a Michelin star!
Food halls like KERB and Boxpark have become the new home for street food, revolutionising the way we dine with their comfortable and convivial dining spaces, live music, entertainment and culturally diverse dishes. Recent surveys have shown that up to 80% of consumers are more likely pay more for an immersive dining experience, a trend that has been duplicated across the bar and club scene with venues like Mr Fogg’s society of exploration and ABQ bar in Hackney. To put things into perspective, The UK street food market is now worth an estimated £1.2b and grew faster than the whole fast food market in 2018. And it doesn’t stop there … The market is set to evolve even further with the arrival of Eataly, the largest Italian food chain who are set to operate a £250m “foodie theme park” in 2020.
It’s safe to say that food and market hall operators are reaping the benefits of rapid expansion however, there can be some risks and disadvantages. The transition from a small sized company into a medium sized one can be tricky, both operationally and financially forcing the company to seek out external investment.
With some investors demanding up to five new openings a year! Getting new venues open becomes the company’s prime focus and it could lose sight of its core values and its raison d’etre – basically everything that made the company great in the first place. Chief execs often do not survive the transition phase of a company’s expansion. A lack of training can also be a risk to rapid expansion, it’s obviously easier to train a team of 20 people than 220.This often leads to a high staff turnover and eventually a dip in overall quality as well as a lack in employees’ motivation.
Is street food a passing trend of could it eventually replace fast food? With consumers taking more and more interest into healthy eating this could start to guide them away from the fast food giants and towards a healthier (or a least what appears to be) option.
“Wrap” up: With consumers demanding a more innovative, immersive and healthy way to dine the future is looking bright for markets halls and street food. Please see below a list of venues and new openings to absolutely check out
Market halls to check out!
· Kerb Seven dials (September)
· Pergola Olympia Kensington
· Box bark Croydon Croydon
· Market Halls Fulham Fulham
· Dinerama Shoreditch
· W12 Studios White City
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