16 | May | 15

Richard Johnson

Street Food Matures?

Back in 2009, when we founded the Awards, street food was a summer distraction. Something you did part-time. A hobby. But not any more. Street food has become a year-round calling, and the most exciting sector of Britain’s food economy. Interest in street food has grown to such an extent that big business now sees a real virtue in allowing traders to do what they do all year round – come rain or come shine. Really.

British Street Food were first approached about bringing street food to Euston back in 2013. Finally, this month, the idea is ready to leave the station. It’s taken all that time to develop a day/night menu for Big Apple Hot Dogs, The Ribman and Beany Green, and now they’re moving into Junction, the first of the new units on the Euston forecourt. It’s a real game changer.

These are street food franchises – where traders make the money. And retain all the rights. In a world where street food is being ripped off left, right and centre (check out this piece we did for the Guardian) the franchise model could be a step in the right direction. As long as traders don’t abandon the streets altogether. After all, they don’t want to become just A N Other Brand.

In Manchester this month, six operators started battling it out for the chance to run a bricks and mortar establishment on the Spinningfields estate in Manchester. Bangers & Bacon and Chaat Cart (both of whom are doing Trinity Kitchen stints for us this summer) are up against Hip Hop Chip Shop (winners in the 2014 British Street Food Awards), Mumma Schnitzel, Wholesome & Raw and Yakumama.

And at Dinerama – the new set-up from the Street Feast team in London – there are six street diners and five street food shacks at a former bullion vaults and armoured truck depot in Shoreditch. The suggestion is that Street Feast will be helping some of their traders crowdfund their next steps – whether it’s to grow their presence on the streets, or settle into more permanent premises. Street food is maturing….