Fast Food Business: How to Start a Small Street Food Outlet in India

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Street food business in India is a booming one with plenty of lip-smacking street foods sold by hawkers and vendors in a portable stall. If you are considering starting a street food outlet in India, here are some top tips for starting a fast food joint in an Indian city.

Street food refers to snacks and beverages that are sold in portable stalls or carts by hawkers and vendors. Indian street foods are made with a mix of tasty spices that make it one of a kind.

Not only Indians, even foreigners drool over these roadside delights that can tantalise the taste buds and make you crave for more.

How to Start a Small Street Food Outlet in India

  1. Food to Serve When You Wish to Start a Small Fast Food Business in India

So your first concern should be what you would like to serve in your street food outlet.

Start a Small Street Food Outlet in India

  • Consider the kind of food you want to sell in your street food outlet.
  • Decide on the details of handling the food, how to store it, thaw and cook it etc. before you open fast food shop.
  • Focus on local specialities as well as something exciting and novel for the taste buds. The market is very competitive, so it is important to be innovative in food and taste.

Read: 10 High Profit Food Business Ideas with Small Investment

  1. Location for Starting a QSR in India (Quick Service Restaurant)

Where are you going to set up your street food outlet? Finding the right location can make a huge difference to the success of your business.

  • Park in a location that is legally permitted when starting a small food joint in India.
  • Choose a location where your target customers are usually available.
  • Check out the competition at the location while selecting the best places to open a street food outlet.
  • Check out the prime hours of the location.

While selecting locations, opt for places near shopping malls, a tourist location, park, a beach, college campus, bus or railway stations etc. Tip: You can also park your outlet at places where festivals and events are staged!

  1. Restaurant Format (Street Food Outlet)

After deciding on what food you’d like to sell, you have to decide your on your street food business plan.

  • You could opt for a food cart, a kiosk, a trailer or a food truck while considering a quick service restaurant in India.

Start a Small Fast Food Business in India

  • Food trucks are useful, as you can use it in multiple locations and stops. You can also navigate more easily through the city streets. Typically, kiosks are used indoors in mall spaces, hotels and airports, whereas a larger one can also be used in an amusement park.
  • They are also ideal to use in events and temporary locations.
  • Your vehicle choice for your food stall business would depend on the food you are planning to serve, the number of areas of operation and the amount you are planning to invest.

See: How to Start a Spice Processing and Packaging Business in India

  1. Industry Research

In general, the street food industry is a competitive one, so you must do proper research on the most profitable street food business ideas in India, with very low investment.

  • If you are aware of any other street food outlets in the same area, check out what works for them and what fails, so that you can do things differently.
  • Identify niche opportunities, local needs and identify the risk factors.
  • Check out the industry trends in order to see which format, such as kiosks or food trucks, is on the rise and inspect the future market projections and scenario.
  1. Target Customers (Street Food Joint)

This is one of the important questions to answer when creating your marketing strategy.

  • Define the demographics that is likely to be your customer and buy your products. Examine, the gender, the age, the income group to get a clear picture of whom you are marketing to.

Remember: For instance, if you have a noisy atmosphere, don’t expect senior citizens to frequent your place.

Street Food Outlet

  • List out the types of people who will enjoy your street food and see whether these people live within a few miles of the location, so that your street food outlet will be financially viable.
  • Use a medium of marketing communication that your demographic understands.
  • Your target customers is the focus of your market research and analysis. All your decisions will be made based on who you are going to serve. This includes the interiors, the menu, your suppliers and even your location of the outlet.

Example: For instance, if your target customers are corporate employees or businessmen, then your location will be in areas where there are many offices and companies. You will also have to go in for more expensive suppliers, as such customers care more about quality and do not mind paying a little more.

Read: Planning to Open a Restaurant? Here’s How to Hire a Cook for Your Restaurant

  1. Infrastructure and Materials

  • You need to work out the size and the type of equipment that will serve as your street food vehicle.
  • Equipment required for holding fresh water and waste water.
  • Getting your mobile kitchen installed is not very expensive. You can get it installed by local manufacturers or just get a ready made truck. You can also get one built specifically for your needs.
  • Purchasing materials budget for inventory, labor, rent and utilities, storage appliances, freezers, work surfaces, frying pans, tongs ladles, knives etc.

open fast food shop

  1. Marketing Strategies

Quick service restaurants are becoming increasingly popular, so you need to step up your marketing strategies.

  • Venture into both offline and online marketing for your street food outlet. Create a website and have a social media presence.

According to the National Restaurant Association, about 83% adults use their mobile phones for checking out restaurants and menus, location etc. So align your marketing strategy in tune with this factor.

  • Send out flyers and pamphlets to target customers as part of your offline marketing strategy. Target local clients living within 5 kms of your outlet.
  • Integrate with online platforms like Swiggy and Zomato for delivery to doorstep.
  1. License and Certificates Registration

Most locations will need permits and agreements, so check out with the local authorities beforehand.

Tip: check out for registration requirements of street food vendors in India.

  • It is important to get the FSSAI license if you are manufacturing and trading in food connected businesses.
  • Other licenses might include the Eating House License, the NOC from the Municipal Corporation and the RTO, a license from Fire Department for ensuring safety of equipment kept inside the truck.
  • Keep all vehicle papers updated and get a commercial vehicle license from the RTO.
  • You have to also comply with the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, as you are legally responsible for preparing food that is safe and free from contamination.

Check Out: How to Franchise Your Restaurant Business for Growth?

  1. Hygiene Policies (Street Food Business)

Today’s customers want fresh and hygienic food and also quick service. Street food is cheap and tasty and is wildly popular, so it is capable of affecting the health of millions of people. Safety and quality should be the primary goals.

small food joint in india

  • Maintenance of proper health standards by using food grade materials for storage and preparation.
  • Check out the water and cooking system, so that they meet the hygiene and safety standards of the area.
  • Other safety practises, like washing hands before handling food, using gloves and personal hygiene are also important

Remember: By following the safety and hygiene standards, you can operate legally and avoid a fine. You will also help improve public perception about street food business.

  1. Financing/Pricing

If you are starting small, you may not need any external financing.

  • However, you can get financing and get started faster.
  • Use your business plan for loans. Be realistic and practical about the money you might need

Tip: Use local produce to keep costs low.

When deciding on pricing, Indian customers are very price sensitive, so keep the pricing in accordance with the market condition and the competition.

Last Word on Starting a Street Food Outlet

According to the NRAI (National Restaurant Association India), casual dining industry is estimated at around 6000 crores and is expected to grow to 17,000 crores by 2021.

Starting a small street food outlet in India is one of the cheapest ways to enter the food industry, as the risks and investment are comparatively low. The startup costs are low and it is less risky than opening up a full fledged restaurant.

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You can be your own boss and the work is flexible, as you can select when to work and where to work. You don’t need much restaurant experience too.

The biggest advantage is that the street food trend is growing in popularity. If you are passionate about food and have a well researched plan, take a look at the above checklist and start setting up your street food outlet start up!

Here’s to a roaring and successful street food business in India! 👍

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