9 Steps to Run a Food Stand at a Festival

9 Steps to Run a Food Stand at a Festival

Last Updated on September 25, 2023

Running a food stand at a festival can be an exciting opportunity to showcase your culinary skills, connect with customers, and make some extra income. But it can also be challenging, especially if you’re new to the game. In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to run a food stand and ensure that it’s a success.

From flavour-packed burritos to loaded fries, chances are, you’ve bought food from a street food stall before. Whether it’s recreated at home or bought from a stall, takeaway street food has been taking the UK by storm over the past decade.

Dedicated food stall venues have been popping up all over the country – and they’ve become a staple at festivals too, generating huge profits from large footfall. Want to set up your own food stall to make the most of the festival season?

Here are some great tips to run a food stands at a festival

1. Research the Festival

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Before you start planning your food stand, it’s important to research the festival. Learn about the target audience, the type of food that’s popular, and the festival’s history. This information will help you tailor your menu to the festival attendees and ensure that your food stand stands out from the crowd.

As with any business venture, you’ll need to plan thoroughly beforehand. On top of creating a financial plan that considers any costs involved, make sure you look into current trends and get to know your target audience. Are there any dietary requirements or viral food concepts to tap into?

2. Food vendor permit and licensing

Unsurprisingly, food safety and hygiene are paramount. You’ll need to comply with regulations and safety procedures so that you are licensed before approaching event organizers. Licenses include food hygiene certificates, street trading licenses, as well as gas and electrical safety certificates. Remember to ensure any temporary staff are trained to the standard required.

3. Plan Your Menu

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to plan your menu. Keep in mind that festival-goers are often looking for quick, convenient, and tasty food options. Focus on foods that are easy to eat on-the-go, such as handheld items like sandwiches, burgers, tacos, or skewers. Consider offering a variety of options that cater to different dietary restrictions, like vegan, gluten-free, or low-carb options. And don’t forget to price your items competitively.

4. Source Quality Ingredients

Using fresh and high-quality ingredients can make a huge difference in the taste and quality of your food. Consider sourcing your ingredients from local farmers or food vendors, which can add a unique touch to your menu and help you stand out from other food stands.

5. Set Up Your Stand

When it comes to setting up your food stand, make sure to consider the logistics. You’ll need to bring all the necessary equipment, like a grill, stove, or food warmer, as well as tables, chairs, and signage. It’s also important to make your stand visually appealing and inviting, with clear branding and an eye-catching design that attracts festival-goers.

6. Manage Your Inventory

Managing your inventory is crucial to ensuring that you have enough food to sell, without overstocking and risking spoilage or waste. Keep track of your sales and adjust your inventory accordingly, while keeping in mind the length of the festival and the expected foot traffic. It’s also important to have a contingency plan in case you run out of certain items, like offering a substitute or quickly restocking.

7. Prepare your equipment


Make note of where you can store food, whether this is in pans or containers that can be stowed away. Some items might need to be kept cool, in which case refrigerators or transportable coolers might be needed to maintain safe hygiene standards.

Cooking supplies

Make sure you have the right cooking equipment installed, such as a stove, oven or grill. Other equipment might include a rice cooker if you’re serving curries or a fryer if you’re whipping up delicious fries. You’ll need the right fuel for these devices and it may be worth investing in a generator.

Health and safety

Having the correct health and safety equipment in your stall is essential. Fire safety equipment like fire extinguishers and a blanket should be onsite. You should also have equipment that keeps you cool enough on hot summer days, which can be exacerbated by the confined kitchen space. It’s worth investing in a portable fan from suppliers like RS and making sure your team knows how to spot signs of illness triggered by the heat.

Catering tables

If you have the capacity to do so, you could get catering tables to give customers a comfortable spot to enjoy their food. This may even encourage repeat business if they decide to pop back to the stall and buy additional food or drink.


Any branding equipment like signs or posters will help spread brand awareness. This will help with business on the day, with word-of-mouth helping people locate your stall, as well as outside of the event if you clearly label any social media pages or websites.

8. Hire a Great Team

If you’re planning on running a larger food stand, consider hiring a team to help you out. Look for individuals with experience in the food industry, who can work well under pressure and are great with customers. Make sure to train your team members thoroughly, and provide clear instructions on your menu and operations.

9. Promote Your Food Stand

Promoting your food stand is key to attracting customers and generating sales. Use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to showcase your menu and create buzz around your stand. You can also offer discounts or free samples to encourage people to try your food and spread the word.

In conclusion, running a food stand at a festival can be a lucrative and enjoyable experience, but it requires careful planning, execution, and promotion. By researching the festival, planning your menu, sourcing quality ingredients, setting up your stand, managing your inventory, hiring a great team, and promoting your food stand, you can ensure that your stand stands out and draws in crowds of hungry festival-goers.

You may also like:

Food festival planning checklist, UK Edition
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4 Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Food Truck
8 Ideas for New Food Trucks and Food Trailers Businesses

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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