The days of the greasy fast food truck are quickly disappearing. In their place, we’re starting to see more and more gourmet food stalls that can produce restaurant-quality food with limited space. 

That smaller size means overheads are generally quite low for food stalls, making it the perfect place for chefs to start their own businesses without having to fork out for a full restaurant. 

To help inspire you, this guide will look at 13 popular food stall ideas that you can start right now, including: 

  1. Burgers
  2. Pizzas
  3. Vegan cuisine
  4. Bao buns
  5. Wraps
  6. Tacos
  7. Loaded fries
  8. Ice cream
  9. Crepes and pancakes
  10. Cocktails
  11. Juice and smoothies
  12. Coffee
  13. Bubble tea

1.Burgers

There will always be room for burgers in the food stall marketplace. There is considerable competition when it comes to burgers, but there are so many directions you can take that finding a niche in the market isn’t impossible. 

For example, your stall could specialise in any number of these: 

  • Classic beef burgers. 
  • Chicken burgers.
  • Smash burgers.
  • Sliders.
  • Sloppy joes. 
  • Pulled pork burgers.
  • Veggie burgers.

We wouldn’t recommend trying more than a couple of these options at a time. At the moment, the trend seems to be focusing on a few things that you can do exceptionally well, rather than providing an exhaustive menu. 

2. Pizza

Pizza is a crowd favourite that offers you a lot of flexibility as a food stall. A proper pizza oven is a must. But after that, all you really need is the ingredients for dough and ingredients for toppings. 

That’s where the strength of a pizza stall comes into play. Your base is always the same, so you can switch up your menu with relative ease, giving you plenty of opportunities to get creative and keep offering customers something new. 

3. Vegan cuisine

The term “vegan cuisine” is definitely a broad brush stroke that can cover a whole range of different styles. But seeing as vegan food is still a smaller industry than others, it’s still separated into its own niche.

That’s not to say that it’s not popular. In fact, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled from 2014 to 2019, so it’s a fast-growing market. 

You can make a broad distinction in vegan cuisine between meat alternatives, like soy/veggie burgers, soy chicken, and seitan pulled pork, or you can just focus on normal vegan recipes in any style that you choose. 

4. Bao Buns

Also known as “steamed buns”, bao buns are a Chinese street food that has been growing in popularity in the UK. 

It’s a type of sweet steamed bun, similar to dumplings, filled with different combinations of spiced meat and fragrant veggies. 

5. Wraps

Like pizza, wraps are particularly flexible in terms of what you decide to sell, and you can regularly change it up as you please. 

Grilled chicken or falafel wraps are always a popular healthy option. But you could also other fast food wrap staples, like burritos, quesadillas, chimichungas, taquitos, or enchiladas. 

6. Tacos 

Tacos are the perfect street stall food. They’re small, delicious, and relatively simple to make. And with larger companies like Taco Bell setting up more stores in the UK, there’s a proven market for them among the British public. 

7. Loaded fries

Loaded fries, dirty fries, cheesy chips, or poutine. Whatever you want to call it, it really boils down to putting delicious things on top of chips. And everybody loves chips. 

This upgrade to classic comfort food has wide appeal and offers a lot of opportunity for new ideas and experimentation. 

8. Ice-cream

Although you’ll be limited by the weather, ice-cream carts and stalls are a great summertime business that will always be popular among customers. 

Like some of our other examples, ice cream has seen a lot of changes in terms of what it can offer, meaning you can go in any number of directions, including:

  • Classic ice cream. 
  • Dairy-free ice cream.
  • Gelato.
  • Sorbet.
  • Sundae bars. 

9. Crepes and pancakes

Now that we’re in dessert territory, it’s time to mention another staple of European food stalls; crepes. 

These thin pancakes are made fresh and can be filled with a variety of sweet and savoury combinations, making them a light and delicious crowd favourite. 

Plus, have you ever seen crepes being made? It’s oddly satisfying, and that’s sometimes enough to attract some customers. 

10. Cocktails

Your food stall doesn’t necessarily have to sell food. Pop-up cocktail stalls are a huge draw for festivals and events. Because you’re limited by space, a lot of these businesses focus on one area, like gin or whiskey cocktails, so a little market research is your best bet to find the right niche. 

11. Juice and smoothies

On the healthier side of things, juices and smoothies are a great way for customers to treat themselves while doing something good for their bodies. 

You won’t be limited to drinks either. You can also sell fresh fruit and smoothie bowls at your stall. Smoothie bowls are very thick smoothies in a tub with a range of healthy toppings, so it wouldn’t require any extra ingredients or prep. 

12. Coffee

This part almost needs no explanation. It’s coffee! Loads of people want one at least some of the time, so there’s no doubting its widespread appeal. And with the variety of hot and cold coffees, you can make, it’s a good idea all year round. 

The main difficulty with a coffee stall is the amount of competition you’re facing. A lot of coffee shops offer the same sort of thing, so you’ll need some way to stand out beside well-known industry giants, like Starbucks, Costa, and Caffe Nero. 

13. Bubble Tea

Still, a bit of a novelty in the UK, bubble tea is a Taiwanese phenomenon that keeps growing in popularity. It’s basically a range of flavoured hot and cold teas with tapioca balls (bubbles) mixed in.