HOW TO START A STREET FOOD BUSINESS
Opening a Street Food Business
- Street food, a varied world
- Where do street food businesses serve and sell?
- How much does it cost to open a street food business in Italy?
- The rules governing the sale of street food in Italy
- The necessary requirements to start a street food sales activity
- The procedures to start selling street food
- Other useful tips
In recent years, entrepreneurs have become more and more frequent in the street food business. The trend can easily be found on the streets of every Italian city, big or small.
Also, in every corner of Italy and the world, there are festivals and street food events.
There is any kind of street food, especially in a country with a great culinary and gastronomic tradition like Italy. Each territory, in fact, has its own dishes (just an example linked to the pizza/focaccia, think about the Pugliese puccia and the Roman pinsa). Besides, the most famous street foods are the fried ones and the various types of sandwiches (from the one with the roast pork to the fish burgers). Also, there are kiosks selling ice creams or coffee, or those that make cocktails or crepes. So, you can really find everything, but the important thing is that they can be eaten on the street, perhaps wrapped in paper or packaging specifically designed to be carried around.
If there are many types of street foods, there are also many sales methods. Street food can be sold either in food trucks, i.e., vans equipped for cooking, storage and sale of products, or in kiosks or small places facing the street. As for the fixed or itinerant stalls (i.e., the food truck), the regulations are similar, since both are part of the itinerant trade.
You will face similar costs to start a kiosk or a food truck. It is always at least 20,000 euros. Naturally, the prices are lower if you open a fixed stall in a place where there is an existing store. Otherwise, all newly opened places must be activated, starting with the SCIA (Certified Declaration of Business Start up).
Returning to costs, some companies deal with creating ad hoc food trucks, complete with logos and all the necessary services (refrigeration area, hob, etc.). In short, these are real authorized distributors. Stickers and logos are essential to identify your business and be recognizable by customers.
The sale of street food is regulated by that on the itinerant trade, i.e., by Legislative Decree n. 114 of March 31, 1998 (articles 27-30) and regional laws. The decree is on “retail trade on a public area.”
This activity can be carried out by individuals (with a facilitated or lump-sum according to age and needs VAT number) or by a partnership (SAS or SNC). Furthermore, each Region and Province has adopted its own implementing law.
The first step, therefore, is to obtain a license, which can be of two types:
- Type A authorization (itinerant trade with fixed parking): it is granted by the competent Municipality to those who request a place for a specific market or fair day. The Region, every 6 months, publishes on the BUR a list with free parking spaces, divided by the municipality. Once the list is published, those who intend to do so can request a place within 30 days from the publication. Some regions allow those who possess this type of authorization also to have that of traveling trade
- Type B authorization (itinerant traveling trade): always issued by the Municipality, allows the exercise throughout the national territory, always in itinerant form. This is in markets and fairs that hold vacant or unassigned positions. They are automatic concessions in the presence of the required requisites. Above all, the authorization is free. For information, however, it is necessary to contact the Municipality of residence.
There are no specific requirements to carry out a “non-food” business, whereas to work in the food sector one must have at least one of these requirements:
- certificate of registration in the REC (Italian Trade Register) for traders of foodstuffs
- having attended a professional course for the administration of food and beverages, established or recognized by the Region
- have been a holder, partner, qualified employee or collaborator in an activity for at least 2 years in the last 5 years
- being at least a graduate or, better, a graduate with relevant academic qualifications
On the other hand, as regards food trucks or kiosks set up for the sale of food products, these must comply with the requirements of a specific ministerial order which establishes the sanitary conditions. The vehicle must then be registered like any other vehicle but with special shop use.
An administrative authorization must be requested from the Municipality to start selling street food, proving that it has the moral/personal requisites (Article 71, paragraphs 1 and 5 of the “Requisiti di accesso e di esercizio delle attività commerciali” – Requirements for starting and exercising commercial activities). Furthermore, one must have the above professional ones. Then, after obtaining the administrative authorization, it is requested to open the VAT number and open a position to INAIL and INPS.
These last proceedings can be carried out through the Comunicazione Unica. The necessary formalities are quicker after the simplification of 2010. To do so, just go to http://www.registroimprese.camcom.it.
Open a street food, whether it is a fixed kiosk or an itinerant food truck is not as complicated as it used to be. Various initiatives have been speeded up but the help of an expert, above all in the administrative management of the company, in the choice of the tax regime and in the legal nature of it remains fundamental. So it is always important to get help from an expert.
Besides, once you open your street food, it will be essential to choose the appropriate places and fairs to follow. Finally, the advertising contribution and the use of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, etc. will be central. Precisely because of their smart nature and the ability to be effective in real time (such as the app of foodiestrip, for example) these platforms are perfect for tracing food trucks and allowing them to retain customers.
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)