Last updated: 08.11.18

Employee training: Adding value to your street food business

Street food carts are big business these days. Long gone are the times when mobile food meant nothing but greasy burgers and cold chips. Festivals, events, and town centres are becoming centres for great food, with all manner of choices on offer. Of course this means that there’s a lot of competition, and many businesses will be considering the ways in which they can really add value in order to stand out. Training employees is one of the ways in which you can stand above other retailers, and in this article, we’re going to look at why this is, as well as giving you some tips on how you can use training to your advantage.

What are the benefits?

Let’s start with the most important aspect of good training - food hygiene. Any business that deals with food should have the safety of customers as its highest priority. Foodborne illnesses, as well as allergies and other intolerances, can be significant hazards, with the potential to cause severe adverse reactions and even long term illnesses. No business wants this for their customers, so it’s imperative that these hazards are guarded against. Similarly, failures in this regard can even result in the shutting down of a business; word travels quickly, and local authorities often have a zero tolerance approach.

This leads us to our next point - the law. Under EU regulations, anyone working with food in any capacity should have appropriate training for their role. The law doesn’t go as far as to say exactly what this training should be, but if something goes wrong and you’re found to have given your employees inadequate training, it goes without saying that the results could be severe.

Aside from guarding against risks and meeting your obligations, training can really help to give a better experience to your customers, which will in turn increase your custom and boost your bottom line. Similarly, you may be able to charge more for giving a better experience. Think about some of the best rival businesses that you’ve seen. What did they do better? Was it the quality of the food, or the quality of the service? Either of these things can be delivered through good training to your employees.

What types of training are available?

Thankfully, there are many options available to you if you’re looking to add some serious value to your business.

Firstly, if you feel that you need help with better food preparation and skills in this area, then there are workshops that you or your employees can attend which will help you to better understand the food you’re producing and selling. Many wholesalers actually have their own training seminars for this, so that their food can be correctly prepared. However, if you’ve created the food and/or recipes yourself, then it’s important to take good time in showing all of your employees exactly how things should be done. The higher the standards the better. If you’ve got one or two employees who excel at preparing certain foods, or dealing with customers, then have them impart their skills and knowledge onto others. This builds value across the whole business, even if you only employ a handful of people.

If you feel that your training needs are more to do with high standards of food hygiene, and mitigating the associated risks, then there are accredited widely-recognised courses that you can take. The Level 1, 2 and 3 Food Hygiene Certificates are the most popular, and their aim is to give people all the knowledge they need to carry out their role safely and effectively. They cover things like safe storage, handling and cooking of food, which is hugely important in a street food environment where things are fast paced, mobile and the chances of risk could be high. Level 2 will be the best choice for those working on a food cart, and if you’re a manager, then Level 3, designed as food hygiene training for supervisors, might be the best option.

Where can you get training?

There are many providers that offer different types of training, and often it’ll need to be hands on. However, if you’re looking for more knowledge-based training, such as those that deal with food hygiene best practice, then you’ll be pleased to know that online courses are available. The Level 1, 2 and 3 Food Hygiene courses can all be taken online through Virtual College, and are excellent choices for those who need food hygiene training of all levels. Visit our course page for more information.