Starting a mobile catering business in Jersey
Step by step guide
Apart from the usual regulations and licences required to run a catering business in Jersey (see our Starting a Catering Business in Jersey), there are a number of additional things to consider if you intend to run a mobile catering unit.
Mobile unit proprietors must hold the correct type of driving licence and the relevant licence types in Jersey include:
- Category B licence, which entitle the holder to drive vehicles with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of up to 3,500kg plus a trailer weighing up to 750kg, and vehicle and trailer combinations with a MAM of no more than 3,500kg in total.
- Category BE licence, which entitles the holder to drive vehicles with a MAM of up to 3,500kg plus a trailer weighing up to 3,500kg
- Category C1 licence, which entitles the holder to drive medium goods vehicles with a MAM of 7,500kg plus a trailer weighing up to 750kg
- Category C1E licence, which entitles the holder to drive medium good vehicles with a MAM of 7,500kg plus a trailer weighing more than 750kg.
Go to Driver Licence Vehicle Categories for more information about driving licence entitlements.
Mobile proprietors intending to sell in public places, including streets, markets, public footpaths, car parks and other areas, will require ‘mobile trading’ permission from the Business Licencing Unit (Population Office). You will also require consent from the landowner, typically Jersey Property Holdings or the Parish authorities to trade on their land.
Mobile unit proprietors must seek permission from the owners of private land (such as business or retail parks) if they wish to trade from such locations, and it will also be necessary to ensure that the land has appropriate planning permission or ‘lawful use’ to permit such trading.
In Jersey the only way to sell alcohol from a mobile unit is at an organised event, such as Weekender, or if you attend a private function. In both cases you would need a Liquor Licence either in your own name or from a Licensed establishment that makes an application to the Bailiffs Office to temporally transfer one to you for the event.
Mobile unit proprietors often display signage (such as A-boards) beside their pitch and this is covered by the Planning and Building (Display of Advertisements) (Jersey) Order 2006, Part 3, Class D. As long as the A-Board sign complies with the following conditions, you do not require planning permission:
D. A free standing 1 sided or 2 sided advertisement stationed on a public road in front of, or within, the premises of the business it is advertising.
Advertisement not approved
D.1 An advertisement is not approved by Class D if it has an area exceeding 1 square metre per side.
D.2 An advertisement is not approved by Class D if its placement on the road has not been approved by the highway authority with responsibility for the road.
D.3 The advertisement must not be sited or displayed so as –
(a) to obscure or hinder the ready interpretation of a road traffic sign; or
(b) to render hazardous the use of a road.
Mobile takeaway proprietors intending to place tables and chairs on the pavement next to their trailer may require Planning permission and may need to apply for permission to do this.
Purpose-built takeaway vans and trailers can be sourced from specialist suppliers such as Towability (www.towability.com), Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems (www.wilkinsoncatering.co.uk) and Cannon Mobile Catering (www.cannonmobile.co.uk).
Used trailers and vehicles cost from around £4,000 to £40,000 and are advertised for sale on the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) website (www.ncass.org.uk/ ncass_catering_equipment_for_sale.aspx), eBay (www.ebay.co.uk) and Preloved (www.preloved.co.uk).
Takeaway vehicles are generally fitted with shelves, storage space, worktops and appliances such as a microwave, griddle, hot plate, oven, fridge, freezer, water tank and water boiler. They must also have separate hand- and pot-washing facilities in order to comply with food hygiene and food business registration requirements.
There are details of catering equipment suppliers on the website of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA, www.cesa.org.uk).
Mobile unit typically run on gas or electricity, and power is usually supplied via a generator. Catering trailer generators usually run on petrol and typically cost from around £500 to £2,500. For examples of suppliers, go to www.edgetechnology.co.uk/index.php/catering-trailergenerators.html and www.trade-point.co.uk/power-tools/generators.
All gas equipment must be installed and checked annually by a Gas Safe-registered engineer who is qualified in mobile catering & LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas/bottled gas), and who will issue a certificate confirming that the equipment on the trailer is safe to use.
Portable fire extinguishers (from around £30) will also be required. Fire safety equipment suppliers include Discount Fire Supplies (www.discountfiresupplies.co.uk), ADT (www.adt.co.uk/ business/fire-life-safety) and Fire Safety Equipment (www.firesafetyequipment.co.uk).
Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, mobile takeaway proprietors and their employees must wear appropriate safety clothing. Proprietors will need to source appropriate workwear for staff, including tabards, caps and protective wear to prevent injuries, for example when using sharp knives to prepare food or when using hot cooking equipment and grills.
Examples of catering workwear suppliers include:
- Matrix Uniforms (matrixuniforms.co.uk/shop/chefs-wear-foodtrade-uniform.aspx).
- NextGen Clothing (nextgenclothing.co.uk)
- Alexandra (alexandra.co.uk/hospitality-catering).
Freezers and refrigerators will be required to store ingredients, snacks and drinks in the takeaway vehicle. According to FSA guidance, mobile takeaway proprietors must ensure that:
- Any food that needs to be kept refrigerated (such as meats, cheeses, fish and dairy produce) is kept cool.
- Food is kept in a way that ensures that it does not become harmful to human health or unfit for human consumption.
Cold food such as milk and cooked meat must be stored below 8°C. However, it can be kept above 8°C for up to four hours, for example while on display in the delivery vehicle. Food being kept hot and ready to serve must be kept above 63°C.
The FSA has published temperature control guidance covering all areas of the UK at
Freezers and refrigerators for installation at a home base, or in a light industrial or storage unit,
can be sourced from suppliers including Shop-Equip (www.shop-equip.com) and Fridge Freezer
Most mobile catering proprietors generally take payment from customers in cash, and a cash float will be required in order to provide change. Traders should ensure that the amount of cash in the vehicle is kept to a minimum and use money belts for storing their takings. A Chip and PIN machine will be required to process credit and debit card payments. Examples of providers include www.chipandpinsolutions.co.uk. Equipment rental costs between £15 and £35 a month, plus per transaction charges of around 2%. Mobile units are increasingly taking payment via smartphone apps and keypads. For example, Sumup iZettle (www.sumup.co.uk ) requires a contactless reader that can be purchased for around £30 and charges variable rates on a percentage basis depending on sales figures. Sumup also includes bookkeeping tools and sales reports to record transactions. A lockable cash box or vehicle safe can be used to keep small amounts of cash securely. Vehicle safes cost around £50. Mobile units typically also require additional security measures such as alarms and deadlocks to protect stock or equipment stored in the van when parked overnight or left unattended.
Mobile catering proprietors have a duty of care to ensure that any trade waste they produce in the course of their business is properly and safely disposed of.
Some Parish authorities provide collection services for general trade waste produced by takeaways. Alternatively, a licensed waste carrier can be contracted directly to do this.
Used cooking oil from fryers (which requires specialised methods of disposal) should be kept separate from general trade waste and should be collected by a licensed waste carrier.
Mobile catering proprietors are also typically responsible for any litter originating from their pitch, such as empty burger wrappers or packaging dropped by customers near to the point where the vehicle or trailer is stationed. It is best practice for proprietors to provide a litter bin alongside the trailer during serving hours.
Membership of a trade body can provide a wide range of individual and business benefits. Relevant associations include:
- The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS), which is the UK trade body representing mobile caterers, including mobile takeaway proprietors. Membership benefits include hygiene training, discounts on public liability insurance and a listing in the NCASS caterers directory. Standard membership for a mobile caterer costs from £219 per year or around £19 per month. Go to www.ncass.org.uk for more information.
Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS)
Tel: (0121) 603 2524
Beverage Standards Association (BSA)
Tel: 07944 161785
The Pizza, Pasta & Italian Food Association (PAPA)
Tel: (01291) 636335
Other useful sources of information.
Fire safety equipment suppliers
Methods of receiving payment
Examples of catering workwear suppliers