I’m intrigued, I’m excited, I’m going!

I defy anyone not to be excited by the London street food scene at the moment – long gone are the days where mobile food vans were simply seen as ‘roach coaches’, today the buzz around street food brands such as Daddy Donkey and The Meat Wagon is palpable. Which is why I’m so glad to have come across Eat St. The organisation aims to drive British street food forward, bringing a sense of cohesion to these independent vendors as well as strengthening its community through working together at events and creating a defined Eat.st standard of quality.

The sense of ‘guarantee’ provided by having a framework of defined standards in this way makes great business sense in attracting event organisers, whilst the events that the organisation have helped devise are exciting and engaging from a foodie perspective. For example, its recent project, ’16 days’, ran from 16th May to 1st June with a different street food hawker operating each day in front of The Rye Pub, Peckham, London, culminating in a run from the Meat Wagon at the end of the street food bonanza. This can only be good for all involved: driving trade to and from the pub, helping brand awareness for the vendors, creating a non-intrusive mini-food festival for the locality – what’s not to like?

Missed ’16 days’? No problem, Eat. St is already engaged in its next event: taking the concept of ‘gorilla dining’ a little more literally, vendors are participating in ZSL London Zoo’s ‘Zoo Lates’ offering Londoners the chance to check out the zoo, take part in a silent disco and buy food from 10 street food vendors (it is running every Friday night from 6pm-10pm in June and July 2011).

The trend towards mobile food trucks has been growing for a number of years now and is now dominating the attention of trade press and food bloggers alike. It’s exciting, dynamic and forward thinking – all elements that static restaurants need to take heed of.

Look out for Mintel’s forthcoming Fast Casual Restaurants – UK, August 2011 where we’ll be exploring the issue of service formats further.

Want to know whether diners are more interested in Vietnamese, Mexican or Caribbean fast food? Look out for Mintel’s forthcoming Fast Food and Quick Service Restaurants – UK, September 2011 where we ask diners which fast food/street food from around the world they are most interested in trying.