SumUp continues to support the UK street food scene

A very British success story is the continued growth of the street food scene. Once a subset of the food and drink industry, street food - and the culture, the ever evolving menus, and offerings across the nation - is now a market itself.

Figures from SumUp, the London-based fintech, illustrate several key market trends:

  • The number of street food vendors has increased in the UK since 2019. SumUp, for example, has seen 124% growth between 2019 and 2021 in the number of vendors using their payment technology. 

  • Merchants are experiencing increasingly consistent business. SumUp has seen growth of 134% in the average number of transactions through SumUp devices.

  • Payment technology is now central to the success of street food vendors’ stalls. According to SumUp, 92.6% of street food vendor merchant sales were made by card payment in 2021, up from 90.2% in 2019. 

  • Thursdays and Fridays tend to be the hottest days for sales - no surprises there - and July is the strongest month for sales. No single weekday or month can be picked out as underperforming. 

As the sector goes from strength to strength, there is even a supportive and highly coveted set of annual awards that the best vendors battle it out for each year. The British Street Food Awards hands out prizes for categories ranging from ‘Best Main’ to regional winners and set themes, and last year a SumUp merchant emerged victorious. 

Pellizco Pellizco, a Mexican food vendor operating in the Sheffield area, took home the award for ‘Best Newcomer’ and, talking to SumUp, described how payment technology is there for when they need it, helping them earn their crust, and is a large part of the reason for the growth they have seen in the industry. Founder and chef Daniel Pinch said that:

“Street food is so much more than just a few vans at a big event that keep people fed, it has turned into its own culture, expanding into being the focus of their own events, popping up at pubs, breweries and pretty much anywhere with a car park. 

“We digitised our business in order to make taking payments faster, easier, more accessible with the benefits of no cash handling, streamlined ordering and payments. We chose SumUp because of its reliable service and competitive commission rates. We have seen a shift from maybe 80% cash to 80% card payments; people love the ease of it, a lot of people have smart watches now so don’t even have to go into their pockets.  “Having competed in the British Street Food Awards last year, I feel it gave us a confidence boost, knowing we could hold our own with the best in the country. It definitely gave us a talking point too, people would come up and congratulate us after and I believe it made people want to try our food.”

This year’s contest Facing off in the northern semi-final in Leeds 20th-22nd August were SumUp merchants Seitan's Kebab, Colombo Street Kitchen, Broke ‘n Bone BBQ, Vegan House, Greidys Wings and Strips, Bao Bros 23, South Manny Flavaz Group and Pellizco. 

Eat The Farm, ROK Kitchen and Carne N’ Carvao are competing in the southern semi-final in Portsmouth on 28th-30th August.

At stake, aside from prize money, is the serious acclaim that comes with an award of this stature. The winners will be crowned in Hull 3rd-5th September in what promises to be an exciting and closely fought contest.

On the technology underpinning the sector’s continued success, Richard Johnson, the founder of the British Street Food Awards, said:

“Running live food events in the present climate is no small feat and as well as having the best people, we are supported by the best technology. SumUp’s range of solutions have boosted the sector in what could have been a very tough time, and we are delighted to continue celebrating the British street food scene with them.”

Umberto Zola, Country Growth Lead UK at SumUp:

“The street food scene exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the booming British economy. Through innovation and hard work, vendors are delivering new and exciting foods to people the length and breadth of the UK and we at SumUp are only too happy to support this growing industry through our payment technology.”