Good things come in small packages!

Food kiosks and carts are mushrooming.

Food retailers today are considering small kiosks and food carts for low-investment and high return benefits. Food carts increase the avenues of creative entrepreneurship among the new entrants. Such business proposition helps the new entrants to enhance their visibility and grab the acceptance of the consumers instantly. 

Opportunity for kiosks
Kiosk and carts have significance and suitability across all markets like metros, tier-II and tier-III cities. “Given the high cost of retail space in metros mixed with the higher population, we see a bigger opportunity for kiosks and carts in metro locations. For kiosks, we have full service that is full menu board offering in hot and cold drinks as well as a broad food offering. In the carts we would typically restrict the offering to hot drinks,” said Tony White, Regional General Manager, Gloria Jeans Coffees International. Bangs India envisions being the number one in the fried chicken kiosk concept category. The company is gearing up to recruit around 50 franchisees this year in south India. Yo-China also has its food carts selling dimsums in malls. 

Tricks to get it right
Serving healthy and hygienic food is the first prerequisite of making it big as a kiosk food retailer. Good and prompt service is especially important at the small, intimate establishment like a food kiosk or a food cart. It is always advisable to explore the location before investing and about the other nitty-gritty involved in opening a food kiosk before actually going for it. According to White, “I would not say that they are better - just a different offering and a part of an overall brand penetration strategy for us in India. You need to get a balance of full service high street stores as well as smaller, more convenient kiosks and carts in a clustered store development strategy to ensure the brand positioning in the consumers mind is correct. Too many kiosks and carts and you can be seen to be a small kiosk brand. It needs to be carefully balanced as a part of an overall brand development strategy.” 

Prerequisites of food kiosks
Choose the correct menu: If you want to make it big with food kiosks, then you should have a different menu, and sell out things that big hot-shot food retailers don’t sell. Be it Slice of Pizza, Dimsums, chaat or fruit juice, you need to have unique selling proposition to grab the eyeballs of your target consumers. 

Location: Popular kiosk spots can be a mall (food-courts), flea-markets, densely populated areas, or an area where food kiosks have an assemblage. 

Get your strategy right: Set a business plan and stay focused. Before you even serve your first customer, you'll have to pour in a lot of money in your food kiosk. Also, there will be regular fees like rent, employees’ salaries, and grocery costs. In the initial phase, it's a good idea to invest a part of your profits into the food kiosk until you generate good amount of profits. 

Figure out your target consumer: You need to keep your menu price range very nominal because you need to understand that your target groups of customers are young people on the move, who are ready to binge out on new things.

Wind up
Owing small kiosks can give you the advantage of flexibility because license agreements for carts and kiosks are usually renewed every year depending upon the location. This arrangement makes it easy for entrepreneurs to try it out for a short span of time and if their brands do not work successfully then they can shift to a new product line or move to a new location. 

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