It's All Gravy: Part 4 - Thou Shalt Only Spend on Essentials

Hello reader.


Please, take a seat, it’s time we talked. Now, we promised ourselves we wouldn't get angry but we need to get this off our chest. You may think it’s no big deal and I’m not sure whether it was intentional or not but… missed our birthday.


No card, no call, no flowers. What the fuck dude? That’s a shitty move. You think you’re above all that? Yada, yada, yada - we don’t want to hear your lame-ass excuses. Go on, just get out, just go. And don’t look us in the eyes on your way out.


What are you hiding? Don’t play games with us. There, behind your back, what is it? Chrysanthemums?! Awww, you bloody sweetheart, you shouldn’t have! There’s us jumping to silly conclusions. We knew you hadn’t forgotten. Do you want a cup of tea? Of course, take a seat. I’ll get the bourbons.


Chrysanthemums - our favourite of all native Asian flowers

Chrysanthemums - our favourite of all native Asian flowers

Seeing as though you’re here with this delightful and completely unexpected gift, it’d only be fair if we gave you something in return. Yep, it’s that time again when The Gravy Train gets a little introspective and looks back all nostalgic-like in order to lay down some new-found wisdom for any soon-to-be traders out there.


If you’ve not read our previous tips for new street food traders, then you should. I would say that though, right? Yes. Because you should. We’re calling them our ‘Street Food Trader Commandments’, for no other reason than we wanted them to sound biblical. ‘What the fuck are they?’, I hear you pointedly ask. In a nutshell, they’re things you may want to bear in mind if you’re just starting out in the street food game. Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it?


Now, as you’ve so wonderfully highlighted with your thoughtful bouquet, we’ve only been going for a year, so we ain’t callin’ ourselves no ‘Seasoned Pros’ BUT, for the benefit of you newbies, we think it’s kinda fun to slip on the old self-deprecation spectacles from time to time and looked at lessons learned.


Whether you’re merely flirting with street food like it were Lucy from A Level English, or you’re already out there doing your thing, the following three minutes and forty seconds may be beneficial.So join us as we double-click the file ‘DumbShitWeShouldNotHaveDoneInYearOne.doc’


Here we go…


Seasoned Pros

Seasoned Pros

Commandment Number Four:

Thou Shalt Only Spend On Essentials


You may be thinking, ‘All that build-up for that?’ Yes, because this point needs hammering home like a really relevant simile.


We actually had a little food business before we started this one. We were fresh out of Uni and full of that fleeting sensation one feels from time to time called ‘hope’. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we scampered around catering shops and browsed the internet buying the shiniest things because it glinted nicely. We convinced ourselves that we needed all of this shiny stuff, not just because it shined so bright, but because it was all necessary. That chargrill worth a ludicrous amount? Stick it in the trolley, we defs need one that big. That huge marquee too? You bet. The branded t-shirts? A little on the pricey side, but sod it, we’ll be making money hand over fist in no time. Hold on, we’ve rinsed the kitty and we haven’t even bought any food yet.


All I’ll say on that is there’s a reason we’re now The Gravy Train, and it ain’t ‘cos we sold our first attempt for ba-zillions and we got bored chilling in the Bahamas.



Just because it costs ten times the price does not mean you will get ten times the value out of it. It’s the same as anything - if you suddenly developed a keen interest in golf, you wouldn’t go and splash your savings on a brand-spanking new set of clubs signed by Seve Ballesteros. Certainly not with the intention of winning tournaments to pay the bills - I’m not you, but it’s just a hunch. The clubs might be the wrong size. You might find the pitching wedge too cumbersome. The ruddy golf bag might not fit in the ruddy boot of your ruddy Nissan Qashqai. I don’t know, I’m not a golfer.


Seve Ballesteros - half ballerina, half bastard...

Seve Ballesteros - half ballerina, half bastard...


You see our point though. Start small, and build up. Yes, there will be occasions where the cheaper equipment you bought will give up the ghost mid-event, but there’s always a way to work around it. Draw up a contingency plan if the equipment you have does go kaput, or study the manual so you know what to do if it does occur. Don’t be so thrifty that you turn up to an event and can’t  serve food - that is no good for anybody, especially the organisers, but be mindful before you start lighting up the debit card.


You could save a silly amount of money in the long-run by avoiding good-looking but ultimately unnecessary equipment. Remember - you need to do loads of events before you know just what in the hell works best for you. We’re still learning new things at every single event. They’r all different and they all require different components. There’s no point designing your menu around a huge spit roaster that takes four exasperated people to lift the thing if you’re only doing a small private function. You’ll slip a disc for crying out loud!


Be flexible, be patient. Be thrifty.


Over and out.


The Gravy Train Poutine