Home > Business Insurance > Shop Insurance > Coffee Shop > How to Start a Mobile Coffee Business

How to Start a Mobile Coffee Business

By Maria Hickey on September 5th, 2023

Starting a coffee van business in the UK can be both exciting and challenging. However, with the right approach and strategy, you can build a thriving and successful mobile coffee business that satisfies the cravings of coffee lovers all over the country.

In this blog, we provide a comprehensive guide on how to start a mobile coffee business in the UK, covering everything from choosing the right vehicle to providing exceptional customer service.

Choosing the Ideal Vehicle for Your Coffee Van Business

Starting a mobile coffee business requires a reliable and well-equipped vehicle –  ideally one that can be easily modified to meet your specific needs. There are several options available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Buying a Pre-owned Mobile Coffee Van UK 

Buying a coffee van is a cost-effective way to get started in the mobile coffee business. You’ll want to look for a vehicle that is in good condition and has a low mileage. Check the history of the van and make sure that all the necessary paperwork is in order.

You may need to make some modifications to fit your needs, such as installing a new mobile coffee machine or adding storage space.

Converting a Van into a Mobile Coffee Unit

A coffee van conversion can be a great option if you already own a suitable vehicle. The process involves stripping the van down to its shell and then installing all the necessary equipment, including a water tank, generator, and coffee machine for van. It’s important to work with a professional conversion company to ensure that all the electrical and plumbing work is done to a high standard.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to select a vehicle that is reliable and easy to operate. You’ll be spending a lot of time behind the wheel, so comfort and ease of use are key considerations.

Setting Up Your Mobile Coffee Van Business

Setting up a mobile coffee van business can be a daunting task, but with careful planning and execution, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Below are the key steps you need to take to launch your coffee van in the UK:

Acquire the necessary licences and permits

Before you can start trading, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary licences and permits in place. This includes registering your business with the relevant local authorities, obtaining a food hygiene certificate, and applying for a street trading licence from your local council. 

Make sure you research the regulations in your area and comply with the necessary requirements to avoid any legal issues.

Find suitable locations to operate

Once you have your licences and permits, you’ll need to find suitable locations to operate your coffee van. Look for high foot traffic areas, such as parks, markets, and popular tourist spots. You may also want to consider offering your services at events, festivals, and corporate gatherings, as these can provide lucrative opportunities for your business.

Manage your inventory

Managing your inventory is crucial to the success of your mobile coffee business. You’ll need to carefully track your supplies, including coffee beans, milk, and equipment, to ensure that you have enough stock to meet demand. 

Brand and market your coffee van

Branding and marketing your coffee van is essential for attracting customers and building your business. Start by creating a unique brand identity, including a logo and design that reflects your company values and style. 

Next, consider different marketing strategies, such as social media, flyers, and word of mouth, to promote your business and reach new customers. Remember to keep your messaging consistent and focused on your target market to maximise your impact.

By following these key steps, you can set up a successful coffee van business in the UK and start generating revenue in no time.

Crafting a Winning Menu for Your Mobile Coffee Business

Crafting the perfect menu is a crucial aspect of a successful mobile coffee business. The right menu can capture the attention of your customers and keep them coming back for more. 

Here are some tips to help you create a winning menu for your mobile coffee business.

Offer a Variety of Beverages

To cater to the different taste preferences of your customers, it is important to offer a variety of beverages. Besides the classic coffee and tea options, consider offering specialty coffees such as cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos. 

Also, don’t forget to include non-coffee options like hot chocolate and herbal teas to cater to a wider audience.

Complement Your Drinks with Snacks

Pairing your beverages with a selection of pastries and snacks can enhance the overall experience for your customers. Consider offering a variety of muffins, cookies, and cakes to accompany your drinks.

Keep Your Menu Simple

While it is important to offer a variety of beverages and snacks, it is equally important to keep your menu simple. Having too many options can be overwhelming for customers and may slow down the service. 

Keep your menu concise and easy to read, and highlight your signature items to draw attention to them.

Consider Seasonal Specials

Introducing seasonal specials can add excitement and variety to your menu. For example, during the winter months, you could offer festive-themed drinks such as gingerbread lattes or peppermint hot chocolates. This can entice customers to try something new and keep your menu fresh and interesting.

Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Excellent customer service is the backbone of any successful mobile coffee business. As a coffee van owner, it is crucial to establish a connection with your customers to build loyalty and earn repeat business. Here are some key tips to provide exceptional customer service:

  • Be friendly and approachable: Greet your customers with a smile and engage them in small talk. This will help create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Provide prompt service: Customers appreciate fast service, particularly during peak hours. Ensure your mobile coffee van is well-staffed to keep up with demand.
  • Ensure cleanliness: Maintain high standards of hygiene and cleanliness on your van. Customers will appreciate a clean and sanitary environment to enjoy their coffee.
  • Accept feedback: Encourage your customers to share feedback, both positive and negative. Use this feedback to improve your service and menu.
  • Create a loyalty program: Offering a loyalty program can help incentivise customers to return to your coffee van. Consider offering discounts or free drinks after a certain number of purchases.


Starting a mobile coffee business in the UK can be a lucrative venture if done right. By keeping in mind the steps and tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your coffee van business is set up for success.

Get Coffee Shop Insurance Today

Here at Brisco, we provide coffee shop insurance that can help protect your coffee van business. Our comprehensive policies are designed to provide the cover you need to keep your business running smoothly. 

We understand the importance of having peace of mind when running a coffee shop and our expert team is here to help guide you through the process. To learn more about our full coverage options, get a quote today. 

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

Protect Your Business Today!

Find comprehensive business insurance at the right price. Quickly and easily compare quotes from leading insurers and choose the perfect policy for you.

Compare Quotes

Our Reviews