Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Green shoots and Loving Food

Loving Food Truck
In the week that the economy has been given the green light for growth by the Chancellor I stumbled on a lively new business in the city: Loving Food. The mobile food van was tucked into an incongruous parking space by the John Player building and served an excellent range of lunchtime snacks that completely contravened the normal fare associated with mobile food vendors. It was fresh and healthy world influenced food served from a fetchingly painted Citroen truck. The operator was a intelligent young immigrant with a real flair for customer relations. He told me that they were negotiating for a stance at the railway station, which given Network Rail's normal tardiness might mean they will not get there before the summer. From the quality of food I bought today I cannot see it failing to succeed.

However it will need to be operated with flexible long hours, early starts, and it will provide no job security or the underpinning of a secure business base. But this seems the model for growth that the government are happy to hang their hat on to emerge from the recession, which they unwittingly spun out by imposing a level of austerity that Keynes would have choked on. On prime minister's questions the PM said that retaining a 50p tax rate will stymie the green shoots of growth and make us uncompetitive. My guess is that small businesses like this will be lucky to achieve a turnover £70k a year which might generate an income of £25k after the costs of food produce, the vehicle and fuel have been taken into account.

PS The business finally moved to the station in June 2014 after 18 months of seeking permission from the Council and Network Rail for obtaining an agreement for a stance outside the railway station. Apparently the van would contravene the hot mobile food policy, unlike all those burger and breakfast bars that operate in the lay byes around the city. The Loving Food truck now provides a range of fresh, homemade food including flatbreads, stews, soups, grilled halloumi, quesadillas, savoury filled brioche, tacos, burritos and freshly made cakes with a changing menu every day. Just a great pity that it took 18 months to negotiate all the regulatory policies.

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