Making it big in street food is no walk in the park. The streets are hard graft – and our Members know that better than most! But with a little help from our inKERBator programme (and a lot of hard work) Chinese comfort-food trader, UStick!, have exploded onto the street food scene.
Meet Stan & Shiqi, founders of U Stick.
Having a successful street-food business was something Stan & Shiqi dreamed of just over a year ago while working in an office in finance and as a photographer. Fast forward a year, and as recent inKERBator graduates, Stan & Shiqi’s dream has become a reality, breaking trader records at huge London events such as ComiCon.
We sat down to find out how they turned their backs on corporate life and followed their street food dreams…
How did you hear about KERB and the inKERBator programme?
“Our old office overlooked KERB on the Quay and it became a weekly lunchtime treat. We both love food and have popular pages on The Little Red Book (China’s version of Instagram!) where we recommend London eats for young Chinese professionals living in London. Upon discovering KERB and the inKERBator programme, we signed up, started U Stick, and quit our jobs. Since we were self-taught and new to the industry, we had everything to learn and nothing to lose.”
Top tips for starting a successful street food business?
- Go to KERB (we didn’t pay them to say this – honest!)
- Location is key, do your research and pick locations that work for you and your food.
- Planning & organisation. Shiqi’s meticulous planning at Comi con was key to our success; she mapped every inch of our gazebo so customers didn’t have to wait long before enjoying their piping hot U Stick rice boxes.
Across the Comi Con weekend, U STICK served over 2500 dishes (yes you heard that correctly) at the Excel and we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about each and every dish!
Biggest Takeaway from the inKERBator programme?
“Our biggest takeaway is friendship. KERB’s community (and the infamous Slack Channel) is so valuable, and we have gained so much knowledge from other traders that have already been on the programme. Our session with Truffle Burger, during the first stage of the inKERBator programme, was really valuable too and taught us succesfully scale-up a street food business.”
Who’s your dream collaboration?
“We would love to work with Longboys. We love their aesthetic and would also love to sell on a counter in Selfridges someday. We would also love to expand our desert offering (which we currently only offer at our Design District site with a fixed kitchen). Stan would love to collaborate with German Doner Kebab because he cannot get enough!”
What’s next for U Stick?
“We don’t really know, we are taking each step as it comes and loving every moment. We will certainly be popping up at more of the KERB lunchtime markets, at KERB events and at our permanent site at the Design District.”
If you haven’t tried UStick’s food yet, keep an eye out for our weekly market line-ups too see where you can get your hands on a dish. Perhaps tasting their food will kick-start your own dramatic career change? If you’re feeling inspired and reckon you’ve got what it takes to become a street food success story, check out how to JOIN US via KERB Classroom or the inKERBator programme.
Follow their journey at @UStickLondon