Mobile catering and great pizza on the go
We get a lot of enquiries from catering companies hoping to set up a mobile pizza business in order to cash in on a still growing market for wood-fired pizza at weddings, festivals and public spaces without having the set up costs of a permanent restaurant.
Van or Trailer?
Mobile catering set ups need a van or at least a powerful enough vehicle to pull a heavy trailer so you’ve got to choose between having your whole set up in a van with a pop up side or using the van as a store for all the equipment you need and having a separate trailer with your pizza oven on or in it.
When I left school, I worked for a market trader who had a small shop on Walthamstow’s Hoe Street market in East London and we had to load his box trailer every saturday and sunday to work Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire and Wembley in West London. It was hard work loading everything we needed: all the stock, boxes of shoes, display racks and even a carpet for punters to walk on in comfort. Loaded early, taken to the market, unloaded and set up, knocked down at the end of the day and then back to the shop to unload again.
Mobile catering is sort of the same, except for the unloading of stock. Instead you’ll be unloading a gazebo ( pretty essential given the weather), prep tables, menu boards, saladiers ( for holding your ingredients) and some sort of cash machine. On top of that, a portable fridge, a container for fresh water for cleaning up and washing hands, storage for the dough trays, tools and logs, possibly some lights and then you’ve got to power it all with a clean running generator.
We’ve supplied several mobile catering companies and all have slightly different set ups-
The Land Rover Defender
A popular one that started about 10 years ago is the conversion of a Land Rover Defender like the one shown here owned by The Wild Oven. It takes the weight easily as it was originally built as a farm workhorse, there is a reasonable amount of storage even taking account of the oven that has to fit in the back and its easy to cut holes in the sheet metal body to take the oven door in the side and flue out of the roof.
The Catering Van
The obvious requirement for a van is that you must be able to stand up in it! The regulars like the Mercedes Sprinter, Renault Master, Ford Iveco daily, Volkswagen Crafter, Citroen Relay and the trendy vintage van, the Citroen Hy all work well. There is a premium for buying these vans from new and converting them yourself but that way its set up how you want it and it’ll have the best fuel efficiency and reliability. The other way is to go if you want to keep your start up costs lower is to go search online on eBay or Gumtree or a specialist reseller of catering wagons. The one shown here is run by Devon Wood Fired Pizza near Crediton
A trailer will have to be specially fitted out with storage cupboards for tools and logs etc. The oven will almost certainly sit on top so its at the right height for working.
The Horsebox trailer
The horsebox although heavier than a trailer can take pretty well everything you need on the road. Just make sure your pulling vehicle is powerful enough to do hills easily and possibly even get out of a muddy field after rain.
The main thing here is weight so add up everything you need to take with you and add it to the overall oven weight to get your SWL or safe working load. For your own safety and others on the road, your SWL must be legal or you’ll get pulled over and fined.
We make two ovens specifically for trailers and vans, with slightly less mass than our standard commercial ovens. They both have 40mm dome thickness and 60mm monobloc hearth thickness meaning fast heat up times, less fuel use but still excellent heat retention because of the efficient insulation.
The 1030 Grand Flamme
The 1030 all chamotte oven is our best seller for mobile catering because of its commercial size, pizza capacity ( up to 4 pizzas) and low weight. It also has a unique steel strap system that tensions the oven down onto its table and stops any movement. For a full spec on the 1030 oven please see our commercial oven page here
The 1200L is a fairly new oven designed to give a larger hearth option for mobile caterers and restaurants who want an oven without the steel hanging system found on our high mass Pro Commercial ovens. With a full 1200mm diameter hearth, it will cook up to six pizzas easily thereby giving the operator a much higher output than the 1030. Although its listed as a gas option, you can see the spec here
If you have the weight capacity then our larger mass ovens are still a possibility although you would may prefer to use our lightweight epoxy dome cover instead of render to keep the overall weight down.
Here is a table of ovens with important information-