European’s largest flea market in London’s Waltham Forest District is a tough place to be for food stalls…. for the time being.
The food stall operators now decided to move on. Regrettably, after their initial twelve months trial period on Walthamstow’s market they admitted that it didn’t work out for them.
Stefan Schenkelberg, one of the owners, spoke with someone at the Council’s Street Trading Department to evaluate possibilities to move our food trailer towards the crowded areas of the market and away from the back-end of the market. They had been sending their iconic food trailer to an area with high footfall and they were seeking to get a permanent pitch. Here is essentially how Tony, one of the managers from the council’s street trading department responded to their plea: ‘This is, sadly, no longer possible. There are two problems:
The dimension of our food trailer, the 10.2 ft tall Giant Can
The smell it gives up’ (I admit German Bratwurst has a distinguished smell)
He elaborated further on this and pointed to the complaints from the brick and mortar coffee shops and restaurants/ take away shops previously. They threatened the Council, Tony admitted, to sue them for £60.000,00 in damages (loss of business), should they again allow us to move close to their businesses. The smell has, according to these business owners, a detrimental effect on them.
The business couple find it ridiculous and Stefan blamed these high street businesses for not performing well enough to bother about the street traders.
The Council surely is in a difficult situation to mediate between the two customer types, that is high value business rate paying customers of the high street and casual street food traders.
We don’t object to the Council’s instruction to have our pitch location in a low footfall area ‘away from the crowd’ but we will find solutions on how to move on with our venture. Stefan is actively looking for an alternative location in London’s West End. “We are competing with the ‘big’ boys in the market’s food establishments…. but we will win in the end. It’s very much a mobility issue here.” Stefan explained.
The Council also is doing their bit to help food stall owners. They have designated the low footfall area as a food court and banner advertising makes visitors to the market aware of it. “Currently, they lack of the ‘variety’.. there are only a handful of food stalls. In my humble opinion, not enough for an area to be designated as a food court,” Stefan explained. They also plan to extend the business hours so that food stall owners can serve for an extended period in the evening.
The high street is currently undergoing a development program.
Walthamstow’s High Street Regeneration Programme works includes, as we understand, the continuation of an environmental enhancement scheme, and the development of an improved ‘market place’. Too late for the Schenkelberg’s to consider further involvement: ‘We are here to make monies but are currently only making pennies,’ Regina Schenkelberg pointed out.
With warm regards,
Rainer’s Bavarian Grill | Business Development Team