Pierogi’s – A Polish Food Truck in Brussels

Pierogi´s is a Polish food truck offering vegetarian varieties of the traditional Polish dumplings called pierogi. Brussels is a multicultural city and residence to various foreign communities. Polish inhabitants constitute the sixth largest foreign group in the city. In addition to this population, Pierogi´s can also take advantage of and target the Eurocrats as they are always willing to try different cultures´ gastronomy. Furthermore, food trucks are very common in the city as they offer convenience and most of the international people working in Brussels get their daily lunch in the form of take away food.

Pierogis, a traditional Polish dumpling

A food truck is the optimal way to enter the market as it requires low initial investment and operation costs and involves low risk. Due to mobility, the food truck can also attend events (e.g. conferences, exhibitions, and Brussels Food Truck Festival – the biggest food truck festival in the world) to reach more customers.

Food trucks in Brussels

Market Environment

Belgium is rather conservative when it comes to food. Traditional Belgian dishes revolve around meat or fish. Belgium has only recently begun to embrace the idea of vegetarianism, reflected by an increasing number of vegetarian options (i.e. restaurants, quick foods, and cafes). Because it is a relatively new concept in Belgium, it would be advisable for Pierogi’s not to sell the offer as “vegetarian,” but rather as the pierogi dish itself. The potential for Pierogi’s is high however since there is only one Polish restaurant in Brussels and moreover, one vegetarian food truck.

Because a big target group are the so-called Eurocrats working around the European district, the food truck should operate within that area (indicated in the graphic below). The truck will operate Monday to Friday at the locations Porte de Namur metro station, Trône metro station, Square Frère Orban, Boulevard de l’Impératrice and Square De Meeûs. Moreover, the city of Brussels provides a monthly updated schedulewith food tracks circulating around Brussels.

Locations to position the food truck

The main competitors will not be the other food trucks since there is always only one truck at each spot, but more the local restaurants around each spot. Nevertheless, the city of Brussels does not accept an endless number of food trucks, to limit competition with local businesses.

Logistics

Permits, License and Insurance – approx. costs 3100 – 6900 euros

In order to start a food truck business in Brussels, the entrepreneur has to obtain a license from the Foodstuffs Inspection Department which is the part of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC). Other required license and permits include: a business license which tests the legal right to operate the food provider in the particular location; food-handler’s permit which ensures that employees’ safety in the cooking environment. Liability insurance is also required.

Operational costs – Monthly

Operational costs include costs such as parking, food inventory and labor. These costs can vary every month. The average operational costs are around $30’000 per month depending on the expenses. The labor costs constitute 25-35% of the operational costs.

Expansion Possibilities

Having experimented in different locations throughout Brussels in its first two years, Pierogi’s can open a permanent restaurant in what it experienced to be the most lucrative. Upon doing so, Pierogi’s will need to register the restaurant, as well as consider the size and potentially expanding its menu offering.

Potential concept for Pierogi’s restaurant
Employees of Pierogi’s

The Capital of Europe: From the Gutters to the Palace

Contextual Intelligence: How do Belgium and Switzerland differ?

While walking through the streets in the capital of Europe, it is clearly visible that not everything is like it seems to be. Homeless people, lonely children, rubbish and a high police presence dominate the centrum of the city. Nevertheless, enormous buildings like the palace of the king or the whole EU commission area enlighten the city. The following pictures illustrate the contextual intelligence between the capital of Europe and the neutral not-eu member Switzerland. 

Homeless Family:

This pictures illustrates the high discrepancy between the european elite who meet and live in the exclusive residences and the ones who lives with nothing. 

Rubbish on the Streets:

As seen in the picture, rubbish dominantes the streets. Contrary to Switzerland where streets are spotless and clear. 

Dunks and playing Children:

As the drunk men is sleeping on the playground kids are playing around him not realizing the gravity. 

Big Brother Brussels:

In the last decade the number of surveillance cameras increased to a total of 1365 spread all over the city. This illustrates the high level of anxiety in the country. 

Seafood instead of Bratwurst:

Despite the reason terror attacks, people in brussels are still enjoying life on the streets – drinking beer and eating traditional seafood dishes.

To summarise, it is not as shiny as you would expect from the so called capital of Europe. Brussels is a great illustration of all the problems the EU has to deal with, immigration, wealth gap and terror threat. Nevertheless, it impresses also with its rich culture and history influence by all big powers of Europe. Furthermore, the citizens still enjoy life despite the problems they face everyday in their daily life.