Here is a list of the equipment we needed to buy.
It will cost a minimum of $2k + vehicle + your license. Our 1st kit was about $1,500 Cause we already had some of the equipment & our license back then was about $200 but it’s gone way up since the eat safe food plans were introduced. $2k is a lot of money but not in comparison to a shop or buying an established business. While we were at the market a guy spent $5k on equipment & a rubbish van came to 4 markets and sold it a week later for $48k 😱😱😱😱 or there’s a business on trademe for $168k that’s absolutely ridiculous IMHO it’s all second hand gear which you’d be able to buy for at the very most $50k so unless you’re made of money do it yourself buy all new gear and save a fortune.
There may be more or less things you need depending on the food you’re selling & how you prepare, transport or store it.
This is just to give you a rough idea on what you need and what we found worked best for us. I've probably forgotten heaps so I'll update this if I remember anything.
There are a lot of gazebos online, the most important thing is they must be a 2.5x2.5 meter pop up gazebo each stall has a car space which is 2.5 meters wide & the pop up ones are the quickest & easiest to setup. I highly recommend you buy a dark colour because it will get filthy from all the smoke and grease in the air. We all wanna beautiful white gazebo but don’t unless you’re doing outdoor markets.
The other thing to note is you have to be able to remove the centre pole, Sylvia Park, Papatoetoe & Pakuranga have low ceilings and your gazebo won’t fit if you can’t remove it.
Deals Direct have them for $75
These are perfectly fine but ours didn’t last
These bolts fall out and you can’t replace them on most of the cheaper ones.
I got sick of having to buy a new gazebo every month so I brought this one from Hercules Gazebos
They’re $309 at the moment, they have replacement parts and optional extras. You can upgrade with branded walls, half walls & valances. It’s pointless getting the whole roof branded for the night markets as you have to remove the centre pole so the roof lies flat and no one will see it. But on the downside they’re a little heavy. There is a much lighter alloy framed gazebos for $509
You have to cover the floor of your stall, we used cheap tarpaulins cause they end up smelly so I replaced them often. Or a lot of stalls use those folding mats from the dollar these are the only ones I could find online but they’re to nice to throw on a dirty carpark.
You might need more than one depending on what you’re making, how many dishes you’ve got etc but you definitely need to have at least one with a tap for your hand washing station. There is a tap at every market for you to fill these up (just follow the people with the empty Jerry cans) but some of the taps look dodgy so it’s easier & cleaner to fill it up at home $22 from the warehouse.
These folding trestle tables are the ones everybody uses. They fold up and don’t take up much space in your vehicle. Some of them are flimsy and buckle but we had some really good heavy duty ones that weighed a tonne but lasted for years but the place I brought them from has closed down. They sell them at Trade tested:
Not sure how good trade tested ones are but everything I have brought from them is good quality and reasonably priced so they’re worth a look
They start at $39 for a 1.2 meter to $99 for a 2.4 meter which is perfect if you want to use one for the front of your stall.
The problem with these tables is they are no good for tall people. If you are tall it’s worth getting something to make them taller, my BIL made me some slip on steel legs that added an extra 300mm I’d show you a picture of them but someone bloody pinched them at the market.
I think the tables above look horrendous and need a tablecloth but that’s just my opinion. If you think look fine & wanna scrub them every night then skip this section, otherwise they have $9 black tablecloths at k-mart they’re made out of polyester so they don’t shrink or stain & don’t take long to dry. And to keep your table cloths & tables nice they have clear plastic table covers at spotlight for only $8.50 per meter or $30 for a whole roll.
But if you wanna be flash there are fitted branded table cloths you can buy for $188 from banner buzz which look really good on your front table.
I got sick of having to wash tablecloths so we brought some wooden trestle tables from George & Willy but they don’t make them anymore.
Who knew you needed lights in a well lit carpark? We didn’t but they are an essential part of your kit. So you can see your food, so the customers can see your food and It tells everyone you are open and ready for business!
I found these arlec clamp lights to be the best
I got ours from Bunnings but they’re only listed on their Australian website they’re nice and bright you can clamp them on to the gazebo frame and they’re LEDs so you don’t have to replace the bulbs. If you can’t find those they have the bulb clip on lights at the warehouse for $10 but buy extra bulbs cause they blow. What ever you get don’t get these stand one’s
they’re pointless and no matter where you put them you’re going to blind someone!
Power leads, extension cords & six plugs
Power is a problem at the night markets, it’s the cause of a lot of fights and some punch ups
The main thing you need to know for now is you need all your electrical equipment and power leads tested & tagged Dan the man used to be at Glenfield market (not sure if he’s at Highbury) and he will test and tag everything for you for $10 a tag. Or you can google “test & tag” there’s a few people that do it.
You need at least one 5 meter extension cord to go from your gazebo to the power box but it’s a good idea to have a few longer ones just in case the power box closest to you is full & you have to plug into a box 10 meters away. It’s also a good idea to have a piggy back extension cord so you can sneak your cord underneath one that’s already plugged in and plug theirs on top of yours but a lot of stall holders won’t let you so 🤫
Six plugs I suggest you buy the ones with a surge protector on them cause we had a few mixers blow up from the power surges.
Generally the less power points you need on the power box the less hassles you’re going to have. If you’re using low power appliances, you can plug everything into one six plug and then have 1 extension cord running to the box. But if the appliances are heating up food they use a lot of power and you might only be able to plug in one & some lights before your six plug starts blowing. So you need to check your how much power each appliance uses and what the capacity of your six plug is to determine how many you need... Hope that’s not to confusing.
When we started there were skip bins where you could throw your rubbish at the end of the night but last I heard you had to remove your own rubbish 😱 Not to sure if this is still a thing but either way I suggest you take a roll of black rubbish bags or where else are you going to throw your rubbish?
This can cost as little or as much as you want. I made these sign on my phone:
Then got them printed and laminated (So you can wipe them) at warehouse stationary. They cost about $3 each so $30 for 10 signs. I stuck them to the Velcro on the inside of the gazebo with some Velcro dots which you can also buy from warehouse stationary for a few bux. It’s also a good idea to buy a folder to put them all in.
Banners are usually used for your stall name so customers can find you the next week.
You can make these yourself at vistaprint
The 2.4m long horizontal banners are on sale at the moment and start from $46.66 excluding shipping. Make sure you use the promo codes to get the sale price.
or you can get a corflute sign Banner Express in Penrose, reasonably priced and make everything on site so they have a quick turnaround. They also do the vinyl banners and a lot of other stuff you can check them out here:
We brought custom made branded gazebo upgrades from https://www.herculesgazebo.co.nz/pop-up-gazebos/
Branded valance wrap $366
Branded side walls $344 each x 3
Branded half wall $298
+ alloy gazebo $509
= $2,205 wholly shit I didn’t know it cost that much🤮🤮🤮🤮
You need some where to store all your dollars, don’t get a little money box and put it on your front table it’ll get stolen. Like every single little money box that has ever been left on a table at the market. We used a bucket and put it under the front table and removed the bulk of it throughout the night. Some people use cash registers, algud keep an eye on it, some people put it in a bag algud just don’t use a bloody money box and definitely do not put it on the front table 🤦♀️ you also need at least $50 in change and your stall fee which has to be paid before you start, stall fees vary from market to market and stall to stall but generally they start at around (per car space):
Sylvia park $100
Mt Wellington $100
If you don’t have eftpos you will lose sales. We couldn’t have eftpos until our girl was comfortable enough serving to use it. And we noticed a huge jump in sales when we finally had it so if you can get one.
There are a few options but stock standard eftpos with a chip is the most reliable.
You can get a short term eftpos for $149 a week or $189 a month at eftposhire.co.nz just to see how you go
Or we use windcave.com which is $49 a month + 2.25% for credit card transactions but you have a 2 year contract.
Food, disposable cutlery & food containers.
You have to show you are buying food from an actual shop / supplier. If you are going to sell seafood someone will ring fisheries on you they turn up to the market all the time so you have to have receipts or they will turn up to your house the next day.
A lot of what you need is available at Gilmours if you don’t have a Gilmours card I suggest you get one now!
There are cheaper places but when you run out of something on a Saturday night and you have to be at the North shore market by 4pm you need somewhere convenient, not filled to the brim with customers, well stocked and open, that’s Gilmours! Another place is good old Pak N Save they have click and collect for $5 but physical going into shop especially on a Sunday is a nightmare.
Now is a good time to start thinking about food hygiene MPI tips for the 3 Cs Clean, Cook, Chill can be found here:
This is the absolute basics on how you do this at the market, you will have to do more or less depending on your food safety plan:
We put a Jerry can with a tap on the edge of a table with a bucket underneath. With hand soap & paper hand towels next to it and we got the all goods from the council every time! You should also have hand sanitizer in your stall.
A spray bottles with diluted bleach
Dish washing liquid
A big basin
A jug to boil the water
And a container with a lid to store all your cleaning equipment in cause you can’t store cleaning products with food!
Before you start cooking wash your hands!
Boil some water out of your Jerry can and wipe everything down with hot soapy water.
Spray with your diluted bleach and you’re ready to go!
And when you finish don’t just throw everything in the car🙅♀️ get your big basin out fill it with hot soapy water and do your dishes.
You need to think about how you are going to transport food to the market, how you are going to store it at the market, and how you are going to pack up and transport it back to a fridge when your finished. while keeping this in mind:
Potentially hazardous foods should be kept at 5 °C or colder or above 60 °C wherever possible, however ready-to-eat foods can safely remain between 5 °C and 60 °C for up to 4 hours. This is because it takes more than 4 hours for food poisoning bacteria to grow to dangerous levels.
You can use poly bins & ice blocks made in ice cream containers or chilly bins or even a fridge or a freezer, we have a fridge / freezer that looks like a huge chilly bin that fits in the back of our van. Unplugged & closed it stays cold for 20 days. It’s the meke & not at all necessary. What ever you use you have to make sure the food stays within the safe zone by checking temperatures. It can get extremely hot at the market so the better your cold storage is the less likely it is going to go into the danger zone so the less wastage you will have! We never used poly bins so I’m not sure how long they keep the contents cold for and the council doesn’t like them because they are porous so blood from raw meat will soak into them and they can’t be cleaned properly. We used fishing chilly bins & technice packs which was more expensive but they kept everything within the safe temperature zone for at least a couple of days (less 🤬wastage).
You also have to store cooked & raw foods separately. High risk & low risk foods also have to be stored separately. In other words don’t put a a cream cake in the same chilly bin as chicken. And don’t put raw chicken in the same chilly bin as cooked. With this in mind go and figure out how many chilly bins you need to buy.
You have to check & record your foods temperature every 4 hours and yes the council checked our log books every time.
We use an infrared thermometer they are $54 from mitre 10
You have to calibrate & record calibrations regularly in your log book. You calibrate your thermometer by boiling some water and checking the temperature reads 100 degrees.
You need cooking appliances if you are cooking. It all depends on what you are cooking as to what you need. Here are a few places to look:
You should keep in mind is how much power your appliances use and if it’s better to use gas. Sometimes the power doesn’t go on till 5pm giving you a half an hour to cook all your food. Then there’s times when the generator blows. So gas is a way around the power issue.
You also need seperate clearly labeled utensils, boards & containers for raw food & cooked food.
How do you know your food is cooked? You have to be able to answer this question and the correct answer is:
You use a meat thermometer to check temperatures at the middle of the thickest part (internal temperature should be 75 degrees Celsius).
So if you are cooking high risk foods like chicken you need a meat thermometer. And another log book to record your temperatures and calibrations. $21.99 from mitre 10
Holding hot food
Here is the holding hot food section from the food control plan:
You can get around this by making food to order so you’re hot holding hot food but depending on what you’re selling that might not be practical and you know what they say...people eat with their eyes.
Most of the Chinese food stalls use electric frying pans to display & keep their food hot. But you can use a Bain Marie, hot food cabinet or we kept our hangi in the multi Kai cookers and our chowders in slow cookers from Kmart plus we had Chaffing dishes to keep our low risk food hot (cabbage & stuffing) it all depends on your budget and vehicle space. You just have to make sure it will keep your food at the correct temperature & enable you to comply with the food plan. And you will need another temperature log book.
If you are cooking food you need at least a fire blanket, there $20 at mitre 10
fire extinguishers are placed around the market by the organisers.
And last but not least a way to display your food if you want to do that.
We used a cold display unit cause we wanted our food served cold as it should be and also to minimise wastage🤬but some stalls just make up a sample dish or as I said previously the Chinese food stalls use cheap frying pans. Or some stalls put all their cooking equipment (BBQs etc) at the front of their stalls so that is their display. Completely up to you, your budget & vehicle space.
Next blog post will be: Choosing your menu