Street food is a business that matches perfectly with the mufti-cultural population in Britain. In nearly every part of the country, there is a food market with cuisine from all over the world. And Brazilian food is one of those international options you can find in the streets.
Água na Boca (mouthwatering in English) has provided some of the most popular Brazilian food to the streets of London since 2013. It’s all about Brazilian delicacies such as salgadinhos (pastry savouries), gourmet brigadeiros (chocolate truffles) and churros ( delicious doughnuts filled with chocolate or salted caramel). Working in the hospitality industry for over 14 years had given Andre Coutinho the expertise to also offer his catering services for parties and other events.
Midlands Traveller: Firstly, I’d like to know a little bit more about your career background.
Andre Coutinho: I moved to London in 1999 to study English and later in the year 2000 I decided to do a MA in Marketing Communication. I have worked before in different fields such as marketing manager, landscape assistant, TV producer assistant, cinema and etc. But since I arrived in London, I was always working in restaurants across London on the weekends doing different jobs such as barman, waiter, chef and restaurant manager.
MT: How did you start with the idea of a business such as a food stall?
AC: After a few years of managing restaurants, I decided to be my own boss and work for myself, but I didn’t have enough money to open a cafe or restaurant, so I decided to start small with a food stall.
MT: Why did you choose this kind of Brazilian food?
AC: I did a lot of research in London before I started my business because I wanted to see what I could bring to the street food environment, so I went to Brazil to get some ideas. When I was in Brazil I saw the growth of the gourmet street food market. And salgadinhos and brigadeiros that you could buy everywhere became more sophisticated, so I thought it would be a good idea to sell Brazilian street food with a little bit of twist in its ingredients.
MT: What is unique about Agua na Boca’s food?
AC: I use different flavours and spices in my food. I tried to adapt it for the British audience, every weekend I bring different food to the market, it will be never the same, and I always try new recipes
MT: Where do you usually work?
AC: Everything is made at home and taken to the markets to be sold on the weekends. Most of the markets I do are based in South London, but if I am invited to go to an event or different town I will go.
MT: What are the challenges of having a business like yours?
AC: As a street food trader we are always relying on the weather, bad weather means fewer people going out to shop, so you have ups and downs.
It’s difficult to keep your sales up to date and because of that I also provide cakes and savouries for local cafes and I take private orders.
MT: Who is your clientele?
AC: Everyone really. I have lots of Brazilian customers but the majority are British people.
MT: What is the secret to keeping the customers interested in your product?
AC: Everything is made fresh and I always have novelties in my stall, I have regular customers who come every week to my specific food.
MT: How are the internet and social media important to the success of your business?
AC: Definitely it’s very important. I have a Facebook page and Twitter account, I keep everything updated on my website, places I’m going to be etc. Also, help to attract new customers
MT: What is your advice for someone who is thinking about starting a business?
AC: Do a lot of research before you start your business, speak to the traders and learn about everything, all the aspects of the business and more important of course is to have passion for what you are going to do.
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