Properly licensing your Hot Dog Cart is vital to a good business operation. Call us today and we can answer any questions you might have.
DreamMaker Hot Dog Carts has been working in the industry for over 20 years, and we have assisted thousands of people in getting their own Hot Dog Cart or other food vending concession trailer licensed. We specialize in doing complete licensing packages including commissary documents for our Florida clients.
Now comes the fun part – rules, regulations & licensing. Well, maybe not the most fun part, but taking the proper steps to get your mobile food vending business on the road properly is crucial to your success. You definitely do not want to purchase a hot dog cart or mobile kitchen that you won’t be able to legally use in your intended location. You will need to research what will be required to operate a hot dog cart or mobile food concession trailer in your city. Your very first step should be to print the drawings and specifications of the cart or trailer that you like. Take them to your local health department for a preliminary review and approval before you purchase your cart and submit an application for your permit.
There are a few things that you should specifically check on. Some places mandate that only one hand wash sink be present, while others may require up to three additional sinks for ware-washing purposes. This can vary from state to state, and county to county. Make sure you ask how many sinks are required. Many times this will depend upon the local policies regarding commissary. We will discuss commissaries more below. Also be sure to discover any special plumbing requirements there might be such as special plumbing size, or water holding tank size requirements. Some municipalities will have specific requirements regarding the dimensions of the hot dog cart itself, particularly in urban areas. Cities often have designated spots downtown which they assign to mobile food cart vendors. When these locations are on public city sidewalks, a width or length restriction for your hot dog cart may be present. Also be sure to ask whether mechanical refrigeration is required and whether the cart must carry NSF certification. Once you have obtained satisfactory approval from your health department, you can order your cart and then begin the actual licensing process.
Most places will require that you be a member of a commissary. A commissary is a place where you visit to obtain fresh “potable” water, dispose of “grey” waste water, store dry goods, and do any food preparation that you may need to. The requirements for visitation will vary based on what type of vending unit you have and what the local regulations are.
The licenses and permits you will need will also vary depending on your location. Some states will issue a food service license that covers your mobile food vending business throughout the whole state. Even in these states, municipalities typically have their own permitting process. More often, licensing is at the municipal level and will require a food service license, a city business license and a sales tax certificate. It is highly recommended that you take the time to visit your city or county government offices to learn the process for your location. Typically (but not always) the licensing process is completed in two stages. You will first submit your hot dog cart plans along with your proposed menu. This step is usually called something like “plan review”. Once your “plan” is approved, you will submit your actual application for your food service license. There are usually fees associated with each step.
The process of acquiring your proper licensing is usually quite painless and can be completed in a fairly short period of time. Doing your initial research and properly planning your new business will start you off in the right direction toward amazing success.
Stay tuned for more! If you need assistance with Florida Licensing, email or call me anytime at 727-735-2412. DreamMaker Hot Dog Carts does full service Florida State food service licensing for a very reasonable fee. We can usually have you fully licensed in about two weeks!
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