Owning a concession trailer or food cart can be a rewarding line of work in many ways. As a full-time job or just to earn extra income, the concession trailer business offers owners a high degree of flexibility and the freedom to customize their careers. However, just like in any profession there are rules, regulations and administrative responsibilities that come with the job.
Each state, city and local municipality has its own set of requirements and zoning laws with which concession stand owners must become familiar. Because food is subject to spoilage and can cause illness if not properly cared for, oversight is extremely important. This encourages vendors to be conscientious when it comes to practices such as storing foods appropriately and strictly adhering to expiration dates.
Rules, IDs and Permits
The cost of a vending permit will vary according to location. Fines for operating a vending business without a permit can be sizeable. Vendors should contact local health departments or municipal offices for information about permits and licenses.
Other requirements often include obtaining an employer identification number for tax purposes and securing a “retail food establishment” license. Additionally, liability, property and commercial car insurance are required for mobile food units in many states. Worker’s comp insurance is usually necessary as well for concession stand employees.
Cleanliness and Inspections
Many of the same rules for restaurants regarding food and equipment also apply to concession trailers and food stands. Standards for the storage of food and other concession supplies as well as requirements for cleaning and maintaining food service equipment are outlined by local health departments. Periodic health board and fire and safety department inspections are also to be expected.
Again, it is essential for owners of concession trailers and food carts to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations that have been established within each area that they plan to set up shop. Legal requirements come with the territory. The more experience a vendor gains in dealing with the administrative necessities surrounding food stand proprietorship, the smoother the process will become.