When you are running a food truck business, you cannot afford to ignore the legal aspects. In fact, that is the first thing you ought to be thinking about. You absolutely must have your permit, licensing and all other legalities in order, before you launch your food truck.
You do not want to put in all that time, effort and money into running a successful food truck business only to have it shut down because you have flouted some rule.
The Legal Side of Owning a Food Truck
Every state has their own rules regarding licensing. It is advisable to call the local department of health in your state to find out the specific requirements you need to meet, depending on the type of food business you are planning to run.
In general, these are some of the legal aspects you will have to take care of:
1) Business Permits
You cannot start any business without having the necessary business licenses and permits so make sure you have this in order first. Start by going to the authorities and finding out exactly what you need so you can start on the right foot.
Most states will require you to have a business license, food service permits, and health certification. Some states may also require you to register your business with a state tax agency.
2) Documentation You Will Be Required To Submit
You can be sure that the authorities will scrutinize your documentation and your vehicle before giving you permission to launch your food truck business.
You will need to submit documentation to show:
- Proper identification.
- Vehicle license
- Proof of ownership of the vehicle.
- Food manager identification card issued by the district authorities.
- Copy of the health latest inspection report.
- Copy of your license for the service support facility.
You will be given the go-ahead only if you have all of your documentation in order and if your licenses are all valid.
3) Hygiene And Food Safety Requirements
Getting your licenses and permits before starting your business is not enough. You will need to get all permits and licenses renewed periodically. Inspectors from the health department carry out regular random checks to make sure that all food vehicles meet the standard hygiene and food safety requirements. Staying on top of this aspect is crucial. If your food truck business falls short of the requirements, they will shut you down instantly.
Some things that the health inspector will check:
- All food is stored hygienically and at the proper temperature.
- All food-handling staff are wearing disposable gloves.
- All the equipment in the food truck, from the appliances and cooking range to the sinks, are clean and well-maintained.
- Your food truck meets all health and fire codes.
4) Zoning restrictions
Your food truck may be mobile but it does not mean you can park anywhere. Every city and county has their own designated commercial and noncommercial zones and zoning restrictions. In most areas, food trucks, carts and trailers are restricted to certain areas and sometimes to certain timings too.
Before you decide to park in a particularly busy location that promises plenty of business, make sure you get a list of where you are allowed to park and which areas are out of bounds. Also find out if there are any parking restrictions.
A final word of advice
Don’t presume anything when it comes to the legal aspects of starting a food truck business. Taking the time to find out all the requirements and making sure you adhere to all legal, health and safety norms is the key to launching and running a successful truck business.