Before you can take to the streets with your new food truck business, you’ll have to acquire the proper permitting. Although food trucks share similarities with restaurants in regards to selling food, there are some differences between restaurant permits and licenses and those required for food truck vendors. We’ll provide you with a list of the most common food truck licenses and permits required by almost every state and offer examples of some permits you may encounter depending on where you plan to sell your food.
Along with food truck insurance, you’ll need the appropriate food truck permits and licenses for your city and state to sell food legally. Licenses may vary in name, so be sure to check with your county clerk or state business office to ensure you’ve covered all of your bases. The following are the most commonly required food truck permits and licenses, regardless of where you live:
Also known as a “vendor license” or “basic business operation license”, a business license allows you to operate a business in your desired city and state. Acquiring the license means that the government recognizes your operation as a legitimate business and can track your business for tax purposes.
A food truck business license can typically cost anywhere from $50 to $500, but application prices and terms will vary depending on your city. Be sure you know when your license expires and how to renew it. Some cities will limit the number of mobile food vendor licenses they distribute, sometimes putting new vendors in a lottery, so be sure to apply as soon as you complete your food truck business plan. To find out how to apply for a business license, visit your county clerk’s website, or check the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
An Employer Identification Number, more commonly referred to as an EIN or Social Security Number, is a federal tax ID number that registers your business with the IRS. It allows you to open a business bank account, create a credit profile, and hire employees. Some states provide this number along with your business license.
Your Employer Identification Number is free through the IRS and can be applied for via their website, fax, or mail. The processing time can be around 4 weeks so be sure to apply with plenty of time before you open.
To drive a food truck, you’ll be required to have a valid state driver’s license and registration for your truck just as you would with your car. In most states, your standard driver’s license will suffice. However, other states will use the weight and length of your vehicle to determine if you will need to apply for a commercial driver’s license.
A driver’s license can cost anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on the state and license type. To apply for a driver’s license, reach out to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for their requirements and application process.
A food handler's permit, also known as “food handler's license” or “food manager certificate”, is granted to those who complete food handler training and a food safety course. In most states, only the manager-on-shift is required to obtain the permit. Other states call for one or more employees to have a valid permit at all times if food is to be handled, prepared, cooked, or stored on the premise. The permit provides customers with the peace of mind that your food truck staff is knowledgeable and skilled in sanitary and safe food-handling strategies. Having your managers certified also means that a health inspector can be sure that someone on staff has in-depth knowledge of food safety.
Food handler's permits typically cost less than $50 and are valid for approximately 5 years. Cities will typically require most, if not all, employees on a food truck to have their food handlers certificate and request that the cards are visible to the public. To obtain a food handler's permit, visit the ServSafe website to receive the study material and locate a testing site near you.
A health department permit, or “food service license”, is issued by the health department and indicates that your truck passed the health inspection. An agent from the health department will examine your truck in search of health code violations and provide you with notes on what to correct along with an overall grade for your truck. They check for proper food storage, overall cleanliness, and that clear HACCP plans are in place. Most cities require that your health score be displayed where customers can see.
A health department permit can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000 depending on the city. You can contact your local health department via phone or email to request and schedule a visit from an inspector.Back to Top
Each state and city will have their own permits that are necessary for food truck owners to obtain before they can commence their operations. Large cities typically have a clear list available of the permits needed for food trucks in their jurisdiction. However, if you operate in smaller towns, you may find the information harder to obtain. Here are just some food truck permits and license you may encounter after you buy a food truck:
A seller’s permit is required in some states to allow foodservice business owners to purchase ingredients and supplies at wholesale prices without needing to pay sales tax. The tax would be collected when the product is sold to customers so that the item is not taxed twice. Check your local state government’s website to learn if a seller’s permit is needed in your state and how to apply for one.
In some counties, you'll need to get your food truck inspected by not only the health department but the fire department as well. In most cases, this will only be necessary if you have cooking equipment and gas lines on your truck. If you only sell refrigerated items, you most likely will not need a fire inspection but it is best to check with your local jurisdiction just to be sure. The fire department will want to check your cooking equipment for proper installation and function, your electrical wiring, and to ensure that there is a fire suppression system in your vehicle.
You’ll want to check with your local county clerk about the need for parking permits in the areas where you plan to sell your food. Some streets may be off-limits to food trucks entirely or have time and date restrictions. Other cities have designated dates for food trucks to reduce congestions and stagger the trucks on the streets. Your parking permit will indicate where and when you can park your truck during business hours. It will also indicate if you can leave your truck on the street overnight or if it must be stored in a garage when not in use.
Your city may require that you store your supplies and do food prep in a commissary kitchen before setting out for the day in your food truck. If that is the case, you may also need a commissary letter of agreement, which is a signed document between you and the commissary owner confirming your access to the facility and what services you’re permitted to use on location. The commissary would provide you with a cooking space and access to fresh water, trash services, and food storage, along with other agreed-upon terms.
It’s rare, but a couple of cities require that food truck owners provide them with a standard operating procedures document before opening to the public. This document should outline the process you and your employees take to perform tasks on your truck. You’ll need clear step-by-step lists detailing how each dish is made, how your equipment should be cleaned and sanitized, and how your truck should be locked up for the night. Some food truck owners save a copy of these documents for their training handbook.
A special event permit, also known as a “vending permit”, is a temporary permit that allows you to sell food at a particular venue location during the duration of an event. Most sporting events, festivals, and concerts will have an event coordinator who can inform you about the permit types needed to vend food on the property and how long those permits need to be valid for. So if you’re planning to cater a wedding with your food truck, you’ll want to ask the venue coordinator what permit they’ll need from you to do so.Back to Top
Finding out what permits you need for a food truck is an essential part of running a successful business. The permits can vary depending on which type of mobile food business you own and where you plan to sell food so be sure to reach out to your local small business office and county clerk for a complete list of permits you need to operate legally. Use our list above to learn what to expect as you get your business off the ground.
Breweries are popular with a variety of customers, whether they're a casual beer drinker, a craft beer enthusiast, or just looking for a place to spend Friday night. As the demand and popularity of beer continues to rise, so does the interest in new breweries. If you’re considering opening a brewery of your own, we’ve compiled a list of steps and tips to help guide you through the process and successfully open your own business. Shop All Brewery Equipment Click any of the tips below to read the section that interests you: Write a Brewery Business Plan Choose a Brewery Concept Determine the Cost of Starting a Brewery Secure Brewery Funding Apply for Permits and Licenses Choose a Brewery Location Buy Brewery Equipment Create a Draft List and
In order to serve guests in the age of COVID-19, caterers and event planners are adapting traditional methods of serving large groups to promote a safer environment. By changing the way caterers view party planning and through the use of key disposable products, it’s still possible to serve food in group settings. Check out our catering ideas and learn how you can organize a safe event. Shop All Disposable Catering Supplies 1. Micro Events Think small. Guest lists are shrinking as more caterers plan micro events instead of large gatherings. Micro events are small gatherings with a limited number of attendees, which makes it easier to promote social distancing guidelines . With more space available, you can arrange y
If you’re looking to start your own food truck , one of the most important business steps is investing in insurance. Without the right insurance or proper coverage, your food truck is at risk of costing you thousands of dollars or putting you out of business entirely. In this resource, you’ll get an idea of how much food truck insurance might cost and which insurance types you may need to purchase to ensure that your mobile business is protected. Click on the headings below to learn more: What Type of Insurance Is Needed for a Food Truck? How to Get Food Truck Insurance Where Do I Get Food Truck Insurance? Food Truck Insurance FAQ Food Truck Insurance Cost The average cost of food truck insurance is approximately $2,000 - $4,000 a year but
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If you’ve never used an infrared thermometer, chances are you aren’t familiar with how they work or how to get precise results. While they may not be as simple to use as dial or digital thermometers , infrared thermometers offer a variety of additional features and benefits in comparison. Below, we’ll investigate what an infrared thermometer is, how to use one, and how they work. Shop All Infrared Thermometers What Is an Infrared Thermometer? Infrared thermometers, also known as no-contact thermometers or temperature guns, are handheld devices designed to accurately measure temperatures by gauging the intensity of thermal radiation without making physical contact. Their no-contact design allows you to record temperatures from a distance whi
Airbnb is an online service that allows people to rent their homes to others. Not only does it serve as an alternative to traditional hotels and motels , but it often lets travelers find quality accommodations for less than the cost of a typical hotel stay. If you’ve never rented your home through Airbnb, you might find it difficult to determine what to offer guests during their stay. Below, we’ve compiled a list of supplies, amenities, and products to help make your vacation rental stand out from the rest. Airbnb Checklist A successful host should go above and beyond to ensure each visitor has everything they need. You don’t have to own a mansion or a million-dollar home to impress your guests during their stay. For this reason, we’ve comp
Labor costs are a major expense in the restaurant industry. As a business you should aim to be cost efficient when purchasing food products and spend as little as possible, but on the other hand, you need to keep your restaurant properly staffed with competent and productive employees . By hiring the right staff, utilizing them well, and using technology in your restaurant, your bottom line can benefit greatly. Calculating Labor Costs in Your Restaurant You can choose to track your labor costs on a quarterly, monthly, or weekly basis, depending on your preference. Here's instructions for how to calculate individual employee labor costs. Split out your employees with the same pay rates into a spreadsheet, chart, or list. Write their na
Opening a restaurant is your dream, but is it something you can afford? Don't give up if you're intimidated. Just like any big investment, most people require financial assistance in the form of a bank loan to afford the startup costs. We'll help you weed through the individual costs of starting a restaurant so you can create a reasonable budget and acquire the funding you need. How Much Does it Cost to Open a Restaurant? The median cost of opening a restaurant is $275,000 or $3,046 per cover for a leased space, according to a recent survey. This number jumps to $425,000 or $3,734 per cover with an added land purchase. Numbers like this can be slightly deceiving because there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cost of your
Fine dining restaurants are known for delivering the highest level of customer service. Guests expect elegant ambiance, upscale table settings, and a menu with higher price points. They also expect servers to uphold fine dining etiquette. We’ve made a guide of fine dining etiquette tips to help new servers provide their guests with the most professional service possible. Click any of the server etiquette tips below to learn more about fine dining rules: Preparing for Service Formal Table Settings Service Etiquette Cutlery Etiquette How to Serve Wine Clearing the Table Grooming and Behavior Tableside Service Etiquette FAQs Server Etiquette Tips Fine dining can be intimidating and mysterious to the uninitiated. Other styles of serving custome
According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 30 to 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, which ends up costing approximately $165 billion every year. One of the biggest contributors to the food waste problem is the restaurant industry, and all of that waste can hurt your bottom line. By setting goals for your restaurant and making some small changes such as taking inventory, changing your food orders, and using your food creatively, you can have a major impact on your profit margin. How to Control Food Cost Reducing food costs and waste starts with tracking and monitoring the food coming into your restaurant. Many restaurants order food in bulk shipments, but it can be difficult to use all of that food before it
Restaurants are costly operations to run, and some of the largest expenses go toward paying overhead. By tracking and looking for cost-saving opportunities in your rent, advertising, equipment, and utility bills, you can lower expenses and boost profits in your restaurant . How to Reduce Overhead Costs Many of the expenses that factor into a restaurant's costs are fixed expenditures, but there are some actions you can take to reduce overhead costs. Taking steps like negotiating with suppliers and landlords or buying newer, more efficient appliances can have a big impact on your bottom line. To reduce your restaurant overhead cost, take the following steps: Calculate your restaurant’s overhead cost Find ways to lower your restaurant rent bil
If you have ever been to a cafe or coffee shop, you know the drink menu is often overwhelming. As a coffee shop owner, there are so many types of coffee drinks you can offer your customers that it's difficult to understand the difference between them. We explored the most popular coffee drinks and their recipes so you can get familiar with them and keep up with current coffee trends . Shop All Coffee Supplies Brewing Styles Compared Not all coffee is brewed in the same way. Different brewing styles can cause changes in the flavor and strength of the drink. Here are just a few brewing styles that you may incorporate in your shop: Drip Brew Ground coffee is added to a brew basket and placed in an automatic coffee machine for this brewing styl
Working as a barista is ideal for people who have a passion for coffee, those who are looking to get into the foodservice industry , or for young people that want a great first job that will teach them lots of transferable skills. Keep reading to learn what a barista is, what a typical barista job description looks like, how to advance your career as a barista, and what qualities coffee shop owners look for in a potential hire. Barista Job Description Baristas work in many different kinds of settings that range from chain coffee shops to upscale coffee houses that brew gourmet coffee. Where you work as a barista will affect your responsibilities. That being said, there is a general barista job description that applies to most positions: Ser
Java, Joe, liquid energy, and brew are just some of the terms used to describe one of the world’s most highly consumed beverages - coffee . One of the most important factors that affect the taste of coffee is the way in which you brew it. Understanding these coffee brewing methods helps to build the foundation for some of the most popular coffee drinks offered in cafes and coffee bars, and will greatly improve your staff’s knowledge and success! Shop All Coffee Shop Equipment Ways to Brew Coffee Once coffee beans have been harvested and roasted, it’s time to convert them into a liquid. The most popular methods of doing this include using a drip coffee maker, French press, or espresso machine. Understanding these three processes is essential
Cafe managers are essential to the success of a coffee shop or cafe. A cafe manager must take care of the majority of the day-to-day tasks, have an extensive knowledge of coffee , and ensure that the cafe staff are organized and ready to serve customers daily. Below, we guide you through all of the information you will need to become a cafe manager. What Does a Cafe Manager Do? A cafe or coffee shop manager is mainly in charge of overseeing the day-to-day tasks that employees perform such as prepping the cafe, making coffee, and serving customers. Other tasks depend largely on how big the coffee shop is. Some duties could be handled by the regional manager or cafe owner. Below, we outline some of a cafe managers’ key responsibilities. Cafe
When it comes to creating specialty coffee beverages, the delicious taste is only half the appeal. In order to step up your coffee game and really impress your guests, it’s time you learned to make latte art. Not only will this bring a personal touch to each drink your baristas create, but it’s also a great way to draw in new customers. To learn all the ins and outs of making latte art, we visited Square One Coffee . Additionally, be sure to check out the video we made with Square One on how to use an espresso machine . Step-by-Step Instructions to Make Latte Art To make latte art, you first need to steam milk. Once you have steamed your milk, you're ready to start creating beautiful latte art. We'll break down how to steam milk perfectly a
Your guests likely crave a range of tastes when enjoying drinks at your bar, so what is the best bar food to serve? Creating a bar food menu can be challenging, since some customers just want your standard basket of fries, while others want a unique experience. To meet the needs of your guests, listing typical bar foods as well as your own inventive recipes are both great ideas. Below are some useful tips and bar food ideas to create a well-rounded menu that’s sure to satisfy any hungry customer. Create a Bar Food Menu with the Classics Among the changing bar trends in the industry, some of the best bar food staples remain the same. Below are some common bar menu ideas to satisfy your customers and maximize your profits. French fries Onion
After you've deliberated and chosen the best kegerator for your business, it's time to set up your beer dispenser and start serving fresh, cold beer! We've got step-by-step directions and an instructional video to help you through the process. Use our steps as a general guideline, but always refer to your equipment manual for the manufacturer's specific instructions. Shop All Beer Dispensers 1. Unpackage the Kegerator First remove all the packaging from your kegerator. If the unit has been transported on its side, let the unit stand upright for at least 24 hours before plugging it in. Move the unit to its final location and install it on a level surface. Make sure to provide clearance around the unit for ventilation, per the man
You put a lot of work into running your bar , but you’ll end up limiting your customer base without the proper bar promotion ideas. Check out the following bar marketing ideas to get your creative juices flowing and help solve any visibility or awareness issues that you might encounter. You can navigate to the different bar promotional ideas by using the following links: Bars Social Media Promotions and Online Advertising Bar Menu Promotions and Diversification Bar Entertainment Seasonal Bar Promotions and Calendar Events Bar Publicity and Partnerships 1. Bars Social Media Promotions and Online Advertising Smartphones are depended upon by most of the population for communication, browsing, working, and social interactions. What better way t
Bartending is a complex job that requires employees to juggle multiple tickets at once, upsell customers, facilitate sales, remember complicated drink recipes, and much more. But, having a staff of competent bartenders is essential for ensuring the success of your bar . We'll walk you through all the steps of how to hire a bartender from writing a job description to interview tips, to ensure you find the right candidate for your bar or restaurant. Types of Bartenders There are many different types of bartenders, each with varying levels of education and experience, and not every bartender is the right fit for each bar or establishment. For example, you wouldn't need a highly skilled sommelier or cicerone to serve drinks at your wedding rece
Corkscrews and wine openers are a necessary part of any foodservice establishment looking to serve wine. These tools seem like a simple subject since they only have one purpose. Yet, there are many options and the choices for the consumer vary greatly. Read on to learn more about the various types of corkscrews!
Switching from single-use Styrofoam containers and plastic bags to more eco-friendly disposables is an easy way for your business to reduce its environmental impact while appealing to your customers. Whether you're looking for eco-friendly materials to align with your sustainable menu or to comply with new regulations, there is an eco-friendly food packaging solution for you!
If you have questions about the benefits of Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs , how to use them, and how to dispose of CFL light bulbs, check out our FAQs below. We also have helpful tips on how to choose the right CFL bulb and how ENERGY STAR rated CFLs can save you money. Use the links below to jump to the section that interests you.
Running a foodservice operation requires a lot of thinking. You have to order ingredients on time, balance your finances, and manage your staff amidst a world of other concerns. As important as it is to consider what food you’re making, it’s equally important to think about what happens to food that’s left uneaten. According to Feeding America , America produces an estimated 70 billion tons of food waste each year. This is something your customers care about, as demonstrated by food waste statistics. A study by Unilever , revealed that 72% of U.S. diners said that they care about how food waste is handled. 47% are concerned enough that they would be willing to spend more money to eat at a place that actively tries to reduce its food w
Reducing your restaurant's overall energy consumption not only lowers your utility costs , it's also better for the environment. Many food service professionals have been adopting energy conservation methods for the past decade and have drastically cut their energy use and expenses. Here, we've outlined energy conservation tips that will reduce your water and electricity use. 10 Energy Conservation Methods It can be easier than you think to reduce energy consumption in your kitchen with our energy-saving methods! Here are our top 10 tips for conserving energy in your business. Click any of the tips below to read the section that interests you: Energy Efficient Equipment Equipment Maintenance Reduce Water Consumption Efficient Lighting Decre
Do you want your restaurant to become more environmentally friendly or more involved with the local community? Even if you just want to give your establishment's marketing plan a boost, restaurant composting might be a great solution. According to the EPA, 60-80% of garbage produced by restaurants was food waste. By composting you can reduce your environmental impact by keeping waste out of the landfill, lower your waste hauling and disposal costs, and find a whole new way to connect with the people in your community! What is Composting? Composting is the process of breaking down food scraps and other organic waste like grass clippings and certain paper and cardboard items using heat, moisture, agitation, air-flow and sometimes even earthwo
If you’re looking for ways for your restaurant to go green this year , investing in ENERGY STAR appliances will help your business to save money while reducing your carbon footprint. In this guide, we’ll explain what ENERGY STAR is, what it means for appliances, and how you can check if you qualify for any ENERGY STAR rebates. Shop All ENERGY STAR Equipment What Is ENERGY STAR? ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program that provides labels and certifications, backed by the government, that indicate if a product meets a particular energy-efficient standard. ENERGY STAR was established in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a way to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants that are released into the environment by commercia
What is chafing fuel ? Which type of chafing dish fuel should I be using and how do I use it? If you have these questions, you've come to the right place! Choosing the right chafing fuel can increase profits and reduce accidents caused by improper use. Whether you're looking to compare the various types of fuels or research their diverse applications, this chafing fuel guide is sure to help you determine which fuel is best for your specific foodservice application. Use the following links to explore the information about chafing fuel we have so you can make more informed purchases for your business! Wick Fuel vs Gel Fuel What Kind of Fuel Do You Use in a Chafing Dish? What is the Difference Between Twist-Off Metal Caps and Stem Wicks with P
A charger plate is a large, decorative base setting on top of which other dinnerware is placed during formal occasions such as catered events, weddings, upscale parties, banquets, or in fine dining restaurants. Also known as service plates, under plates, or chop plates, charger plates are merely decorative and are not meant to come in direct contact with food. Charger plates provide an elegant way to serve multiple course meals , where each course is served in a separate bowl or plate, and placed on top of the charger. Shop All Charger Plates Charger plates are available in a variety of colors, materials, lengths/diameters, and shapes for you to choose from to match the decor, mood, and style of your particular event. Chargers are used in m
Wedding receptions are expensive. With pricy venues and the cost of food for a large group, the price of a wedding can be astronomical. To get around these costs and make your big day unique , perhaps it’s time to consider catering your own wedding. This endeavor certainly has its share of obstacles, but with proper planning, it’s easy to get the fairytale ending you’ve always wanted. Below, you can find some tips and guidelines to consider when catering your own wedding. Shop All Wedding Supplies Create a Detailed Plan Nothing is more important when catering your own wedding than staying organized. Start by planning your menu. Once that’s nailed down, consider everything that you need in order to serve what’s on your menu and wr
Table skirting can transform any table from dreary and drab to tidy and professional! Whether you're setting up for a business event or giving out free samples to showcase your products, table skirts are a great way to improve the overall look of your display.
Catering an off-site event requires organization and planning. Accounting for supplies and catering equipment before your staff steps onto the delivery truck ensures no items are left behind. We’ve made a catering checklist to help you prepare for your event and set your employees up for success. If you’re just getting started in the catering business , this is a good introduction to the items you’ll need for a full-scale, off-site event. Click below for a downloadable catering checklist template: Download our Catering Checklist PDF Table Settings The style of the event will dictate the types of items you’ll need for table settings . Upscale weddings and events require more items to complete a table setting, including cloth napkins, charger