Starting a Food Truck from the Tires Up
So you have decided to start a food truck, now what? Food trucks are becoming a booming business across the country but there is a lot you need to know in order to get started and stay successful. Luckily, we have set up a guide to help you make your food truck a hit starting from the tires up!
Food Truck Specifications
There are certain specifications each food truck must meet in order to be up to code. While most states have generally the same health code regulations, it is important to confirm that your state is not the exception. Here are some general requirements to help you ensure success while building your food truck.
- Each unit must have minimum kitchen standards, including hot and cold water sources, hand washing sinks, three-compartment sinks, cooking, heating and refrigeration equipment, ventilation and interior finishes.
- Some states require that service doors be no larger than 18 inches, located away from the food, and should hinge or slide open.
- Floors should be smooth, cleanable and watertight. Make walls and ceilings light colored, with smooth, easily cleanable material.
There should be proper ventilation and it should be certified by the proper authority.
- In fact, all equipment should be certified by the proper sanitation standard.
- Cooking equipment and hot holding units can be powered by vehicle electrical power or propane.
- There should be a minimum of a 40-gallon fresh water tank. The water heater should produce no less than 22 gallons per hour of water that must be at least 120°F.
Food Truck Rules and Regulations
Finding the information you need to know about the rules and regulations for food trucks can often be time-intensive. Lucky for you, we saved you some time. Here is a list of the basic rules needed and how to get more information if needed.
What licenses do you need to operate a food truck? In Oklahoma, food trucks must both acquire and display a license from the Oklahoma City County Health Department (OCCHD) and an Oklahoma Sales Tax permit. The person in charge of the food truck must also complete a food service certification program.
- To obtain an OCCHD Food Handlers license, contact (405) 419-4228 or visit occhd.org
- To obtain an Oklahoma Sales Tax Permit, contact (800) 521-3160 or visit tax.ok.gov
- Get Food service certification program information
Where can you park? Parking restrictions vary from city to city so make sure and update yourself on the specific restrictions in your city. In general, you must have a written letter of permission from the current owner of the location where the food truck will be parked. Food trucks may not stay in the same location for more than 12 hours, unless it is in conjunction with a single event or celebration.
- Verify the location you selected is zoned for the operation of food trucks. Contact your local planning and zoning department.
Do you need a permit? Every food truck must obtain a valid vendor permit and sometimes a special event permit is necessary. However, you may purchase an unlimited yearly permit to operate in Oklahoma City. Vendor permit regulations vary from city to city as well. Make sure you are aware of the regulations in your area.
- For more information about vendor permits and special event permits, visit your city’s website.
- What health and safety procedures do you need to follow? This is a huge topic so make sure you are familiar with the heath codes to avoid fines and safety hazards. The most common health code violations in Oklahoma involve improper ventilation and the physical facilities not being up to code. It is important to keep this in mind when building and operating your food truck. Here are some helpful links to help you become familiar with the Oklahoma health codes.
Here are some great resources to help you start your food truck business!
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