Florida Vendors: HELP!!!
Sat, 02/25/06 10:36 AM
My Mobile Food Unit is permitted throughout Pennsylvania, only serves espresso-type drinks. Everything is NSF, I have a 110 degree handwash sink, waste tank, etc.
My son lives in Florida, and hooked us up with a very good location for the Spring Break crowds. I registered with the state, got my sales tax stuff, studied the food code, regarding pushcarts, trucks, MFU's, and it looked to me that what Florida called a Mobile Food Dispensing Vehicle is enclosed and has a 3 basin sink on board. Mine is the type you stand next to, and no 3 basin sink. (http://www.hoboespresso.com)
Since I am coming to a single location, limited duration event (and am in front of my commissary) and will not do mobile sales at all, it looked to me like I should apply as a semi-permanent vendor at a temporary event. I called the DBPR and requested this kind of license/inspection. I did this from Pennsylvania, a couple weeks ago. An Inspector called me back and said that I shouldn't worry about it, they really didn't regulate coffee-only. Feeling clear, I continued to spend money on this venture, and came to Florida to get my final permit, the mercantile head tax from the local municipality. Passed the ordnance concerns with the building department, then the last sentry said "If DBPR doesn't need to license you, get it in writing."
So I went to the local office, but had been kicked upstairs to the District Manager. Nice guy, but he didn't want to issue a statement that he had no statement, and said, anyway, beverages were regulated by the Department of Agriculture, and I had better call them. This was late Friday afternoon, and I missed the office hours. I got on the internet, Ag Dept & Consumer Services, and cannot find a dang thing on their website about beverages, limited sales mobile vendor, or anything like that, and they do regulate about 100 industries or businesses.
Now I am trying to get information, so that I can have some control of the discussion Monday morning. I thought I'd done my homework, I've spent a lot of money, and now I'm down here in some kind of holding pattern, and the crowds arrive next week. Obviously, one of the worst case scenarios is that they throw me into some kind of Plan Review that takes weeks, in which case I would bail and bind my wounds.
Is there anyone out there doing beverage business, mobile or temporary, under the Department of Agriculture? What do you have and how did you get it? Sorry for a long post. You can easily imagine how grateful I'll be for any info, hint, rumor or experience.