Getting NYC street food concession up and running
Hi. I'm an experienced NYC restaurant cook who's been doing a lot of research about street food, with the idea of getting my own food concession going as soon as possible. I'd appreciate whatever info and advice those of you with actual experience and knowledge in the area can provide me with.
My particular plan is to do something with the great BBQ recipes I've been developing, and I'll probably start a post in the BBQ forum as well, soliciting advice on that specific food group.
For now, my questions are of a more generic nature about selling whatever kind of street food in NYC.
Can a food cart or truck be rented or leased? If so, where and for how much?So far, my research has only found people willing to sell their carts/businesses but I haven't found anyone willing to rent or lease one. Used carts seem to start at about $4,000. Can anyone suggest a better way of starting up on a small budget? My ideal situation would be to rent a lunch/catering truck, but I have a feeling that would be cost prohibitive, and I'll probably wind up with a cart.
Is it necessary to create a corporation or an LLP? I"ve been told no, but it seems the potential liability in this business would make it essential. Anyone with some perspective on the subject or the name of a lawyer/accountant who specializes in this area?
Insurance. Is it necessary? How much?
Does everyone bring their cart to their locations or are their any services that will bring the cart to my location and pick it up at day's end? Right now, I don't have a car so I'm hoping to avoid that expense too. Any suggestions? Also, is an SUV required to haul a cart, or will a regular car do the trick? Do you need a special license to haul a food trailer? How did you all learn to maneuver a trailer? Should the towing vehicles owned/insured by the corporation/llp? If I need to rent a car at the start, are there any contractual prohibitions against towing a commercial trailer?
I've been trying to locate a good licensed parking depot/commissary kitchen, either in Manhattan or Queens. The City Dept. of Health grudgingly gave me the names and addresses of four of them, like I was asking for their personal gold or something. Can anyone recommend a particular one that they like? How much can I expect to pay to store my vehicle and prep my food? Do they usually provide refrigeration/storage facilities? Do some have better prep kitchens for those of us with more elaborate prep needs? Are there any other considerations I should take into account that I might not have thought of?
Are there any other significant costs I might not have recognized yet?
Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.