Regarding working with the health department and having trouble getting ahold of them ...
1) dig everything that they might have online out of their website first ... this is the easiest and quickest start you can get.
2) talk to a couple other local restaurant/concession owners for observations about the health dept and what they went through.
3) never assume that because someone else was allowed to do something or for that matter was allowed to use a particular piece of equipment that *you* will also be allowed to ... it does not work that way. *Don't* buy equipment before you ascertain whether you will have to get each piece of equipment individually approved ... you can waste a ton of money that way.
4) yes, show up in person. As painful as it is, suck-up and be nice. They hold all the cards and many people at the health department are bitter and petty. Many also are of the impression that they are little kings and princes unto themselves ... I digress.
5) IF in your local health department, the process is to: a) submit plans with a fee ... b) then they approve your *plans* ... c) then you can go about getting the equipment together; then do it in that order. Note that if you acquire damn near anything in advance you may waste money on equipment not allowed.
6) be nice to people at the health department ... ah ... did I mention that already(?).
7) Yes ... go down there, dressed nicely and with some concise, well thought and well researched questions to ask on the chance you are able to get an "audience". It doesn't hurt to bring a few bags of fragrant, hot french fries with you to leave with the staff (ok, I'm only slightly just exaggerating on that one ... but just slightly).
post edited by Sonny Funzio - 2014/08/06 14:01:07