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 What happened to "Inspector Chuck" ??

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  • Total Posts: 8
  • Joined: 3/23/2009
  • Location: Tampa, FL
What happened to "Inspector Chuck" ?? Wed, 04/6/11 1:29 AM (permalink)
I spoke to him like last year I think about helping me with the licensing of my cart and now that my cart is ready, I cant find him. I was truly impressed by his knowledge of the system. 
Many people have told me have told me to go for the licensing my self, but I'll tell you...I have a hard time making out what the EXACT requirements for a Hot Dog Cart are here in Florida. 
I just wish I had a check list of some sort, maybe I have missed it. This is why I was interested in Inspector Chuck.
If anyone can steer me to a better website or can provide a checklist of sorts, I would certainly appreciate it. 

    • Total Posts: 1064
    • Joined: 3/10/2010
    • Location: SE MI
    Re:What happened to "Inspector Chuck" ?? Wed, 04/6/11 2:13 AM (permalink)
    Ernie, your health department should be able to tell you exactly what will be required. Here in MI I was given an inch and a half packet with state and federal requirements to serve food to the public. They covered both open carts and food concession trailers. If they have such a packet read it, I learned quite allot about food safety and how and what I will need to do to build a restaurant.
    What specific questions do you have, there are plenty of guys and gals on here that are up and running in Florida that should be able to answer just about any question you have.

      • Total Posts: 8
      • Joined: 3/23/2009
      • Location: Tampa, FL
      Re:What happened to "Inspector Chuck" ?? Wed, 04/6/11 7:41 AM (permalink)
      You would think so...Good example. When I read the guide to Florida's MFVC's ( Mobile vending) or something like says that it has to have a 3 bay sink. Yet, a few hot dog vendors that I know here in Tampa says thats not true. They say all you need is one sink. It mixes the requirements with a mobile vending food truck...cart...whatever with that of a hot dog cart. 
      They require a Commissary...but they dont tell, list or know of any commissaries in Tampa. 
      Do I have to take a food prep class to operate a hot dog truck? It really does not spell that out. Ambiguous...
      As far as the water and wastewater, thats pretty clear. The plan review ...clear, the type of foods to be sold...clear. 
      Heres one...the manual says that condiments have to of the pre-packeged type, such as pre made relish...self serve. But yet I see tons of hot dog persons heating up homemade red onions and saurkraut on their cart. 
      I mean...don't get me wrong..I am a seasoned business person. I know every business has its leeway with govermental laws and guidelines...but I really want to get this right the first time. The fees are pretty high considering "its just a hog dog cart". I mean $600 to just open subsequent insurance ...pretty steep considering there are a whole lot of businesses out there with similar or higher risk to the public which you can open for a $40 business license and no plan review...and no inspection...and no non refundable "application fee".
      Lastly...I will be using this cart for use on various Boy Scout functions, such as car washes, parades..etc.. There is a section in the FAQ's of temporary events that says specifically that organizations "like the Boy scouts and Veterans Associations" are exempt from temporary permits and are not regulated by these Florida State guidelines. YET...I showed this FAQ to a hot dog cart guy...and he said that doesn't mean anything. Theyll still require a permit.
      Finally, I called the office in Tallahassee asked for clarification regarding all these items...and they said refer to the online rules and statutes...LOL
      This is why I was going to use Inspector Chuck. 
      Again, If I am reading to much into this...or you know a specific person that I can call...I'll take the help.
      Ernie Fuentes
      Assistant Scoutmaster
      Troop 246, Camp Brorein

      <message edited by askernie on Wed, 04/6/11 7:43 AM>
        Gene's Dogs

        • Total Posts: 719
        • Joined: 7/22/2009
        • Location: Jacksonville, FL
        Re:What happened to "Inspector Chuck" ?? Wed, 04/6/11 9:43 AM (permalink)
        Hi Ernie.  I certainly agree, it is a mess.  Your HD is the only one who can tell you the final answer to most of your questions.  If you are planning to sell to the public you will need to comply with all state and local regulations.  If you are only serving to your scouts for free, I will tell you that I see churches, scouts and athletic associations set up all over the place with no special licensing of any sort.  Many of them are selling to the public, as well.  It seems legal in my town.  It shouldn't matter how you heat and serve the dogs.  That would be your HD's decision, if they ever asked you.
        I use 2oz. cups with lids for my non-squirtable  condiments.  They gave me a handout that stated pre-packaging was required for potentially hazardous foods.  There are other ways, but my HD likes it and I find it neat and clean.  Customers like the "freshly-packaged" appearance as I decorate their dogs.  Here's a cup of kraut.
        As for your cart, you need a sink with hot water to wash your hands, with a "wash your hands" sign.  You will need an extra couple of clean hot dog pinchers on hand in case you drop yours.
        Frankly, if I wanted to serve up a bunch of dogs to a bunch of scouts at a scouting event, I'd take the $1,000+ permit fees and buy a nice pull-behind cooker and feed those boys some chicken and burgers!
        I'd be interested to hear what they end up telling you.  Good luck.

          • Total Posts: 1064
          • Joined: 3/10/2010
          • Location: SE MI
          Re:What happened to "Inspector Chuck" ?? Wed, 04/6/11 9:55 AM (permalink)
          The sinks, get the 3 bay wash and a hand sink with running hot and cold water. It is pretty much the norm nationwide. All that it will take is one inspector to ruin your day.
          The prepackaged condiments rule in Florida is discussed quite often here, maybe a search or one of your neighbors will pipe in. I know that if you use chili it is supposed to be precooked, like Hormel in a can. Mayo in a squeeze bottle is a no no due to eggs in ingredients, due to the heat and possible spoilage. Squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard are ok as well as diced onions, relish, peppers, etc. Vinegar based products they consider safe. And it does not matter if you use a commissary or not regarding these rules.
          The food prep class, I would say yes you have to take one. My HD calls it food safety and it is free to attend. They explain food safety and food born diseases, it was a good class to take. They give you a certificate at the end of the 2 hour long class, no test, and you are good to go. Your local HD should have info on that.
          The Boy Scouts and Veterans. There have been threads on that here. If they are working a chrity event they do not require to have permits as they are a charitable organizations. It is not right in my book, as they normally will come in with much lower prices than the other vendors, they go for volume and do not have all of the government regs and expenses hanging over their heads. In other words, they have no overhead and can afford to give food away for donations.
          As far as calling Tallahassee, don't waste your time, any and all info will need to be had at your local HD.
          Hope this helps.
          And if I messed up something one of you FL guys or gals chime in a straighten me out.
            Buck & Vi's

            • Total Posts: 822
            • Joined: 4/19/2010
            • Location: dodging,snakes,spiders,roaches, armadillos.opposso
            Re:What happened to "Inspector Chuck" ?? Thu, 04/7/11 6:59 AM (permalink)
            the fla. h/d has a web site.. on that web site there is a e-mail addy... use it ask away they will give the answers you need . they were all very helpful to me.. very prompt, and courteous too. but... I believe you will have to take the food cert. do have to have your kraut, and chili in soufle cups or indv. packets, sinks I dont know
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