Just as any other business, food trucks must follow federal, state and local laws in order to operate and protect the health of their customers and employees. Here are the top legal responsibilities every mobile food business must adhere to:
- Employment and Labor. The Fair Labor Standards Act sets rules and provides guidance to ensure that employers in the United States do not violate the rights of their workers.
- Employee Information. Food trucks must verify that their employees are legally allowed to work in the United States. With the increase in illegal immigration crackdowns seen in 2008, this is becoming an even more important issue.
- Food Safety. All food service establishments including food trucks must follow local and federal food safety laws in order to minimize the chances of food poisoning outbreaks. The trucks and their commercial kitchens or commissaries are also regularly inspected by the health department to assure Food Code compliance.
- Taxes. All food trucks are required to file quarterly and yearly tax returns on payroll, income and other taxable assets to the IRS.
- Wages. Mobile food businesses are required to pay their employees based on current federal minimum wage and tipping laws.
- Insurance. There are many risks associated with running a food truck. One way to manage operational risks is through having liability, auto and workers compensation insurance.
- Worker Safety. All food truck businesses must provide a safe working environment to reduce the risk of employee injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces laws and provides recommendations for ensuring an injury-free commercial kitchen.
- Trademarking. Before opening a food truck, the owners must check to make sure that their business’ name is not already registered or trademarked by another restaurant or legal business entity.