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Food Truck Health Inspection

Although it may be tempting to put off certain repairs to your food truck or overlook a few minor health violations in hopes that the health inspector won’t pay you a visit in the near future, a better practice is to treat every day as the day an inspector will show up.

Today we provide some tips to keep that food truck health inspections spotless and those citation costs to a minimum:

Tips For Acing Your Food Truck Health Inspection

Inspect your truck every month

The best way for you and your employees to prepare for any inspection is by performing a self-inspection on your food truck every month. The saying “practice makes perfect” fits perfectly into any conversation about the health inspections your food truck receives.

When conducting self-inspections, you should take the role of the inspector and have another staff member take your role so your employees know what will be looked at and how they can help maintain your truck with minimal assistance.

Here are some tips for conducting your own monthly food truck health inspection:

  • Surprise your employees with an inspection.
  • Arm yourself with the right tools.
  • Use the local inspection sheet.
  • Start outside.
  • Give your truck the white-glove treatment.
  • Ask “why” questions.
  • Check your records.
  • Point out the positive as well as the negative.
  • Review your findings.
  • Schedule a mandatory staff meeting to delegate tasks

Within a day of your monthly self-inspection, or an official health department inspection, schedule a staff meeting to go over the findings. Make sure your staff knows this meeting is more official than your regular meetings. Be sure to have an agenda plus a time and action plan, and assign tasks to each employee regarding what needs to be inspected and cleaned in order to comply with health department regulations.

Figure out what to fix from the past

Use your previous inspection reports, which the health department provides upon completion of its inspection, as a guide to help you and your staff clean your kitchen,service window area, storage, and cooler areas.

Before an inspector shows up, he usually does the same thing and typically makes a point of reexamining these areas to make sure you’re keeping them up to snuff. Showing that you’ve taken care of previous issues tells an inspector that you take his reports seriously. Some health officials even speed up their inspections knowing that you’re willing to listen to them and follow their advice.

Ask for an inspection by an exterminator

Nothing will shut down a food truck faster than an inspector finding a cockroach or the remains of a little critter. Because rodents, flies, cockroaches, and other pests can contaminate food and food preparation surfaces, any evidence of vermin or insects inside a food truck can cause pointdeductions.

If an active infestation is discovered, the health inspector can shut down the establishment immediately and keep it closed until the problem is resolved.

Check your refrigeration

You and your employees open and close your food truck refrigerators numerous times throughout the day, causing their internal temperature to rise several degrees. If your refrigerator is set at exactly the minimum required temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit, the actual temperature may be several degrees higher by the middle of the day.

Consistently check the temperature inside the refrigerators to make sure your food is being stored at the proper temperature.

Another refrigeration area to look at is the drainage. Each week, make sure your drains are flowing freely by pouring boiling water into the bottom of the appliance to find and remove any clogs.

Keep your cooler shelves clean

The bottoms of cooler shelves have a tendency to collect grime, dirt, or residue from vegetables, meat, spilled milk, and so on and are regularly missed by cleaners. A lot of fairly new restaurants are found guilty of making this mistake during the inspection following their openings.

Every week, or as needed, fill a sink with warm soapy water, remove all trays and racks from the inside of the cooler, and wash them in the sink. Wash the inside of the cooler along the sides and bottom with the warm soapy water, too.

Check your water temperature

Over time, the water heaters used in food trucks can fail to reach their maximum water temperature. Although the water may feel hot to your touch, it may not meet your health department’s standard.

Why risk a mark against you during your inspection — or even a fine — if using a thermometer under your water tap monthly can help you avoid it? If you determine that your water heater isn’t producing water at its maximum temperature (check the manufacture’s guide for the specific data for your equipment), contact a licensed plumber to repair or replace the unit.

Clean your coffee mugs

Your personal coffee mugs or water cups that you have sitting around while you’re busy working the grill can be inspected, too. The problem probably isn’t a citable one, but any significant sign of dirt and wear can affect the way the inspector perceives your entire operation.

Make an appointment for an inspection

After you and your team have completed a thorough cleaning of the truck, call your health inspector and ask him to schedule your vehicle for an inspection. Let him know that you’re attempting to achieve a high health department score and that you’d like an inspection in the near future.

Due to their tight schedules, many inspectors will fit you in as soon as possible because they know they’ll be busy later in the year as new inspections, reinspections, and follow-up inspections are called for. And that way, you’ll know that your truck is as clean as possible during the inspection.

Inform your staff that the health inspector is coming

Make sure every one of your employees knows that the inspector may show up. Even if it’s a week before the scheduled inspection, make sure your employees are on their toes by monitoring the truck’s cleanliness and pointing out issues that need correction immediately.

Remind everyone to wash his hands frequently, and keep water splashed in the hand sinks. Nothing is worse than having your hand sinks dry when the inspector shows up. Also make sure you have hand sanitizer in the truck.

We hope these tips help you breeze by your next Food Truck Health Inspection. If you happen to have any additional tips that you have found helpful, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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san bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO, CA - San Bernardino County supervisors on Tuesday will consider amending its food truck ordinance, which if approved would lift the permit requirement for vendors at businesses or nonpublic events.

The county is the only one in California that does not allow roaming food trucks. In April 2012, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance establishing guidelines for food truck sanitation and inspection as well as a permitting process for major and minor events.

Board Chairwoman Janice Rutherford, who proposed the ordinance in 2012, is pushing to lift restrictions so food trucks can roam freely and vendors can sell their wares wherever they want.

“I think particular business owners who want to have food trucks on their property should be able to do that without another layer of red tape,” Rutherford said Friday. “I’m certainly going to raise that to my colleagues on Tuesday and see if we have the support to get there.”

The requested amendment to the ordinance came after a vendor complained to the county that they needed to get a three-year permit to sell food to workers at a construction site for about six months, said Scott Vanhorne, Rutherford’s communications director.

During an inaugural food truck festival Thursday in the parking lot of San Bernardino City Hall, lines were so long at the trucks that people wound up going to the neighboring Molly’s Cafe to eat because they didn’t want to wait so long, Rutherford said.

“There’s a synergy that food trucks bring that the county could benefit from,” Rutherford said.

The amended ordinance would only apply to unincorporated areas of the county and not impact the county’s 24 cities. County staff is also recommending that events with a minimum of 100 attendees be required to obtain permits from the county, redefining under minor food truck events as those with 100 to 499 attendees and major food truck events as those with 500 or more persons, according to a staff report prepared for supervisors.

Find the entire article at sbsun.com <here>

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8 Lessons For Future Food Truck Owners

When I was researching to start my own food truck (still in the planning stages) as well as the research I did for my book, “Running A Food Truck For Dummies”, I had the great fortune of receiving a lot of great advice from a lot of people with food truck experience.

In the spirit of sharing, I thought I would jot down some of the lessons I found the most helpful.

8 Lessons For Future Food Truck Owners

You can’t do it alone

Over the years you’ve heard about food trucks across the country as “one man” or “one woman” shows. The truth is there is no such thing. Sure, there are many successful food truck owners who came from backgrounds with very few advantages in life.

It’s also true that all of these people had to work incredibly hard to get where they are and they should be recognized for their hard work, but they still aren’t one person shows. No one is. Every single person who has experienced any degree of success in the mobile food industry has a long list of people they owe this success to.

You’re going to things that make you uncomfortable

Whether you have a fear of talking to strangers, or taking financial risks, being a successful food truck owner means coming up against your fears and doing what needs to be done. Every time you do something that needs to get done, despite being uncomfortable doing it, you’re bravely stepping up to the plate. Over time, the things that make you feel uncomfortable will become much easier.

Freedom comes with a price tag

There is a lot of freedom in being a food truck owner. When you work for yourself, you get to call the shots. You can take time off to do things a normal 9-5 doesn’t allow. But in exchange for these freedoms, you will have to put in long, hard hours. You may find yourself working harder than you have ever worked in your life.

You don’t have to step on other people

There is never a justifiable reason to speak poorly about your competitors, no matter what they may say about you behind your back or in public. One of the most satisfying things you can experience as a food trucker is uplifting other people, rather than pushing them down.

You have to learn how to say no

The ability to say no is crucial as a food truck owner. If you don’t master the art of saying no, sooner or later you will get burnt out and exhausted. You’ll eventually let staff and customers down if you attempt to keep up with everything. Commit only to the things you want and have the time to do well.

Flexibility is key

There are going to be times when things don’t go according to your plan. Look at your food truck business plan as a road map, and remember to leave plenty of time and space for detours. If you don’t bend, you’ll break.

Commitment is required daily

You don’t just commit to being a food truck vendor once in your life. You have to continually do it day in and day out. To take that a step further, there will be days when you have to recommit yourself multiple times a day. Doing what you love for a living sometimes means doing things you’d rather not.

You have the same amount of time as everyone else

Every food truck owner has a busy life, but most aren’t nearly as busy as they believe they are. In reality the problem isn’t that you don’t have enough time, it’s how you spend it. Try tracking everything you do for a week or two. See how many time wasters you can eliminate to make room for what you want to accomplish.

These eight lessons are just the start. There are a lot of brilliant people out there running food trucks, so I expect to keep learning every day I’m involved.

What have you learned that has changed the way you approach running a food truck? Do you have any additional lessons for future food truck owners? If so, feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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tulsa food trucks

MUSTANG, OK - Food trucks are not currently allowed in Mustang but the Mustang City Council is working to change that.

The ordinance the council is looking to pass is identical to the Oklahoma City ordinance for food trucks, Mustang City Manager Tim Rooney said.

The first council meeting to address the ordinance is Nov. 4.

Rooney said the council appears to be very supportive of the ordinance and thinks the citizens will welcome it as well.

Find the original article at koco.com <here>

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taco churros food truck

BATON ROUGE, LA - University students will soon see a new food truck driving around campus and cooking up Cajun cuisine with a South Louisiana touch.

Both Zatarain’s and the already established Taco Churro’s are owned and operated by Triple B’s Cajun Corner, based out of New Orleans. Triple B’s also serves Cajun cuisine in Tiger Stadium, The Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Smoothie King Center.

To meet the needs of students, both food trucks will start to accept Tiger Cash and Paw Points.  Jimmy Saldana, partner with Triple B’s, said that should be finalized Monday.

Saldana said LSU is currently programming the registers and that they should be set up by Monday.

He said the Zatarain’s food truck is finalizing the menu this week and should open in two weeks. It will have several options, including jambalaya and crawfish pies along with hamburgers and hot dogs, “but with a Cajun flair to it,” he said.

Trevon Williams, biological engineering senior, said he thinks adding another food truck to expand dining options is “interesting.”

“It’s good to have somewhere to pass by and get a little something to eat if you’re going to class,” Williams said.

Joseph Goodman, chemistry junior, said he likes the idea of having food trucks on campus but wants to see more variety.

“It doesn’t really seem like the one we have right now has all that much to offer. Zatarain’s would definitely be a hit here,” Goodman said.

Both Goodman and Williams agree the food trucks will ease traffic in the Union and bring more variety to the food options on campus.

“I like how it gives the students another alternative to eating in the Union or at the Northgate,” Goodman said. “I know that people kind of get tired of eating the same stuff in the Union every day.”

Find the entire article at lsureveille.com <here>