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food truck parking tickets
Image Credit: www.nycfoodtrucks.org

Every municipality has its own parking regulations you need to know while you are operating within their city limits. Ignorance of the law is usually no defense against a food truck parking ticket, especially if the police were notified by a restaurant who felt you were parked to close to their storefront.

food truck ticket

Parking tickets in the mobile food industry have become extremely common, partially because they’re easy laws for you to break without being aware of it and also because they make a lot of money for the city. With that said they are the sort of trouble that can be easy to avoid having to pay.

Dealing With Food Truck Parking Tickets

City governments love their parking tickets, so much so that many of them get handed out even if you didn’t break a law. To avoid paying for these tickets the first thing you want to check for is a mistake.

According to parking expert Eric Feder, if anything on the parking ticket is wrong (from the date to the location to the cited violation) you have an easy way out. You can even get out of a ticket if the writing is illegible. If anything is off or wrong on your citation, contest it and you should be able to get it dismissed without much trouble.

If a mistake was made and the citation was real, you’re not necessarily out of luck. Sometimes street markings are confusing or unclear. If that’s the case, photograph your parked food truck, the area around it, and any relevant signs to show as evidence for when you’re in court. You can’t argue ignorance to the law, but if the law can’t be easily understood you can argue that.

You’re also in the clear if your parking violation was the result of an emergency. For example, if your engine overheated and you had to run to a store to get water or antifreeze to cool it off, your receipt can be used as proof to show what you were doing when the ticket was issued.

This is the case for virtually any emergency, so long as you have proof. Technically you could fake an emergency to get out of a parking ticket, but you should really try an honest approach. Most judges are pretty good at detecting lies, so think twice about trying something dishonest.

We hope this article will help a mobile vendor get out of having to pay for a food truck parking ticket they either did not break any law to receive or merely received because the street markings were confusing.

Not only can the fees for these tickets become expensive, but they can get your food truck on the radar of the local ticketing officers who may spend more of their time looking for your truck to give you additional tickets later on. Food truck parking tickets can be the bane of a vendors existence due to the fact that if they want to fight them, it requires that they take time out of the truck to fight them.

Do you have any additional tips on how to beat a food truck parking ticket? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section below, Tweet us, or share them on our Facebook page.

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PETALUMA, CA - Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds, because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection.

recallThus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following Rancho Feeding Corporation products are subject to recall:

  • “Beef Carcasses” (wholesale and custom sales only)
  • 2 per box “Beef (Market) Heads” (retail only)
  • 4-gallons per box “Beef Blood” (wholesale only)
  • 20-lb. boxes of “Beef Oxtail”
  • 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Cheeks”
  • 30-lb. boxes of ” Beef Lips”
  • 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Omasum”
  • 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Tripas”
  • 30-lb. boxes of “Mountain Oysters”
  • 30-lb. boxes of “Sweet Breads”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Liver”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Tripe”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Tongue”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Veal Cuts”
  • 40-lb. boxes of “Veal Bones”
  • 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Feet”
  • 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Hearts”
  • 60-lb. boxes of “Veal Trim”

Beef carcasses and boxes bear the establishment number “EST. 527″ inside the USDA mark of inspection.  Each box bears the case code number ending in “3” or “4.” The products were produced Jan. 1, 2013 through Jan. 7, 2014 and shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

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In our efforts to assist the mobile food industry, Mobile Cuisine Magazine has consistently provided business information for food truck and food cart owners. With the rapid expansion of the industry many cities in the country have more than a dozen food trucks patrolling their streets now. Because of this trending growth, there have been numerous requests submitted to us to provide information on organizing food truck groups to give these areas a single focused voice to discuss their local issues.

Have you been thinking about starting a new, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization specifically centered on the mobile food vendors in your city or region? Have you tried to decide whether you should organize as a 501 c3 or c6? Do you even know the difference between them?

The c3 and c6 are similar in terms of exemption from income taxes, their qualifying characteristics, the application process (IRS Form 1023 vs. 1024), and the various rules governing their ongoing activities can be quite different.

It is helpful to first understand the distinction between a “nonprofit” and a “tax-exempt” entity. “Nonprofit” refers to an entity’s incorporation/organizational status as governed by state law, whereas “tax-exempt” refers to federal income tax exemption governed by the Internal Revenue Code. The c3 and c6 are two of the most common IRS tax-exempt statuses for nonprofits.

To qualify for either exempt status, a nonprofit must meet specific tests which are outlined in IRS Publication 557, Chapters 3 and 4, available at www.IRS.gov. One common requirement of a tax-exempt entity is that your net earnings may not benefit private shareholders or individuals. Once organized, c3 and c6 organizations are both required to file annual IRS Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N depending on their size. They may also be required to file 990-T and pay taxes if they have “unrelated business income.” While the applicable IRS schedules and required disclosures of the c3 and c6 vary, all tax exempt entities are expected to have strong governance policies and practices in place and the new 990 wants to know a great deal about them.

Which exempt classification is right for you? Here are some common differences:

501(c)(3)

  • Operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, literary, or scientific purposes
  • Includes membership associations (e.g., professional society), if the purpose is to advance the profession with respect to “educational” activities
  • Lobbying and political activities are significantly restricted. A c3 will lose tax-exempt status if the IRS determines that it has engaged in “substantial” lobbying activities

Special Advantages of the c3 include:

  • Enhanced fundraising advantages, such as eligibility to receive tax-deductible “charitable contributions” and gifts of property and eligibility to receive many grants
  • Eligibility to receive other state and local tax exemptions (e.g., sales tax)

Example of nonprofit 501(c)(3): Urban Justice Center – Street Vendor Project

501(c)(6)

  • Operated to promote a common business interest, and to improve business conditions in the industry
  • A membership organization (e.g., business league, industry trade association), advancing a common business interest
  • Allowed a wide-range of lobbying. Yet, the main stipulation is that a c6 is required to disclose to membership the % of their annual dues that is lobbying (i.e., non-deductible to members for tax purposes)
  • Dues or other payments to a c6 are only deductible to the extent that they serve an “ordinary and necessary” business purpose of the payer

Examples of nonprofit 501(c)(6): DCMFVA: DC Mobile Food Vendors Association, SoCal Mobile Food Vendors’ Association

As you can see, there are several similarities and distinct differences within the world of the 501(c); and c3/c6 represents only two of several types. When creating a new nonprofit organization for the mobile food vendors in your city or region, it is always recommended to consult with legal, tax, and association management professionals with the background and experience to help you make an informed decision and to protect your ongoing tax-exempt status.

If you have any additional tips for those interested in forming a new nonprofit, please drop us a message or leave it here in the comments section.

 

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sandwich fun facts

The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know we will look at Sandwich fun facts.

sandwich fun factsThe Facts: A sandwich is a food item commonly consisting of two or more slices of bread, with one or more fillings between them. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work, school, or picnics to be eaten as part of a packed lunch. The bread can be used as it is, or it can be coated with any condiments to enhance flavor and texture. They are also widely sold in restaurants and cafes, served hot or cold.

  • Sandwiches are thought to be the namesake of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, following the claim that he was the eponymous inventor of the sandwich.
  • The first written usage of the English word appeared in Edward Gibbon’s journal, in longhand, referring to “bits of cold meat” as a “Sandwich”.
  • October 9th is National Grinder, Hoagie, Hero Day.
  • November 3rd is National Sandwich Day.
  • The average American will have consumed 1,500 PB&Js by the time they graduate high school.
  • The most people making sandwiches simultaneously is 607 and was achieved by British Sandwich Association (UK), in Manchester, UK, on May 14, 2013.
  • The world’s largest sandwich weighed 5,440 pounds.
  • The most expensive sandwich ever sold was a grilled toast sandwich that seemed to have an image of the Virgin Mary on it. It sold for $28,000 in 2004.
  • Depending on the region, hero sandwiches have been called many other names, including hoagie, grinder, and sub. The latter comes from Benedetto Capaldo’s Italian deli in New London, Conn., during World War II. The deli received an order from the nearby US Naval submarine base for 500 hero sandwiches. From that day forward any time a customer ordered a hero sandwich the employees at the deli called it a “sub.”
  • Americans eat more than 300 million sandwiches every day – an amazing statistic since there are slightly more than 300 million Americans.
  •  The most popular sandwich in America is the standard ham sandwich (ham, cheese, and mustard or mayonnaise), followed by the BLT.

Sandwich Fun Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about the Sandwich.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know we will look at Caramel Custard fun facts.

caramel custard fun factsThe Facts: Caramel Custard, crème caramel or flan or caramel custard is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is custard with a hard caramel top. The dish is eaten throughout the world.

  • Caramel custard is a variant of plain custard (crème) where sugar syrup cooked to caramel stage is poured into the mold before adding the custard base. It is usually cooked in a bain-marie on a stove top or in the oven in a water bath. It is turned and served with the caramel sauce on top, hence the alternate French name crème caramel renversée.
  • Flan is found in recipes as far back as ancient Rome. It was during Roman times that domesticated chickens were first kept for laying eggs. The Romans, with eggs in surplus, and consulting the Greek’s knowledge of the art of cooking, developed new recipes, one of which turned out to be a custardly concoction known as flan.
  • October 3rd is National Caramel Custard Day.
  • When does caramel become caramel? When the heat on the milk solids combine with the sugar ingredients, a caramel flavor is created, therein creating the caramel.
  • According to Platina’s De Honesta Voluptate,(On Right Pleasure and Good Health), an Italian cookery text published in 1475, custard-type dishes were considered health food.

Caramel Custard Fun Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about  Caramel Custard.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, during our research for our daily content, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in a new section titled “Did You Know?”.

For today’s DYK fun facts we will look at Crabs.

crab fun factsThe Facts: Crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting “tail” (abdomen), usually entirely hidden under the thorax. They live in all the world’s oceans, in fresh water, and on land, are generally covered with a thick exoskeleton and have a single pair of claws.

  • September 25th is National Crab Newberg Day.
  • The lifespan of crabs is in the range of 8 to 13 years.
  • Males have larger claws than female crabs. The females’ abdomen is wide and round compared to the slender abdomen of males.
  • Babies of crabs are called hatchlings.
  • A crab’s teeth are in its stomach.
  • The biggest crab in Maryland was a male which measured 9 in.

Crab Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Crabs.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, during our research for our daily content, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in a new section titled “Did You Know?”.

For today’s DYK fun facts we will look at Bread.

bread fun factsThe Facts: Bread is a staple food prepared by baking a dough of flour and water. It is popular around the world and is one of the world’s oldest foods.

  • It takes 9 seconds for a combine to harvest enough wheat to make about 70 loaves of bread.
  • September 16th is National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day.
  • Each American consumes, on average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
  • An average slice of packaged bread contains only 1 gram of fat and 75 to 80 calories.Assuming a sandwich was eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it would take 168 days to eat the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat.
  • A family of four could live 10 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat.One bushel of wheat will produce 73 one-pound loaves of bread.
  • Bread is closely tied to religious expression and communion. Hot cross buns commemorate Lent and Good Friday, Greek Easter breads are set with eggs dyed red to denote the blood of Christ, and Jewish families celebrate the coming of the Sabbath on Friday evening with challah (a light, airy yeast bread made of six long strands of dough which are braided to form one large loaf).
  • In 1997, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 36.5 billion loaves of bread, or enough to provide each person on earth with 6 loaves of bread.
  • Farmers receive approximately 5 cents (or less) from each loaf of bread sold.
  • Napoleon gave a common bread its name when he demanded a loaf of dark rye bread for his horse during the Prussian campaign. “Pain pour Nicole,” he ordered, which meant “Bread for Nicole,” his horse. To Germanic ears, the request sounded like “pumpernickel,” which is the term we use today for this traditional loaf.
  • In Britain, the ceremony of First Footing is traditionally observed in the early hours of New Year’s Day. A piece of bread is left outside a door, with a piece of coal and a silver coin, and is supposed to bring you food, warmth and riches in the year ahead.
  • The “pocket” in pita bread is made by steam. The steam puffs up the dough and, as the bread cools and flattens, a pocket is left in the middle.
  • The fastest “bun” in the West goes to a team of bakers from Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery who reclaimed the Guinness World Record in 1995. They harvested and milled wheat from the field and then mixed, scaled, shaped and baked a loaf in exactly eight minutes, 13 seconds.
  • Scandinavian traditions hold that if a boy and girl eat from the same loaf, they are bound to fall in love.
  • In Russia, bread (and salt) are symbols of welcome.
  • Superstition says it is bad luck to turn a loaf of bread upside down or cut an unbaked loaf.
  • Legend has it that whoever eats the last piece of bread has to kiss the cook.

Bread Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Bread.

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Food comping is the act of providing a customer a food or beverage item for free. While this is a common practice of food truck owners, it should only be used in certain situations. By comping your food or beverages, you are training your customers to expect it. Then when you don’t, they’re disappointed for not getting something they wouldn’t have gotten at another food truck anyways.

free-food

A customer that simply orders something they end up not liking, not because it was bad, but because it doesn’t suit their taste, is never someone whose meal should be comped in our opinion. Along with other complaints from customers who eat most or all their meal, or do not have enough of an appetite to let you make them something else, you should be offering these people some sort of bounce back offer instead of a comp.

Your first approach should always be to try and replace the food with something they do like. Even if you have to make a dish twice, as long as you collect the money for it, you still have some gross profit left to contribute. When you give a comp, you not only don’t get the money, but you also incurred the expense of preparing the food. The difference between collecting a reduced gross profit, and actually paying your customer to eat from your truck is huge.

If you can’t replace the food, and the customer’s complaint is reasonable, offer them a coupon or gift certificate and promise to make their next visit better. By comping the meal, you can’t guarantee that the customer will even come back. When you give them a discount for their next visit instead of a comp, there is a very good chance they will return, and they likely won’t be alone. You’ll have the opportunity to make a better impression and win a regular customer for your food truck.

The other issue with comping meals is that it is often one of the most common errors in the financial statements of food trucks is the incorrect recording of food and beverage comps.  And if you have a lot of comps, your income statement will be greatly distorted if they are not handled correctly.

The biggest impact is in the calculation of cost of sales. When calculating cost of sales, it’s essential that you only include the cost of products that contribute to revenue… not amounts for which no payment is expected or that do not represent sales to guests. In other words, sales and cost of sales must not include the retail value or cost of comps.

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