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The_Kapn
05-16-2006, 05:54 PM
A lot of the Brother's are starting to vend/cater.

So, how are you complying with the Health Dept rules, zoning rules, business licensing, and insurance (as appropriate)?

Just curious.

TIM

Dakaty
05-16-2006, 06:17 PM
My one and only "public" catering event was a school carnival. I was told by a friend that we were lucky the Health Department didn't show up and shut us down!

chad
05-16-2006, 06:43 PM
First thing is to find out WHO does the inspection and enforcement. Here in FL you may wind up dealing with either the state or the county. If, for example, you "rent" your commissary space from a non-profit or church (ie. VFW) then you'd fall under the county inspectors. If you rented from a catering truck central commissary or a restaurant, you'd be inspected and such by the state inspectors.

I found out a ton of info from both the state website and the county. They are quite similar (duh!) and then I spent about an hour with an inspector and her supervisor going over the pages for "mobile food sevice" and catering. They were quite helpful and I asked some questions that had them scratching their heads, too.

HoDeDo
05-16-2006, 08:22 PM
Many of the festivals around here sell temporary vendor permits. Usually those are provided by the city or county. You have to meet some basic requirements (three sinks, warming aparatus, aka, chafers, instant read thermometers, etc. ) but it is not as strengent as say, what they expect of a diner kitchen. You pay as part of your booth fees, and an inspector "approves" your area prior to prep/serving.

Sawdustguy
05-17-2006, 01:07 AM
Many of the festivals around here sell temporary vendor permits. Usually those are provided by the city or county. You have to meet some basic requirements (three sinks, warming aparatus, aka, chafers, instant read thermometers, etc. ) but it is not as strengent as say, what they expect of a diner kitchen. You pay as part of your booth fees, and an inspector "approves" your area prior to prep/serving.

Some states require a safeserve certificate to get a temporary vendors permit.

LostNation
05-17-2006, 03:01 AM
In Vermont I have two licenses, one to cook at home and one to cook on site. The only requirement is that my water is potable and is tested every year I re-new my licenses. These cost me a total of $200 for both. My insurance is covered under a rider on my contractors insurance, I really don't build anything anymore but I keep the insurance. I think Vermont is one of the easiest stated to cater legally in.

billm
05-17-2006, 08:49 AM
Du Page health dept here in Chicago says that no food can be cooked in a home kitchen..kinda limits catering to those with restaurants only it seems ..Seeing that i was egtting nowhere with the mook I told the him ive never gotten anyone sick and that the only time I have ever gotten food poisoning was in restaurants that have their "seal of approval" hanging on the wall

kickassbbq
05-17-2006, 09:11 AM
In MANY states you do not have to have any licenses to cater AT Private Parties. It's kinda hard for the Health Department to RAID a Private Party. They simply don't care what someone does at their house. So, only do Priavte Parties.
Get insurance.
Smoke That!!!!!!!!!
ed

billm
05-17-2006, 09:33 AM
thats all i wanted to do..just did not wnat someone coming back at me saying they are "sick"

kickassbbq
05-17-2006, 09:44 AM
"the only time I have ever gotten food poisoning was in restaurants that have their "seal of approval" hanging on the wall"

I love the Chinese food at a little buffet up the road. But, everytime I eat there I am running to the bathroom by the time I get home. And, no I am not making this up. That has never happened to me from ANYTHING i ever cooked. You never know what that cook is doing with those fingers while nobody is looking.
Yuk, I almost HATE to eat out.
Smoke On!!!!!!
ed

Bossmanbbq
05-17-2006, 10:01 AM
The best way to go in my opinion is to be a "Backyard BBQ Consultant"
I will do private parties at your home and cook up everything there on site that way I need no license and the health department can pound
sand :-D
It is such a pain in the butt to qualify for a catering license. This is about the only way I know other people are getting around this issue. Temporary permits are issued for events, but even those are getting ridiculas. The way I look at it if Fingerhut and others can get away with doing in home parties and cook food and such, why the hell cant I do the same thing and put out a better product....

Bossman
chuckmarting@bossmanbbq.com

The Woodman
05-17-2006, 11:04 AM
In MANY states you do not have to have any licenses to cater AT Private Parties. It's kinda hard for the Health Department to RAID a Private Party. They simply don't care what someone does at their house. So, only do Priavte Parties.
Get insurance.
Smoke That!!!!!!!!!
ed

I'm with Kick! The deal in Ohio, and the local counties is, that if you are doing a private event for a per person cost, and the attendees are not paying (company picnic, grad party, wedding where one party pays for everyone) then you need no permit. If guests are paying a "fee" (golf outing, class reunion, reverse raffle) that includes dinner, then you need a permit. I only do a few of these and always get a "temporary" permit. If you are doing everything correctly, it is not hard and only costs $35.00. In Ohio, you cannot cook ANYTHING in your home kitchen. I cook all food on-site (OK, well I make my sauce at home!). This is why I charge $15-$20/person. If I am serving the public at a "per plate" cost, then I need a "vendors permit." Again, all food must be cooked on-site. If I want a permanent vendors permit, I need a stainless three bay sink. I always advise that you talk to the county health dept. to see just what's up. Woody

bbqjoe
05-18-2006, 02:14 AM
This has been a topic of discussion for awhile now. I'm sure there are ways of getting around just about anything in this world.

But wouldn't you feel prouder being able to hold your head up high, being able to say "I'm certified, legal, and completley legit. And I earned it!!

billm
05-18-2006, 07:16 AM
This has been a topic of discussion for awhile now. I'm sure there are ways of getting around just about anything in this world.

But wouldn't you feel prouder being able to hold your head up high, being able to say "I'm certified, legal, and completley legit. And I earned it!!
thats not the issue
I have no problem paying fees..taking classes.whatever it takes to be compliant..but i dont really have a place to cook thats deemed
health dept approved"..and to cook onsite is not really feasible..i mean im not gonna sit in some other guys backyard with all my bbq equipment and cook butts for 16 hrs
bottom line the health dept would not tell me what i need to do to be compliant..it was almost like i was insulting this guy to even ask..he even went so far as to say my food was a "deathtrap" based on his own speculation..i figure it would make a good team name though..Death Trap BBQ

bbqjoe
05-18-2006, 09:38 AM
thats not the issue
I have no problem paying fees..taking classes.whatever it takes to be compliant..but i dont really have a place to cook thats deemed
health dept approved"..and to cook onsite is not really feasible..i mean im not gonna sit in some other guys backyard with all my bbq equipment and cook butts for 16 hrs
bottom line the health dept would not tell me what i need to do to be compliant..it was almost like i was insulting this guy to even ask..he even went so far as to say my food was a "deathtrap" based on his own speculation..i figure it would make a good team name though..Death Trap BBQ
I gotta say that totally sucks! There should be some guidelines somewhere. Maybe a local caterer can help guide you as to where to look.
I'm not sure where you are, but don't give up because you hit a brick wall.
If you ask around you will find an art gets developed for hitting brick walls and getting back up. Just the nature of starting a business.

Bigmista
05-18-2006, 12:01 PM
I belong to the Moose Lodge and the have agreed to let me rent their commercial kitchen for big jobs I might have. So I can cook there and deliver trays of food. I'm sure I will get some cook on site jobs too but the people I'm getting so far just want the food and I'm cool with that right now.

Jeff_in_KC
05-18-2006, 01:57 PM
I am just cooking like Todd... for a few folks at work to take home. I'm not concerned about all the stuff I'd need to be if I was actually catering. I decided all I'm going to do for now is a.) for friends/co-workers/neighbors b.) deliver food to their private location only. I am planning on providing a disclaimer sheet with the food for health department approved re-heating guidelines AND before they order it, advise them about the MSG, salts and sugars for anyone who might be eating these that would have a problem with them.

Jeff_in_KC
05-18-2006, 02:02 PM
I have also been asked to cook for a large company picnic at my boss's house in June or July. I will probably cook SOME on site but the company is providing all the sides, etc. so there won't be any kitchen cooking at all. I'm guessing I'll be ok doing this...

chad
05-18-2006, 02:18 PM
Mobile food service is the "easiest" way to be compliant and safe. However, it's not cheap. Basically, you have a certified mobile kitchen (look at Southern Yankee and Austin National to get an idea - there are others) in which you can prep, store, cook, cleanup, etc. and only return to your "commissary" to dump waste water, fill up with clean water, clean the rig, etc.

Your mobile kichen will carry your health certificate and your commissary must be inspected, too. This is where the use of a VFW or American Legion, or Moose/Elk/etc. contact can help you out. They might even have a covered screened area that you could cook in and fulfill the requirements.

Otherwise, if you don't have your own commissary with say a covered and screened cooking area (think old hamburger stand with full kitchen and a screened area for your cooker) you're nearly always going to be out of compliance. Your "hamburger stand" would be where your health certificate would be based.

Nobody said this was easy!!

chad
05-18-2006, 02:31 PM
I've often thought that an old gas station (not counting environmental cleanup) would be a good walk-up place and a good catering location. The garage area allows you to pull in with your cooker and with screens installed you could leave the garage doors open during the cook session. The "office" area could easily be converted to a prep kitchen with sinks and small coolers and you'd have space in the other part of the garage to install a walkin.

Just thinking out loud.

The Woodman
05-18-2006, 05:39 PM
Mobile food service is the "easiest" way to be compliant and safe. However, it's not cheap. Basically, you have a certified mobile kitchen (look at Southern Yankee and Austin National to get an idea - there are others) in which you can prep, store, cook, cleanup, etc. and only return to your "commissary" to dump waste water, fill up with clean water, clean the rig, etc.

Your mobile kichen will carry your health certificate and your commissary must be inspected, too. This is where the use of a VFW or American Legion, or Moose/Elk/etc. contact can help you out. They might even have a covered screened area that you could cook in and fulfill the requirements.

Otherwise, if you don't have your own commissary with say a covered and screened cooking area (think old hamburger stand with full kitchen and a screened area for your cooker) you're nearly always going to be out of compliance. Your "hamburger stand" would be where your health certificate would be based.


Nobody said this was easy!!

This varies from state to state. I can cook all on site and as long as I am "under cover" (EZ Ups) I do not need screening. Also, I can set up a table with three plastic tubs (wash, rinse, sanitize) and a handwash station (Igloo with hot water. hand soap, paper towels, covered waste basket, and tub for grey water) and I am good. Coolers with ice to insure cold food is kept cold. The upright on my pit insures hot food stays hot. I LOVE cooking on-site! It is precisely why I bought the big pit! Folks LOVE it when I drive it up and start a fire in it! I can actually justify charging more because I cook on-site!

HoDeDo
05-18-2006, 09:16 PM
In Vermont I have two licenses, one to cook at home and one to cook on site. The only requirement is that my water is potable and is tested every year I re-new my licenses. These cost me a total of $200 for both. My insurance is covered under a rider on my contractors insurance, I really don't build anything anymore but I keep the insurance. I think Vermont is one of the easiest stated to cater legally in.

Much easier than us! If I wanted to hang a shingle and cater - I would have to have a separate kitchen from "home" (could be an outbuilding on the property that is decked out..) and you are required to be liscenced just like a dine-in establishment.

HoDeDo
05-18-2006, 09:23 PM
We do alot of our cooking onsite. I'll have to see if that allows me to get different permits outside of just what you can arrange at local festivals.

I think the issue is - that some of us would like to cook a little, when asked. However, we aren't trying to make a "business" out of it.

There doesnt seem to be an easy way to "get over the hump". Either you have fork out the bucks and lease/own a kitchen that would be acceptable -- or just not cook.

I agree on the private parties. Gotta have insurance regardless of what you are doing.

HoDeDo
05-18-2006, 09:26 PM
This varies from state to state. I can cook all on site and as long as I am "under cover" (EZ Ups) I do not need screening. Also, I can set up a table with three plastic tubs (wash, rinse, sanitize) and a handwash station (Igloo with hot water. hand soap, paper towels, covered waste basket, and tub for grey water) and I am good. Coolers with ice to insure cold food is kept cold. The upright on my pit insures hot food stays hot. I LOVE cooking on-site! It is precisely why I bought the big pit! Folks LOVE it when I drive it up and start a fire in it! I can actually justify charging more because I cook on-site!

They get all excited when they pull up and see the smoke wafting from the pit.... and all the gear. People just love it.... and pay for it :wink:

bbqjoe
05-18-2006, 09:33 PM
Let me let you in on a big secret. If you buy an older establishment to convert, heath codes will require you to saw up the floors, and place floor sinks in so that all your water drains properly, and your sewage cannot back up into the three compartment sink, the hand sink, the prep sink.....
Not a cheap prospect. Trust me I know!

Jeff_in_KC
05-18-2006, 11:22 PM
So should I get insurance just to cook for my company party at a private residence? There will probably be 75 to 100 people there. Seems like a waste of money to me if I'm not going to cook for groups regularly.

The Woodman
05-19-2006, 05:36 AM
So should I get insurance just to cook for my company party at a private residence? There will probably be 75 to 100 people there. Seems like a waste of money to me if I'm not going to cook for groups regularly.

You feel lucky?

BobberQer
05-19-2006, 06:20 AM
So should I get insurance just to cook for my company party at a private residence? There will probably be 75 to 100 people there. Seems like a waste of money to me if I'm not going to cook for groups regularly.

I for one , wouldnt think so. you are an employee, cooking for an employee function, at an employee residence.. presumably, corporate umbrella policy would kick in somewhere.. company wouldnt take out extra insurance if they had a company softball game... doing it as an employee , and not your que team name, would put you in a different status

Doorbusters
05-22-2006, 04:24 PM
Jeff, I have gone through this vicious circle for about 4 years now. If you are preparing food on site, and not delivering, you do not need any insurance or catering license. I have a Blue Springs Business license (just in case) and a $1,000,000 umbrella policy that covers me for whatever some dumbass wants to sue me for. The umbrella is fairly inexpensive when grouped with home and 3 autos, roughly $20 per month. As I have told my wife on numerous occasions, absolutely noone has EVER gotten sick eating my food, (she made me get the umbrella anyway)!

chad
05-30-2006, 11:19 AM
Here's a link from the Dallas food safety people...addressing temporary food concession requirements. It's a good link and is reflective of most municipalities.

http://www.dallascityhall.com/pdf/ehs/TemporaryFoodRequirements.pdf

The Woodman
05-30-2006, 04:12 PM
Here are some photo's of my kitchen from a cook I did this weekend addressing a couple of things the health dept looks for like dishes and handwash station. I lost a bundle on this cook! Planned for 300. Served 110! TEmperature was 90 and no one was hungry.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLandingSignin.jsp?Uc=u7bq7ot.18fm85up&Uy=-a9ksee&Upost_signin=Slideshow.jsp%3Fmode%3Dfromshare&Ux=0&UV=750861081751_91762067809

Kevin
05-30-2006, 04:18 PM
Here are some photo's of my kitchen from a cook I did this weekend addressing a couple of things the health dept looks for like dishes and handwash station. I lost a bundle on this cook! Planned for 300. Served 110! TEmperature was 90 and no one was hungry.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLandingSignin.jsp?Uc=u7bq7ot.18fm85up&Uy=-a9ksee&Upost_signin=Slideshow.jsp%3Fmode%3Dfromshare&Ux=0&UV=750861081751_91762067809

Thanks for the slide show Woody. Is there a minimum temp for the hand wash water?
Too bad the high temps killed your guest's appetites. You had a nice clean set up.

bbqjoe
05-30-2006, 05:14 PM
Washing in a 3-compartment sink: A three-compartment sink must be used when using a sink to wash dishes and equipment. The order is scrape the dishes, wash in detergent (110F), rinse in clean water (110F), dip in sanitizing solution (follow manufacturers directions), and air dry.
Always store utensils and plates in a clean dry place. For glassware, store bottom up in a clean dry area.

Chemical Sanitizing: Approved chemical sanitizers such as chlorine, iodine, and quaternary ammonium. The effectiveness of chemical sanitizers include:
Concentration: Product directions state the amount of sanitizer to add to water.
You must have a water test kit to measure the concentration of sanitizing solutions during use.
A minimum of 50 parts per million of chlorine mixed with water
A minimum of 12.5 ppm of iodine mixes with water


A minimum of 200 ppm of Quaternary ammonium mixed with water.

Temperature: Sanitizer an approved chemical and water solution should be at a temperature of at least 75F.

Contact time: Sanitizing solutions need to make contact with surfaces for at least 10 seconds.

Believe this or not, regulations state that you may not wash your hands in your three compartment sink!

The Woodman
05-30-2006, 05:25 PM
One thing I did not realize, is that the sanitizing solution is more effective when room temp. The bleah will evap out more quickly at higher temps! I quit using hot water for sanitizing!

Kevin
05-30-2006, 05:30 PM
Believe this or not, regulations state that you may not wash your hands in your three compartment sink!

Oh yeah. Had the argument with the health inspector. I lost.

bbqjoe
05-30-2006, 05:55 PM
I was told of a story of a person who was washing a pot in the three compartment sink. Rinsed the gunk off her hands from the pot after washing it.
Cited for violation!

Hint: Pretend you are washing something in the sink while washing hands?

big brother smoke
05-30-2006, 07:05 PM
Are folks required to have a seperate sink for food preparation?

bbqjoe
05-30-2006, 07:57 PM
Are folks required to have a seperate sink for food preparation?
Somewhat of a gray area here. I believe I read somewhere it is okay to wash vegetables in the 3 compartment sink. (Don't quote me on that)
But if you were trying for a health dept permit, I would put in a separate "Prep" sink, as well as a handwashing sink.

big brother smoke
05-30-2006, 08:34 PM
Joe:

I am stopping by the county office tomorrow. My rig is being built now and I do not want to go back and add another sink after it is completed. I just purchased a three compartment sink and handwashing sink.

I am not 100% sure If I need a permit from the health department for my catering rig if I am doing corporate or private functions only. I am hoping to only need a business license and insurance.

To be continued! I will let you know what my county wants.

Kevin
05-30-2006, 08:40 PM
Joe:

I am stopping by the county office tomorrow. My rig is being built now and I do not want to go back and add another sink after it is completed. I just purchased a three compartment sink and handwashing sink.

I am not 100% sure If I need a permit from the health department for my catering rig if I am doing corporate or private functions only. I am hoping to only need a business license and insurance.

To be continued! I will let you know what my county wants.

It may be worth your time and money to take the food safety class. Here's a link to food safety certification information for Ventura county. May not need it, but then again it may help when you try to get insured.
http://www.ventura.org/envhealth/programs/cons_food/foodcert.htm

bbqjoe
05-30-2006, 09:30 PM
I am not 100% sure If I need a permit from the health department for my catering rig if I am doing corporate or private functions only. I am hoping to only need a business license and insurance.

I don't know if you need one either, but to have a permit would make you look more professional, give you some bragging rights, and you could charge a bit more because you are legit.
I would hire a caterer with credentials way before I would hire "some guy" with a smoker.

JMO

P.S. Take the health class either way!!!

big brother smoke
05-30-2006, 11:07 PM
It may be worth your time and money to take the food safety class. Here's a link to food safety certification information for Ventura county. May not need it, but then again it may help when you try to get insured.
http://www.ventura.org/envhealth/programs/cons_food/foodcert.htm

I am going to take the class, wifey is certified, so I am good also.
However, I need to get it done as well.

big brother smoke
05-30-2006, 11:10 PM
I don't know if you need one either, but to have a permit would make you look more professional, give you some bragging rights, and you could charge a bit more because you are legit.
I would hire a caterer with credentials way before I would hire "some guy" with a smoker.

JMO

P.S. Take the health class either way!!!

I agree, looks like I might be buying a food prep sink as well, damn more money! Well the saying is true "it takes money to make money."

rbsnwngs
05-31-2006, 06:46 AM
Somewhat of a gray area here. I believe I read somewhere it is okay to wash vegetables in the 3 compartment sink. (Don't quote me on that)
But if you were trying for a health dept permit, I would put in a separate "Prep" sink, as well as a handwashing sink.
i am in the prosses of building a store right now and to comply with Suffolk county board of health i need mind you this is only 1000sq feet
a 3 bay sink for pots and pans
a prep sink for any vegie i need cut or salad i will be doing
i need a hand sink evey 12-15 feet throughout the store. (i need have 3 hand sinks in this store)

MrSmoker
05-31-2006, 09:04 AM
The health dept. here allows the third comp. to be used as a prep sink only if the drain is seperate and indirect to a floor sink w/ a air gap.

Kevin
05-31-2006, 09:12 AM
Great discussion guys. I'm learning a lot. Better to know these things up front than to have to try to catch up later.

big brother smoke
05-31-2006, 11:28 AM
I just got off the phone with our Health Department and here is what I understand:

1. If I am going to be doing food that is delivered, I need a commisary or my catering rig approved by a plan checker prior to competion of the rig. They want a chance to pre-approve my specs. Health permit is needed.

2. If I am going to be doing on-site food preparation for private functions I do not need a Health Permit.

No matter which route I go, I will still want to have a sanitation certifcate, million dollars of liability insurance and business license for the appropriate city I am working in.

beam boys bbq
03-30-2007, 01:44 PM
Jeff, I have gone through this vicious circle for about 4 years now. If you are preparing food on site, and not delivering, you do not need any insurance or catering license. I have a Blue Springs Business license (just in case) and a $1,000,000 umbrella policy that covers me for whatever some dumbass wants to sue me for. The umbrella is fairly inexpensive when grouped with home and 3 autos, roughly $20 per month. As I have told my wife on numerous occasions, absolutely noone has EVER gotten sick eating my food, (she made me get the umbrella anyway)!


this is why i have became LLC if some dum ass wants to sue me the only thing that he can get is the business of beam boys bbq witch is the money in the business bank account and my bbq trailer that is it my house cars and boat are not part of the business

and i also have an insurance policy for 27 dollers an year on the trailer and contents

with this policy and the helth dept i can only cater 12 times an year that is more than i want to do anyway

york

butts
04-02-2007, 08:37 PM
We just did an onsite vend and competition last weekend in North Carolina. The requirements were pretty basic; hand washing station, triple sinks for washing pots and pans, bleach spray bottles, warmers and coolers and just a general knowlege of food saftey was required (food thermometers also). All food had to be prepared onsite or in a restaurant as well. The event went very smooth without much trouble. Most of my experiences have gone well as long as you have a good understanding of food safety and make sure you have the proper permits. We just happened to win the Grand Championship as well, just a little bonus to go along with good sales.

G$
04-03-2007, 09:46 AM
A) Congratulations!!!

B) Some Questions:

- What did you vend, in what quantity?
- Do you know how many customers you had?
- Can you estinmate the labor, dedicated or part time, required to handle patrons?
- what did you use to mee tthe hand wash station?

We just did an onsite vend and competition last weekend in North Carolina. The requirements were pretty basic; hand washing station, triple sinks for washing pots and pans, bleach spray bottles, warmers and coolers and just a general knowlege of food saftey was required (food thermometers also). All food had to be prepared onsite or in a restaurant as well. The event went very smooth without much trouble. Most of my experiences have gone well as long as you have a good understanding of food safety and make sure you have the proper permits. We just happened to win the Grand Championship as well, just a little bonus to go along with good sales.

Tar River BBQ
02-16-2008, 05:45 PM
I live in Virginia any info ????

McClung
06-16-2009, 09:56 AM
WA requires a reviewable plan that lists your fixed facility for food prep, which can not be your home kitchen. There are several "commercial kitchens" for vendors where you can pay an hourly rate or monthly dues in the area.

JD McGee
06-22-2009, 09:24 PM
WA requires a reviewable plan that lists your fixed facility for food prep, which can not be your home kitchen. There are several "commercial kitchens" for vendors where you can pay an hourly rate or monthly dues in the area.

Speaking of which...did you fax yours in for this weekend? :-P

McClung
06-22-2009, 10:27 PM
Yes sir, sent it in Friday. You and Brian gets yours sent in? That was kinda nuts that you have to do it regardless of vending.

swamprb
06-22-2009, 10:30 PM
Yes sir, sent it in Friday. You and Brian gets yours sent in? That was kinda nuts that you have to do it regardless of vending.


Crock o' chit IMO!

McClung
06-22-2009, 10:34 PM
I was trying to be nice about it