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grillfella
06-13-2008, 02:03 AM
Hey guys I am starting to get legal about my catering business, ie liscense and tax id number. I was told that I had to have a kitchen to prep my food, and my house is not acceptable. What should I do? I am in the process of looking into a small bbq lunch spot with a buddy of mine

Smokin Gator
06-13-2008, 04:33 AM
State/city laws vary so much it is hard to give advice on this one. I think the best thing to do is make a call the the county health department and speak to an inspector to get it right from the authority.

parrothead
06-13-2008, 06:57 AM
I second that. That is the best way. Work with them not against them

Countryhb
06-13-2008, 11:37 AM
Are you asking about catering or opening a restaurant (a small BBQ lunch spot)? If catering, and you plan on prepping/cooking food offsite AND being legit, you need a commercial kitchen to prep in. There are a few spots in LA that'll rent kitchen space to you. If you DO NOT transport cooked product (i.e. you cook and prepare everything onsite), the health department is not concerned with you. You are then considered a personal chef and the same rules as a traditional caterer do not apply.

You really do need to call the health dept and have a chat with them.

Plowboy
06-13-2008, 12:01 PM
Look for a space that you can use or rent like a church, school, Elks club, Lodge, etc

NotleyQue
06-13-2008, 08:22 PM
I second this.


Look for a space that you can use or rent like a church, school, Elks club, Lodge, etc

Caseyjoenz
06-13-2008, 08:43 PM
If you DO NOT transport cooked product (i.e. you cook and prepare everything onsite), the health department is not concerned with you. You are then considered a personal chef and the same rules as a traditional caterer do not apply.

You really do need to call the health dept and have a chat with them.

Well...in your city maybe. I was hoping to take the Personal Chef route, but was told "no way". I agree with everyone else...talk directly to the man (or woman) and you'll save yourself time and money.

Qcrue2U
06-21-2008, 02:18 AM
I actually am going through this as we speak. I have been told by the H.D. that I must find a commensary that is up to date with the H.D. I can ONLY prepare food onsite. You cannot even marinate, unless I rent space from a comminsary that is up to date with the H.D. Then you must have a proper tent with guidlines. This is for a temporary H.D. cert... If you have a mobile unit, then you must file for a MOBILE UNIT Cert. Your mobile unit must be inspected by the HD as well.. Then of course, you need a business license, a home occupance permit, a fictitious business statement, a bank account, and a sellers permit... WOW!!! :( Each county is different, and I agree with eveyone else, talk directly to the HD.

chad
06-21-2008, 06:42 PM
Yep. It's a PITA. That's why I don't do any catering except for stuff at the church. I made a run at it for about 3 years. Made a few $$ and had some fun but I was always right on the edge of non-compliance.

The commissary was my main stumbling block...if I had the bucks I'd buy or rent a small place (like an old hamburger stand) and set it up for catering -- maybe do some retail walk-up/carry out business on Friday and Saturday.

I will say, at least in this area, there is plenty of work for a BBQ caterer that will handle small jobs (25 folks) as well as the El-Grande events. I never advertised except for our low key website and would get several calls a month for ribs, BBQ B'Day parties, etc. The work is out there if you can get through the hoops.

Paulie G.
06-21-2008, 11:23 PM
Talk to your local church. If they have a commercial kitchen, offer to donate your time, i.e. a free bbq in return for them allowing you to use their kitchen as a commissary.

jbrink01
08-26-2008, 11:42 AM
We jump through a few hoops, but our saving grace is our trailer. Cook on site, keep the rig compliant, and think disposable for everything. When we have to do china place settings we rent 'em. That way, they wash 'em.

Bigmista
08-26-2008, 02:28 PM
We're in the process right now. Looking for a commercial kitchen so we can prepare ahead of time for vending at different events. It ain't easy but it's got to be done. If you are only doing stuff that you can prepare on site (Chicken, ribs, links tacos burgers, whatever) then the portable sink is your only large hurdle. Most places won't have one onsite and you are supposed to have a 3 basin sink with at least:

20 gal fresh water tank
30 gallon gray water tank

It can be larger but gray water has to be at least 1.5 times bigger.

Countryhb
08-26-2008, 04:52 PM
We jump through a few hoops, but our saving grace is our trailer. Cook on site, keep the rig compliant, and think disposable for everything. When we have to do china place settings we rent 'em. That way, they wash 'em.

Down here (LA/OC) your rig won't save you, as you need a commercial kitchen to park it at.

smokinit
08-26-2008, 08:26 PM
We jump through a few hoops, but our saving grace is our trailer. Cook on site, keep the rig compliant, and think disposable for everything. When we have to do china place settings we rent 'em. That way, they wash 'em.

I went this route also but had mine bulit in to truck. HD will tell you all you need to know. Good Luck!!

ThomEmery
08-26-2008, 08:59 PM
I only do private parties. Because Riverside Co. Calif. has no requirements when these are cooked on site. The customers usually want Ribs, Chicken and Tri tip, Quick cooks
We have done high temp cooks to get er done Brisket and Butts

I am really happy we have this Forum on the Brethren

chinesebob
08-26-2008, 09:29 PM
I sat down with the HD for each of the surrounding counties and they all said the same thing. Cook on site, follow our guidelines, we don't care. Prep work - don't ask don't tell was their stance unless I'm filing for a temporary permit. My county even gave me a list of places I can rent from, but I have friends with restaurants and a couple of churches within walking distance that will do rent in trade.

Aside from this I would point out - don't forget insurance.....

Paulie G.
08-29-2008, 12:51 AM
I don't know how the laws are in LA but if you need a commercial kitchen, try working a swap with a social club (vfw, bpoe, etc) or perhaps even a church, that already has a commercial kitchen.

Qcrue2U
08-29-2008, 02:38 AM
HD.... the hand of bbq vending god!!!!

fevoice
10-05-2008, 11:21 AM
Now I don't recommend this, but...

The heatlth department here in Boulder County told me they can't possibly check out all the caterers who work illegally out of their house. That said, you better get good insurance one way or the other to protect yourself.

Frank