Sometimes it’s fun to open a can of worms. I hope this is one of those times 😉
I plan to relocate somewhere warmer in the winter season and sling dogs and return in spring to the Chicago area. Maybe you or my fellow slingers could give me advice on cart friendly states or not so friendly states ? I have had Arizona, Nevada or New Mexico in mind, but any other ideas would be welcomed.
It doesn’t have to be hot just cool or comfortable. Come ‘on slingers chime in with any ideas !!!
Bruce of ” Bruces Hot Dog Cartel “
There are two things you should never ask a hot dog vendor unless you know them really well.
1. Is this a good business to get into?
2. How easy is it to pass the health inspection here?
The reason I say that is because you are just begging to be deluged with misinformation at best and outright lies at the worst.
Some vendors will see you as potential competition and want to discourage you with horror stories. Some have a bad relationship with their health inspector which makes it “unfriendly” no matter what state they are in. And some are out there illegally and don’t have a clue what the code requires.
There is sooooo much misinformation out there. 99 times out of 100 getting your hot dog biz to pass the county mounties is way easier than you’ve been lead to believe.
No matter what state you are considering doing business in my advice is always the same. Meet with the local health inspector in person (or at least speak with them on the phone) to find out what you need to do to comply with local food codes. Second, get a printed copy of the code and read it cover to cover.
I have found that in the states with the most strict (sometimes ridiculous) health codes, many inspectors realize that the code makes some impossible demands and they will be willing to “work with you” to get your cart passed. As my own health inspector said, “Here’s my rule. Don’t get anyone sick.”
There are a few states that are “tougher” than others but all 50 states allow food carts. You just have to jump through more hoops in some than in others.
North Carolina requires NSF certification and so does Minnesota. Having said that, I do have customers in both states that are slinging dogs from non-NSF carts. It’s really up to your personal inspector whether they want to enforce every single sentence of the food code.
California requires on board refrigeration and four sinks with bigger water tanks. I have a lot of E-Z Built customers who got their cart passed in California with the addition of those components. No need to fear the CALCODE.
Georgia code requires an “enclosed” cart but that is easily complied with by building a “fish tank” style sneeze guard over the serving area. Just make a box out of plexiglass with doors to access the serving area.
As far as business permits go, that is really an individual city thing, not a state thing. Talk to your local business licensing department at city hall and they can give you the scoop.
OK, now I’m going to pry the top off of this can of worms. I wouldn’t do this but for the fact that we have the smartest and most courteous slingers on the web. You folks are pros. I know I can trust you dear readers.
Even so, take everything with a grain of salt and remember to talk to your local inspector to get the straight story. It will probably be so much easier than you were lead to believe.
P.S. If you are thinking about getting into the hog dog biz, now is a great time to get started. We just put all of our training materials into our Hot Dog Profits Premium membership. Check it out here.