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Hot Dog Cart Hand Washing Sink

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Sometimes the rules are unnecessarily tough. But not this time.

Hot Dog Mike

Hot Dog Cart Hand Washing Sink

A customer of mine who goes by the name of “Hot Dog Mike” sent me a copy of his health department’s hand washing sink requirements for hot dog carts. You’re going to love this.

(I posted a picture of the actual handout at the bottom of this article.)

When Mike first read it, he laughed out loud. It was so simple.

I think it’s great because it accomplishes the goal of sanitary food handling without the typical government mandated overkill. This set up will get the job done just as well as a system that costs hundreds.

I have a similar story to Hot Dog Mike’s.

I am fortunate to live in a county that doesn’t believe in hindering people who are trying to make their own way. My inspector told me all I needed was a water jug with a spigot that can stay open with no hands, some soap, a bucket to catch the water in, and paper towels. That’s exactly what I used when I got my start all those years ago.

Of course I added a sink to my first home made cart as soon as I could.

Mike went ahead and installed a sink on his E-Z Built Hot Dog Cart too. The way we teach you to make it is simple, quick, and pretty inexpensive as well.

Check out the pics of Hot Dog Mike’s E-Z Built – he did a great job! Be sure to tell him so in the comments!

- Steve

P.S. Did you know you can build your own hot dog cart using commonly available hardware store parts just like Hot Dog Mike did? And if you get stuck just call me. I’m available to all my customers by phone or email. Just ask Hot Dog Mike.

 

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

pancho V,

WELL, COMMENT ON ALL THIS YOU ALL GOT IT MADE, “” IN OUR TOWN<,THEY and WHEN I SAY ''THEY THATS THE HEALTH DEPT, DONT WANT HOT DOG CARTS, AT ALL,THE ONES THAT ARE EXISTING,ARE NOW" REQUIRED 4 SINKS, AND NEW CARTS ARE 5 SINKS, AND YOU CANT RUN A CART UNLESS ITS ALL COVERED UP"" LIKE BEING WRAPED UP IN THIS GIANT PLASTIC OR SCREENED BOX, AND IT TAKES THE WHOLE LOOK OF HAVING A HOT -DOG CART CUZ YOU CANT SEE THE CART"" UNLESS YOU GO IN THIS COVERD, BOX.

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Steve

That’s not all bad either. It’s easy to make a nice plexiglass enclosure that still lets you see the cart while satisfying the health inspector. I have a customer in South Carolina who put one on his E-Z Built and he loves it. He says it’s like having a giant shelf where he can put extra buns and condiments. No more running around the cart to get more supplies. It’s all right there in front of him. It’s also a great place to display soda cans and other things you have for sale.

Turn lemons into lemonade.

Smeagols

That’s great! Ohio cities hate hot dog carts: Akron, Cleveland. There was a petition in Cleveland to do away with downtown street vendors because they where doing so well that the pizza shops felt threatened.
In Akron the health department as of 2013 became just as strict as California.

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Steve

Not a big deal. That just keeps out people who are unprofessional or those who aren’t committed. Good for us.

We have a lot of California customers who built Cal compliant E-Z Builts from our plans and saved a you-know-what load of money.

By the way, David is quite the young entrepreneur in the making. Stay tuned to Hot Dog Cart News for more on David.

Pat

Mike you should be very proud, you did a great job. Good luck.

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Steve

He did, didn’t he?!!!

Robin/Lakeside lunch

Same regs here except they require it at a sink. But for the utensils, I have to have a sink that the longest utensil can be completely submerged in. That required the purchase of a longer sink than I used for handwashing.

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Steve

Or just use smaller tongs…

All kidding aside, a lot of times you can get out of the three sink requirement by carrying a half dozen spare tongs. If you drop one on the ground just put it away and grab a clean one. Many health inspectors will go with this.

TWISTED DAWG

Great lookin cart! What state do you live in? We could never get away with that in Michigan. Our Health Dept is alot stricter than that. Good Luck to you in your business!

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Steve

That’s funny because sinks are sinks, water is water, soap is soap, and clean is clean no matter what state (or even planet) you live in (or on). ;-)

Vern

Steve,
It is funny that you posted that as here in Harris County (Houston) that is what they also use as a guide line on something as important as hand sanitation but when it comes to something else that you would not consider very important such as paperwork they 5 pages on what to do with it…

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Steve

Typical.

Jim (Weiners On Water)

It be a full time job just washing yer hands matey !!
A simple requirement to the extent of all inclusion.
It’s standard in many areas. Especially areas not friendly to carts.
It’s not hard to exceed the requirement these days, but your hands are still tied with red tape. It’s hard to wash your hands with them tied. Har har harrr !!
1St Mate Jim.

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Steve

It’s hard to wash your hands when they’re tied with red tape.
Ha!

Robin/Lakeside lunch

So, try pink duct tape. HARR HARRRRRRRR!

"FRANK'S" -Tasty- Hot Dogs

I must concur with Smeagols, Cleveland and Akron are tough. I like to think of it as City Hall is the funhouse, and I’m in the maze of mirrors…. after that, selling dogs or lemonade is a breeze. Looks like the Lake is thawing, gotta go —Spring is coming. Nice looking cart tho’-Mike!

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Steve

It’s a maze you only have to get through once. Then it’s over and you can concentrate on the fun part – slingin’!

Dutch

Great cart Mike. Here in Salt Lake, our health Dept. requires the same set up that Mike shared, but with one slight difference. The water doesn’t need to be warm, it just needs to be free flowing.

Back when I ran the Concession Stand for our youth Football district, I was heating up the water to put into my insulated water jug when the Health Inspector showed up. Rick asked what I was heating the water for and when I told him it was for my hand washing station, he chuckled and told me to heat it if I wanted to but that I could use a jug of cold water I wanted. I figured since I was heating up water for the dish washing station just as well have warm water to wash the hand. Sure made it nice when the weather turned cold.

About two weeks into the football season, I started getting calls from folks that ran the Concessions for their leauge. They told me that Rick suggested that they check out set-up and follow my example if they didn’t want to be shut down for a day.

The gals that worked for me would say “Oh no! The Inspector is here” when they spotted him walking up. He’d smile and tell them “No worries, just here for some lunch”.

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Steve

Nice! I had a similar situation a while back. I was slingin’ dogs in a furniture store parking lot and we had quite a line. As I was pulling a hot new batch of dogs from my boiler pan and putting them in my steamer I asked the customer in front of me to wait while I checked the temp with my thermometer.

The customer asked, “How hot are they?”. I said, “About 150″. He said, “Good job. I’m a health inspector in the next county over and I’m glad to see someone doing it right for a change”.

He payed for his lunch and left. You never know who’s eating at your cart!

Judy

Great cart Mike…what were you required to do with the used water in the bucket?
Here in California we have to bring it home and flush it down the toilet…and we have a septic system..plus 5 acres… When we started 8 years ago, carts were not allowed in our county…now there are three… our water must come from the city, even when we are just washing the outside or the wheels…the only well water we can use is if you have a State cerified well at a $10.000 cost… So we don’t…
Steve I’d love to see a survey…how many slingers have their Serv-Safe…We have to…

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Hot Diggity Dawg

Hey Judy good news out here in Indiana I am Serve-Safe Certified, and I was before I opened my cart but Porter County allows 3-4 months leeway after opening. That scared me and I told BOB that (He’s my Health Dept. Inspector) He agreed. 4 sinks, hot & cold running water, no dumping, bleach water, I also have sanitizer tablets I put in a sperate bucket.
If your not certified check into it you will be amazed at what you learn, at least get the book and read it.

Hot Diggity Dawg

Great Job Mike. I love the color it’s the same as the Weiner Hat (it caches a lot of attention)

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Daryl at "The Blacktop Grill", Denver, CO

Judy, here in Colorado, the powers-that-be do not require any such food handling certification, let alone some fancy (and expensive) Serv-Safe certificate of training. I paid for a 3-hour Basic Food Safety and Sanitation class through my local (Denver) Department of Environmental Health, and I got a piece of paper from them as thanks – not for my attendance and active participation in the training so much as for my check not bouncing, I believe. Only one other attendant was opening a mobile vending operation (a taco truck), everyone else was starting up, or working for, a local restaurant.

Basically, Denver required that my cart have 5 gallons of clean water that is heated and under pressure, and a sink with a drain to a grey water collection tank that had 7 gallons capacity. I have to dispose of this grey water at an approved commissary. Not a problem. Oh, and the sanitation requirements are more basic.

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Steve

“as thanks – not for my attendance and active participation in the training so much as for my check not bouncing, I believe.”

Bingo. But the training is good to have.

dogs on the run

Our dogs have to be 165f or above. Dogs are all I sell that need to be cooked, so for my yearly inspection I have to have one ready to check when the HD comes around temp should be right or she comes back later. Once checked I’m good for a year in that county.The other thing she checks is my bleach water, which is an easy one. I always check a dog from a fresh batch made before I sell. you cannot believe how many people do not mind the little wait and the number that say they have never seen a vendor ever check food temp. If I drop a tongs on the ground I leave them till the end of the day, one county always asks about my sinks for washing tongs, etc. I let them see the water run (but show the extra tongs I carry in plastic bags) tell them the above and they are happy!! Sell em’ all

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Steve

Way to go DOTR! You’re a real pro.

DUGGS DOGGS

I must be lucky, well I guess I am lucky because my health inspector, my city administrator, local business have all worked with me. It should be noted that when my health inspector says I need something I get it before he comes by again; if he recommends something I get it. My city gave me a kinda varance for operating but I still have to be Serve Safe Certified, Inspected by the Health Department, have a Business License and a State Tax ID Number. Local resturants owners and operators are my customers and I am a customer at their resturants too. I support local events and organizations that support our little town (Augusta Warrior Project, Relay for Life, etc. etc. etc.). In doing all this I still make a little money, have fun, get to be on TV, in the local newspaper, on the radio and best of all I can stand on a street corner and have people come up and talk to me and give me money without going to jail. I will always beleive that you can work around every road block. My first day at operating my “Big Dog” I made $30, last year I have to turn down events because I was booked. I don’t pay for advertising other than my signs, business cards, customer cards and T’shirts, its all word of mouth or recommendation from customers. My sales have increased every year since I started, last year was a 18% increase. Make it fun….

DUGGS DOGGS
GOOD!! GOOD!!

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Steve

Good!! Good!!

Robert-Suncruiser Dogs 'n' More,LLC

Geez,

You’re gonna need a cart/vehicle the size of a Winnebago to accommodate all of that cleaning and rinsing equipment. And you’re left with a puny little area to cook your dogs…lol
All they want here in Colorado is an annual checklist inspection costing $255.00 and a sign that states:”All employees must wash their hands before returning to work”displayed on the front or side of the sink. As far as cleaning utensils and such. A mobile food vendor is required to use a commissary type of business ( I use a local Subway Sandwiches) for dumping wastewater,replenishing fresh water and cleaning food utensils.

That also includes a small area of their freezer for storage if I’m gearing up for a big event and need some temporary storage space. The health dept. here DOES NOT allow for the storage of perishable items i.e. hot dogs,brats,etc. in your own personal freezer at home.

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Steve

Very reasonable.

Hot Dog Mike !!!

Hey its Hot Dog Mike !!! I want to Thank everybody for the compliments !!!
Especialy Steve for doing my article !!! It made me so Excited to see my cart
on Hot Dog cart news !!! I live now in Long Island NY !!! I use my cart in Wildwood NJ
wich is a Jersey Shore Resort !!! I have alot of Big festivals lined up for the upcoming
season !!! I operate out of a Very close friends Motel one block from the beach and
boardwalk !!! I come from a family of slingers !! My father and his brothers used to
sling weenies on the streets of Brooklyn !!! As a kid I played with my Dads cart and
allways wanted to do this ! I used to own The Trenton Dog Pound at the entrance
To Arcadia Park Bar Harbor Maine !! It was a Hot Dog stand we ran out of our house
it was a take out restaurant kithen I made in my front porch !!! All board of health
certified !!! I lost it to my wife in a divorce !! I miss Maine Dont miss her !! I miss
my Hot Dog stand the most !!!

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Steve

Wow, I didn’t know you came from Hot Dog Royalty!
All kidding aside, you’re doing your family heritage proud Hot Dog Mike!

P.S. I got your voice mail today. Talk soon.

Hot Dog Mike !!!

Just like a Sabrett Hot Dog !!!
Im on a Roll !!!!!

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Paul Chapman

I have to admit, I like our San Joaquin County Health Inspectors. They can be my friend, or could be my worst enemy. It is completely up to me. They will close down the gross and dirty food vendors, and they encourage the ones who excel in doing it right. I choose to talk with them on a regular basis. It makes inspection time a stress free time. To top it off, most them usually ask me how my business is going, and they give me inside info on events, and places to go. Its all based on trust.
How cool is that
Chappy

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Steve

Very cool Paul. The worst thing you can do is cop an attitude with your inspector. They are just people too. Treat them like you want to be treated.

dar

Just trying to start a cart, gave plan to health inspector for approval, stated I need to have a screened in area for washing utensils, any suggestions?

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Steve

Yes, tell the inspector that you will be carrying five spares of each utensil you use at the cart, therefore you will not be washing them at the cart. If you drop one, you will simply grab a new clean one. This works with many inspectors.

Steve

LOL!

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Steve

My Carts of Cash book contains a chapter on proper food handling procedures. Even if your county does not require Serve-Safe it’s imperative that you know the basics of proper food handling to prevent food borne illness.

As my inspector said, “Don’t get anyone sick and you’ll probably never see me – except as a customer.”

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Hot Dog Mike !!!

Yea Steve it runs in the family !!! But they never saw a cart like mine !!! There very
impressed !!! So once again Thanks to you !!!! Ill be Doin it New York !!!
Doggie Style !!! So come on down to The Weenie Wagon !!!
Where you can Relish my Buns and Savor my Weenies !!!!
We Devour the Compition !!!

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Steve

You RoCk Hot Dog Mike!!!

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