Miami, Florida is one of the biggest food truck towns in America. Maybe you live in Miami and have dreams of starting a food truck, maybe you already own one. If you already have a truck or need help buying one these are solid and practical things you need to know or think about when opening up a food truck.
Miami, FL food truck requirements
When starting a food truck you must have your truck built to state specific requirements. That means something you have built for Florida regulations may not fly in other states. Florida requires your food truck to have refrigeration, storage, powered utilities, electricity, a liquid waste tank, a freshwater tank, and a three compartment sink. Self-sufficient food trucks still need to get and dump water in an approved nonresidential location that isn't a restaurant. In the state of Florida your food truck is subjected to two random inspections a year so you better be ready for them. If you get your food truck was built out of state it will have to be inspected in your state. Reputable builders will know how to meet your states requirements the first time so don't end up paying twice by trying to cut corners on your truck.
Getting your Certificate of Use
This is a pretty easy one, your Certificate of Use basically tells the county what your company is, who you're mainly selling to, and about the space you're operating in. You can find the application here.
Where to operate your food truck
Every state has it's own operation regulations. If you're catering for private parties, it's easier to get a permit than if you're serving to the public, but in turn you have to build up your customer base as opposed to "walk in" traffic. There are three main ways to operate a food truck in Miami, FL:
- Getting a Special Event Permit. These permits are issued to food trucks that operate on private property for two weeks a year, two times (8 weeks total); and ten times on public property (20 weeks total).
- A peddler's license where your food truck is always moving and only stops to serve (exactly like ice cream trucks).
- The Vacant Land Permit. These permits last up to six months and can be extended in 6-month increments for up to two years. Keep in mind in Miami, Florida parking lots and abandoned properties aren't considered vacant.
Having, or being a certified Food Manager
The food managers role in your company is to inform employees of food safety and laws. If you are serving to the to public you must have at least one certified food manager employed. To become a certified food manager in Miami you must pass the FMC (Food Manager Certification) test. You aren't required to take any courses before taking the test but some places like Prometric offer classes for a fee.
Those are a few of the practical things you have to get done when wanting to open a food truck in Miami. Remember to work with your fellow food truckers in the area and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather!