How to Start a Mobile Food Business in Florida

by T. Connors; Updated September 26, 2017

Mobile food businesses can range from a rolling hot dog cart to a larger catering truck that parks at construction or office sites during lunch. Due to Florida's year round pleasant weather, you have the opportunity to have plentiful business uninterrupted by snow and ice. Starting a mobile food business in Florida can bring rich rewards. You'll simply need to put in the time and effort to get the appropriate equipment and licenses.

Step 1

Determine what size cart you want to purchase. These vehicles can be purchased from dealers across America from companies like Catering Truck or Vending Trucks.

Step 2

Obtain a serve safe license so you are a licensed food handler in Florida. This test is administered by your local food safety department from your county or from the state department of agriculture. Florida's official government Website will direct you to the correct department to obtain this license. Please see the link in our Resources section.

Step 3

Register your business in Florida at Florida's Sun Biz Website. This is Florida's small business Website. It will help you obtain the proper licenses for your food business in Florida. This Website is very user friendly. It will take you through the step by step process for registering your mobile catering truck. Live operators will walk you through the process if needed.

Step 4

Contact your local city or county to see what licenses they require. In Florida, each county has separate tax and licenses requirements.

Step 5

Purchase your inventory from a price club like Sam's Club or Costco. You may also choose wholesale vendors like U.S. Foods or Sysco that service almost every Florida county. Depending on your menu, you will need to find both perishable and hard goods vendors.

Step 6

Once you have cleared all the legal paper work, work out with your local municipality where you are allowed to park and sell your goods. Some towns have zoning laws that may prohibit you from parking and selling in certain areas.

Step 7

Find locations to sell your food in high traffic construction sites or office buildings. Market your cart to the receptionist or administrative assistants. Ask them if they would hang your menu and notice of your new food service in the employee break room.

Tips

  • Plan on being open Monday through Friday. Most businesses are closed on the weekends.

Warnings

  • Failure to license your business may result in heavy fines and closure.

About the Author

Connors, a commercial pilot for the past decade, has traveled all over the world sampling the best from each culture. As a freelance writer for Handmark media, he draws literary inspiration from his years as a top New York city chef and his travels around the world as a pilot.

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