A concession trailer can be a successful business, because you can move the business to your customers rather than trying to get customers to come to you. In Arkansas, concession trailer businesses are regulated by the state Department of Health. Additionally, because you are operating a moving vehicle, your business is regulated by the Office of Driver Services, a part of the Department of Finance and Administration.
Department of Health Permit
The Arkansas Department of Health regulates food establishments, which it defines as an operation that is conducted in a mobile, stationary, temporary or permanent facility or location, whether consumption is on or off the premises, and regardless of whether a price is charged for the food. You will need to get a health permit for your concession trailer.
Environmental Health Branch Plan Review
If your concession trailer is a new business, the Health Department's Environmental Health Branch must review your plans. This review covers the proposed layout of the trailer, intended menu and types of equipment. If you are purchasing an existing concession truck business, check with your county Health Department to determine if a plan review is required.
You must pass inspections by the Department of Health. Passing the inspection requires satisfying certain safety and sanitary conditions. Your business will be inspected one to three times per year, depending on the number of customers you serve, the foods you sell and the temperature controls you use. Food that is heated, cooled and reheated needs more Department of Health attention than food that is kept hot or served cold. Unopened packaged food requires less supervision than food cooked on the premises.
If you are starting a new business and need a plan review, your application must be accompanied by a fee of 1 percent of the estimated cost of establishing the business; this fee will range from $50 to $500. Once your facility is established, the permit costs $35 annually.
You will need a commercial driving license to drive your trailer. You can get one at your local Office of Driver Services. You will also need to register your vehicle with the Department of Finance and Administration.