Concession trailers are a great method of working in food service and owning your own business without a high overhead cost. A variety of fast foods can be served from these mobile units including Mexican food, BBQ and hot dogs. Some even promote salads, soups, and gourmet food items. Starting your own concession trailer business in Texas is a relatively simple, easy-to-follow process, but you must comply with the state's legal requirements.
Licensing and Permits
Choose a name for your trailer or food service company and apply for a DBA, "doing business as" at the county clerk's office. The office will research the name for you to make sure no one else is using it before issuing your DBA designation.
Contact the IRS for a federal tax ID number. These numbers alert the IRS as to which new businesses need to file tax returns in the coming year.
The Texas Sales and Use Permit and Tax ID can be obtained online from the State Comptroller's office. This establishes the guidelines to collect sales tax.
Apply for a food permit from the city health department and properly display the certificate in your trailer. The health department will conduct periodic, random inspections of your vehicle to ensure that proper sanitation and safety procedures are followed and licenses and safety posters are prominently displayed.
Food Handling Certification
Take the exam for a food handler certificate. This is required of all employees and individuals who prepare food in any type of restaurant or concession stand. The food handler course teaches owners and employees how to handle food properly and safely to prevent contamination and illness.
The course must be accredited by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Both the course and the exam can be taken online through private seminar companies or the Texas Restaurant Association. Some restaurant-supply businesses also hold the classes in their facilities as a service to their customers.
Request permission or follow the proper procedures when choosing a location for your trailer. If you want to set up shop on a corner of a gas station or similar business, you must have the permission of that property owner. Permits would be required from the Urban Transportation Department for city-owned property or sidewalk areas. Some special events have set locations for food vendors while others have a first-come, first-serve policy.
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