Food trucks are mobile restaurants, commonly used by individuals or groups who want quick, easy, healthy, and cost-effective ways to prepare and serve food, without the need for full-time restaurant staff. These Greek Food Trucks are usually small, hot vehicles with an enclosed seating area for customers to eat, along with counter-top space for the chef. Some have as few as two food carts, while others can have as many as twelve.
Food trucks are temporary vehicles, usually less than a ton, pulled by a vehicle that transports catering services. Food truck inspections are performed by government health inspectors. Food trucks are required to be cleaned, sanitized, inspected for safety, and maintained according to federal, state, and local health regulations.
According to the Food Truck Inspection & Certification Service (FSIC), food trucks are inspected throughout the entire course of operations during each visit. Inspectors may also visit an establishment to ensure sanitation at the time of inspection.
There are many different food trucks throughout New York City. According to the NYC Department of Health, which monitors all food service within the city limits, there are only about twenty new gourmet food trucks which meet all of the city health regulations. Most restaurants must obtain a permit to operate a food cart on the street. Many restaurants choose to start with one truck and add more later.
The Food Truck Association, a trade group dedicated to increasing awareness and regulations regarding food trucks, provides information about approved food trucks in the city through a website. A list of approved vendors is also available through the Department of Health.
This list contains businesses that apply for a business license and must prove that all sanitary conditions have been met. The Food Truck Association also provides a listing of all city agencies and departments which provide information and inspections on food trucks. Food truck owners are strongly advised to closely follow all inspections and requirements.
Food trucks are often strategically placed along high-traffic public transportation routes, to attract customers. According to the NYC Department of Health, most food trucks are subject to periodic inspections by city agencies and are required to display sanitary signs at all times, including a sealed and opened container. Every food truck has the right to vend any product that is by the rules and regulations of the state department of commerce.
According to the NYC Department of Health, food trucks and carts that sell alcohol should be sold through a separate license program. According to the Food Truck Association, food trucks have the option of displaying the seal of the state department of commerce, but may not display the actual license number.
Some restaurants offer food trucks as part of a promotion, offering consumers the option to pick their favorite cuisine. Food truck owners may contact a restaurant owner or operator to assist them to design a mobile menu that will meet the restaurant’s standards for food safety and presentation.
The US Department of Agriculture’s division of agriculture food safety and inspections channels much of its resources to analyze food safety across the country, much more so than the federal government does.