Do you want to start a street food vending business and want to know how to obtain a license? If YES, here are 7 easy steps to becoming a licensed food vendor.
In the United States of America and in most countries of the world, businesses that handle food or drinks are highly regulated, and as such they need to obtain licenses and permits before they can legally operate their businesses.
The food business is one of the delicate industries because they are involved in cooking food meant for consumption by a large number of guests which is why the business is subjected to regular inspection by health officials. If you run a food vending business in the United States of America, you are expected by law to comply with the rules and regulations in the industry.
This goes to show that all food vendors in the United States of America are mandated by the law of the country to apply and obtain a food vendor’s license before they can legally sell food or drinks to the public. As a matter of fact, this license is not restricted to mobile food truck operators.
Any person who operates a vending business that sells any product or substance (including beverages) intended for human consumption while occupying public space in that portion of a street or highway that is improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel will require a food vendor’s license to operate legally in the United States of America. The truth is that if you go ahead to cook or sell food to the public without obtaining the required license, you can end up in jail.
If indeed you are interested in legally running a food related business and you want to become a licensed food vendor in the United States of America, here are some of the basic steps you would need to take in order to achieve your goal.
7 Easy Steps to Becoming a Licensed Food Vendor
Step 1: Know the Existing Law Governing Food Vendors
The first step to take when it comes to becoming a licensed food vendor is to know the existing law governing food vendors operating in the city you intend operating, the state you intend operating and the whole of the United States of America. It will be to your advantage to be well-informed before venturing out to get a license for your business.
One major step you need to take in order to get the required information about the law governing food vendors in the United States of America is to visit the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Vending Division. They will be more than ready to assist you.
For example, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is currently not authorized to issue street vendor licenses for those seeking to vend on city sidewalks. So, if that is the business you intend starting, then you need to re-strategize or else you won’t be able to obtain the required food vendor license.
Step 2: Register a Business
Come to think of it, no one will give you a license to operate a business that is not registered. So, if you have conducted your findings and you are ready to start and operate your food business in the United States, then you are expected to register your business.
Please note that whether your organization is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or in some cases, a trust, the said organization must be registered and be in good standing with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the application process, you are expected to contact the Corporations Affairs Division in your state.
Step 3: Secure a Kitchen Facility
The next step to becoming a licensed food vendor in the United States of America is to secure a kitchen facility. This is pretty important and can be done alongside registering your business because you would need a physical address when registering your business and of course during inspection from the regulatory department.
As a matter of fact, all applicants for a Basic Business License for the Street Vendor A category must be inspected by and/or receive approval to operate from the Department of Health, Food Safety & Hygiene Inspection Services Division and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Vending Division.
You are expected to construct your kitchen facility to fit into the requirements in terms of health, food safety and hygiene before you can qualify to become a licensed food vendor in the United States.
Step 4: Apply for a Food Vendor License
Lastly, if your kitchen facility has been inspected and you have gotten approval from the regulatory body, it means that the coast is clear and you can go ahead to apply for a food vendor license. The basic things you need to have in place before applying for a food vendor license are a business registration certificate, a kitchen facility or a mobile food truck or a kiosk, application fee and form.
It is important to state that every state in the US has its own requirements when it comes to issuing food license to applicants. For example, in Washington DC, the license duration is two (2) years (you are expected to renew your food vendor license after every two years).
The license is not available online, you are expected to visit their physical office to apply and obtain the license. When it comes to the fee, this is how it looks like (Category License Fee: $338.00, Application Fee: $70.00, Endorsement Fee: $25.00, Technology Fee: $43.30 and the Total Fee: $476.30).
If you meet the expected requirements as stated above, you will definitely secure your food vendor license and become licensed food vendor in the United States of America. Please it is important to state that some states have less stringent requirements when it comes to applying and obtaining a food vendor’s license. This means that if you are not qualified to become a licensed food vendor in one city/state, you can try other cities or states.