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Concession Trailers and Vending ?'s

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
A bunch of questions from a newbie. I worked mostly in food prep, service and cleaning (Exhaust hoods, Fryers,etc). I want to start a food concession stand. Since my funds are low I considered converting a travel trailer and maybe a RV. The main reason is there all ready propane equiped with stoves, fridges, hot water, sinks etc. Now I know there not made to handle commercial equipment but its a way to get in the door. As I find success I can upgrade the missing pieces.
I want something mobile. I would prefer something food truck like where I can just go in the back and start cooking. Thats why I like the old Rv. The trailer could still be towed but it wouldnt be as conveinent.

So before I go any further would it even be legal? Would I need upgrades to be safe? I plan putting in a fryer, stove top griddle, Steel panels and counter tops, Maybe a exhuast upgrade.

The trailers can be as low as a few hundred bucks. I can strip the unneeded junk and put in what I need. And at fairs I can go to sleep when im done zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I have to talk to the local health dept since they have most the answers. I have talked to a local business about airbrushing the trailers with credit to his company for a huge discount. So the outer apearance will be nice. But im still worried about the possible reaction of a travel trailer. I currently design websites so I will have a active web site dedicated to the business.

Any tips or info will be greatly appreciated.

Some of my Ideas

Fried dough, Cheeseburgers, Beef patties, French fries, Fried Chicken wings, Corn Dogs, Water, Soda, Sausege, Fresh squeezed lemonade and OJ. Maybe Steak and cheese, sandwiches, potato salad, mac & cheese,cannoli, beans, lasagna,

My main location would be a weekend flea market (50 miles away) with low fees. It is as busy as most the local fairs but is open year round.
Sailfest a big 3 day event in my home town. Also local fairs and smaller food events. If I have a mobile set up there is a bus station that connects to a ferry(from long Island Sound) in the heart of downtown. Sometimes there is a single hot dog vendor there. Also big business Phizer, Electronics boat,.

Competition: At the flea market is slim a few people with BBQs and probaly no permits. Two or three booths offering the usually with the exception of fried dough and chicken.

At the Fairs more of the usually food but they have real deal trailers.
Theres two real big fairs where I will be out gunned but the money would be crazy.

At the Festivals My home town host a 3 day event that brings in 350,000. This is the money maker but can be expensive. Theres is several food events that deal with catered styled food and ethnic foods. I would do good there so Ill avoid them for now.

Bus station and Ferry terminal a single hot dog cart.
post #2 of 4
The standard stuff applies i.e. handwashing station, mop sink, proper exhaust system, waste water containment, potable water supply, lighting etc, etc.

Also you generally will need to get temporary food vending permits for each of the kinds of events you mentioned.

As you have noted, the local health dept folks will have the accurate and current information you need.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I need permits for every event? I thought that was only if you didnt have a vendors licence.

Now do I need a double sink and a seperate hand washing sink?(or is this another local thing) That wouldnt be that hard to do. One of the trailers has a leak in the ceiling so I could rebuild it with a nifty little exhuast.

But you think it can be converted or is this a dumb idea? Ill most likely organize it this year and start at the begining of the year. Since I only have 3 weeks to 4th of july.

Im worried about the fire marshals not approving it. That and someone told me a fryer in a mobile kitchen is a death trap. I seen them on the food trucks though.
post #4 of 4
The vendors license may cover you for all events but thats one of those little details you need to clarify with the health dept folks.

A fryer will most likely require an exhaust system as well as the possibility these days of an automatic fire supression system. Again another detail that needs to be investigated closely. Talk to the fire marshal before doing or buying any work or equipment. One of the issues that may come up with the fryer is its location in relation to any exits the trailer or vehicle has. You wouldn't want a raging grease fire to essentially block the only way out.

I have seen many places and a wide variety of materials and equipment turned into kitchens. What you want to do can be done fairly easily if you are willing to spend the money and effort to get it right.
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