A major part of the food concession business is being inspected by health officials. You have made all the necessary steps and decisions in order to get into the concession business. You’ve bought your equipment. You’ve chosen the type of food you will serve. You’ve scouted out a location. You’ve prepared and planned. Now you find out that you must be inspected in order to legally do business? That’s right. One of the last steps in the process of beginning and operating any type of food service business of your own is to be inspected. You may not have thought that the mobile food vending industry would require this, but in many cases, you must have the same credentials as if you had a stationary restaurant. Don’t panic! There are many aspects of making sure you are ready for the inspector, but cleanliness is the most important thing above all. Being clean will almost guarantee that you will make your inspector happy, and this is a good thing. There are many ways to make sure you are clean at all times. Another way to be sure you will be ready when the inspector will come is to know roughly when the inspector will come and what to expect when he or she shows up. Most importantly, maintain your equipment in a way that you expect an inspector at all times.

Inspectors are very important people to the food service business owner. The reason for this is because they can make or break your business. Depending on the state you are in, you will have different inspectors. For the state of Florida, for example, there is a separate division of the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) that deals specifically with Mobile Food Dispensing Vehicles (MFDV). This will not be the case with all states, but all states will have some type of regulatory practices regarding health. In some cases, it may be the Health Department that regulates MFDV. Whoever your inspector represents, the very best thing is to establish a positive relationship with him or her. This will make your life much easier.

A great way, an almost sure way in fact, to endear your health inspector is to be clean! It can’t be stressed enough how important cleanliness is to not only your inspector, but your employees, customers, and, consequently, you. Surfaces, equipment, floors, supplies, and employees must all be clean in order to make a great impression on your inspector and customers. As far as surfaces, different states require different ways of cleaning and/or disinfecting. Usually, an adequate disinfectant involves a mixture of bleach and water. Contact your local health officials or licensing authority to ask what parts per million must be bleach to water. This is a very simple cleaning solution, and will almost always pass with the inspector with flying colors. The advice given from here: disinfect! That means when something is spilled onto the floor or counter: clean it up then disinfect! After preparing raw foods and before preparing different raw or cooked foods: disinfect! Periodically and when your employees have no customers to wait on: disinfect! The moral of the story is you cannot disinfect too much. Cleaning can only reduce your chances of contracting, spreading, or cultivating bacteria and disease.