From a financial standpoint, owning a restaurant is out of the question for the average MN certified food manager. Most chefs do not have the financial backing to purchase or build a restaurant, and many banks consider restaurants to be a high-risk opportunity making financing hard to come by. Is being your own boss out of reach for all but a few food service workers? Buying and operating your own food truck may be a feasible option if you’re ready to own your own facility but have limited financial resources, but you should be aware that the Minnesota Food Code has specific guidelines that you must follow.
The MN Certified Food Manager and the Food Truck Revolution
There are very specific rules that are set up by the Minnesota Department of Health that food truck owners/MN Certified Food Manager must follow in order to keep the food that they serve safe. Some regulations that that create a challenge for food truck owners include:
- Hot food holding
Just like in a normal food production facility, hand-washing stations must be present with hot water, soap and paper towels. This can be a challenge for a food truck operator if your plumbing is all self-contained in your vehicle. When you purchase or design your own food truck, make sure that the water tanks are designed to hold enough water to last an entire day. Some food trucks are engineered to have water hooked up on-site, but you may not be able to count on a source of water at every location you serve.
Hot food holding can also be an issue when providing food service from a mobile unit. We recommend that you plan a menu that is easy to cook to order and does not require you to hot hold any item for an extended period of time. If you do intend to hot hold any item, make sure that your vehicle is equipped with heat lamps, chafing dishes or a steam table that can adequately keep your food out of the danger zone.
Finally, dish-washing can be an issue. If you only have a limited supply of water, you are not going to want to waste it on washing plates and silverware. We strongly recommend that you utilize recyclable plates, utensils and other items for serving your guests. As for cooking tools used during service, it is important to keep a backup of items such as tongs, spatulas and other tools essential for your operation.
Are you a MN Certified Food Manager looking to branch out by purchasing your own food truck? Leave us a comment or a question below, and we’ll anonymously address any other concerns that you may have in a future blog.