Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roadside Barbecue

For some barbecue hobbyists, setting up a roadside barbecue stand sounds like a winner; however, it's not as simple as it sounds. There are rules and regulations that must be followed to protect the public interest.

When I checked into this in Florida a few years ago, I was told that I needed a commercial kitchen to clean and sanitize equipment, a commissary to store supplies, and approval from the local county health department before putting any plans in place to open a business. There were forms to fill out and fees to be paid and there's the question of liability insurance. In Florida, mobile food establishments are regulated by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Here's a link the pages of their website that explain the requirements for mobile food businesses. And here's another link regarding the availability of rest rooms for take-out or carry-out businesses.

As Nancy Krohngold from Sarasota, FL discovered recently, it's not a good idea to go out on your own and open a barbecue stand without following those guidelines. This article on the says that Florida, "officials told her the law requires stands like Krohngold's to be inside a building with nearby bathrooms and sinks for cooking and cleaning."

It's not meant to crush the entrepreneurial spirit, as Krohngold contends, but more to protect those who eat her food and to protect her if someone gets ill while eating it.

Some people have attempted to start personal chef businesses that prepare bbq. According to the guide to catering on the Division of Hotels and Restaurants web page, that is acceptable in Florida if the following guidelines are met:

1. Personal chefs include individuals contracted to prepare and serve food at a private party or for a single household utilizing privately owned, onsite equipment
2. Personal chefs must not prepare food prior to the event

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