What is a Hot Dog Cart license? continued…

Hot Dog Carts need a Commissary

Hot Dog Carts are limited in what food service activities can be done on the cart, so a commissary is needed for dishwashing, food storage, to fill up the water tank, and to empty the wastewater tank. The requirements are that Hot Dog Carts will utilize the services of a commissary every day of operation or more if needed. For Hotel & Restaurants (H&R) Commissary has a specific meaning.

Commissary Definition: A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) permitted or H&R licensed food service.

Any FDACS permitted or H&R licensed fixed food service establishment can provide commissary services for your cart. Commissary details are required for the Hot Dog Cart license (HTDG) application.

Exception – If the Commissary is on a septic system the county Department of Health (DOH) would have to approve the system for increased use. This also applies to any other water/sewer locations used by a MFDV. For this reason we recommend using a location that is on municipal water/sewer.

If the commissary location is permitted by the Department of Health, such as a school or fraternal organization or bar, then the Department of Health would be the permitting agency for the mobile unit.

With a HTDG license, operators are fully able to drive from place to place throughout the state, as long as they visit a commissary each day of operation. Operators may have multiple commissaries, and since they are a licensed food service, they can also operate at a 1-3 day temporary events without having to pay temporary event fees. Hot dog carts can offer more menu offerings, such as sandwiches, as long as they were prepared in the commissary, wrapped/packaged, and offered to the customer wrapped/packaged.

Steps to acquiring a HTDG License

There are generally three steps to acquiring a food service license with the division:

  1. Apply for a license and pay the license fee
  2. Complete plan review (if required)
  3. Schedule and pass the licensing Inspection

Note: Steps 1 – 2 can be completed online.  If plan review is required, we recommend applying for both license and plan review at the same time using one of the combination applications available via DBPR online services. This COMBO is the fastest way to apply and get open.

Only apply when ALL required documentation is ready and you are prepared to pay the fees.

Application Tips

  • Applicants are welcome to send in a cover letter with their completed application explaining their specific situation.
  • All DBPR food service licenses have a 7 digit numerical license number. Before purchasing a food service business, making an agreement with a commissary, or sharing a kitchen verify the license by searching here.
  • If a plan review is required check the plan review page before submitting your application. Remember that plan review applications can be submitted via email.

If purchasing an already licensed Hot Dog Cart from another operator, verify the license by searching here. Save the license number; you will need it for the license application. Complete the HR 7007-Application and mail it in along with the commissary form HR 7022 and the appropriate fees.

Fees

Fees are determined by application date and county. Fees MUST be paid at time of application.

For a detailed breakdown of fees, see the food service fee page.

Plan Review

No plan review is required if an operator

  • buys a cart already licensed by the division and no changes are made

Plan review is required if an operator

  • constructs or uses a cart that has never been licensed by the division
  • uses a cart that has been closed for more than one year
  • uses a cart that has been remodeled

Plan review requires

  • a plan of the cart with equipment labeled
  • a sample menu
  • a side photograph of the cart showing the wheels
  • commissary location. Fill out and submit the commissary form HR 7022.

For more details about plan review visit the plan review page.

Inspection

Opening Inspection

All new licensees are required to pass a sanitation and safety inspection prior to opening. After meeting all requirements of the plan review and submitting your license application and fees, check your approved plan review packet for inspector contact information, or contact the department at 850.487.1395 to schedule an opening inspection. For more information about inspections, view the Inspections page.

Ongoing Requirements

Once licensed, operators must meet and maintain all applicable standards of a public food service establishment as provided in rule, code, and statute. Conduct all food storage and food preparation operations in an approved, licensed food service establishment. You may not conduct food operations in a private residence.

Division personnel inspect as often as necessary for enforcement of the provisions of law and rule, and for the protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare. Hot dog cart operators must permit division personnel right of entry at any reasonable time to observe food preparation and service. If necessary, division personnel may examine records of the unit to obtain pertinent information regarding food and supplies purchased, received, or used.

Need Help?

All requests for public records, complaints, forms, and applications for licenses can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.

Steven von Bodungen, Director

Division of Hotels and Restaurants
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1011

Telephone: 850.487.1395
Email: dhr.info@myfloridalicense.com