Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Guide to Theme Park Food Carts
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants provides the following information as a general guide for theme park food cart licensing in Florida and does not represent this to be all requirements for maintaining a license. For complete information, we recommend you refer to applicable laws and rules and our licensing website.
This webpage replaces our brochure: DBPR Form HR 5030-031, Guide to Theme Park Food Carts.
Theme Park Food Carts
Theme Park Food Carts are classified as mobile or stationary units that operate within the confines of a theme park or entertainment complex as an extension of a fixed public food service establishment. We license such carts collectively by the theme park or entertainment complex that maintains and operates them. It is the responsibility of the theme park or entertainment complex to acquaint all operators with the requirements of all applicable laws and rules. The operator is required to notify the division immediately of any changes in the number of carts.
The operator of a newly constructed, remodeled, converted, or reopened theme park food cart must submit properly prepared facility plans and specifications to the division for review and approval. Such plans must be approved by the division prior to construction, remodeling, conversion, and scheduling of an opening inspection and licensing. See our plan review website for more information.
Plan review is not required if the division can otherwise determine that the intended remodeling will not have an impact on fire safety or any other sanitation and safety requirements provided in law or rule. Applications for change of ownership do not require plan review when no interruption in operation, construction, remodeling or conversion occurs.
Only one plan review is required for each type of theme park cart (i.e., soda, popcorn). The operator needs to notify the division of any additional carts to that license, but an additional plan review is not required.
1. Theme park food carts shall operate adjacent to or within 300 feet of the approved support facility.
2. The division prohibits preparation of potentially hazardous foods on theme park food carts. The only exceptions to this are frankfurters obtained from approved sources that require no further preparation except cooking before service.
3. Potentially hazardous food portioned for individual service at an approved fixed food service establishment (support facility) may be served from an enclosed theme park food cart as long as the food is protected from contamination by way of enclosures with self-closing doors, screens, air curtains or other approved methods.
4. Carts may serve condiments individually prepackaged, pre-portioned, from approved dispensers or by the operator as a part of food preparation.
5. Obtain ice for consumption or ice that comes into contact with food from an approved source only in chipped, crushed or cubed form. Store the ice in a way that protects it from contamination until dispensed.
6. Protect food and food-contact surfaces from rain, dust, rodents, insects and customer contamination. Where necessary to prevent such contamination, provide overhead protection and effective shields or air curtains.
7. Clean and service all food carts, when used, at least once daily.
8. At the end of each period of operation, the operator must store all foods and supplies in the theme park’s commissary or at an approved fixed food service establishment within the park.
9. Maintain an adequate supply of sanitized, covered or wrapped spare serving utensils in the cart to replace any utensil that becomes contaminated.
10. Wash and sanitize all multi-use serving utensils used in theme park food carts daily at the park’s commissary or at an approved fixed food service establishment within the park.
11. All storage cabinets must be of closed construction to prevent the entrance of vermin.
12. Provide waste containers for the deposit of food scraps, food wrappings, cups, napkins and discarded single-service articles.
13. Except for those offering only prepackaged or packaged foods, provide each theme park food cart with adequate, conveniently located, hand washing facilities for employee use. These facilities must be equipped with running hot and cold water (minimum temperature of at least 38° Celsius/ 100° Fahrenheit) through a mixing or combination faucet. Also, provide hand cleansing soap or detergent, and approved sanitary towels or other approved hand-drying device.
14. You may wash the exterior of the vehicle in any location that the wastewater does not create a sanitary nuisance.
15. Each cart may connect to an approved utility system if:
- The utility system adequately meets the unit’s needs,
- Sanitary facilities are available for employees and patrons according to the plumbing authority having jurisdiction, and
- The cart uses services at its base commissary at least on a daily basis.
16. Each theme park food cart operator must designate in writing the certified food manager responsible for all periods of operation, but these managers do not need to be present at all times. The operator has 30 days from the day of licensure to obtain food managers certification. See our food manager certification website for more information. Florida law requires all public food service establishments to provide the division with proof of food manager certification upon request, including, but not limited to, at the time of any division inspection of the establishment.
17. Theme park food carts are exempt from the requirement of having a public bathroom for employees and patrons.
18. A theme park food cart’s water tank inlet must be 19.1 mm (3/4 inch) in inner diameter or less. Provide the water tank inlet with a hose connection of a size and type that will prevent its use for any other service.
19. Sewage holding tanks in theme park food carts must be sized 15% larger in capacity than the water supply tank. Slope the sewage holding tank to a drain that is 25 mm (1 inch) in inner diameter or greater, and equipped with a shut-off valve.
20. Remove sewage and other liquid wastes from units at an approved commissary in a timely manner to prevent a public health hazard or nuisance.
21. Equip theme park food carts with conveniently located refrigeration facilities and hot food storage and display facilities large enough to maintain all potentially hazardous food at safe temperatures (below 41° Fahrenheit or above 135° Fahrenheit) during all periods of storage and display. Provide each piece of equipment with an accurate thermometer (±3°Fahrenheit).
22. All equipment must have approved materials and design. Ensure that the equipment and unit finishes are smooth, easily cleanable and capable of withstanding the conditions of operation. Install equipment so that it is readily accessible and you can clean the spaces between, behind and beneath it.
23. Do not conduct operations connected with a theme park food cart from an unapproved facility. State law prohibits cooking, preparing, or storing food, utensils or single service items at a private home, or performing utensil or equipment cleaning at such a location.
24. Division personnel inspect as often as necessary for enforcement of the provisions of law and rule, and the protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare. Theme park food 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.
25. The operator must maintain the latest inspection report on the unit and make it available to any consumer who asks to see it.
The division records readily observable fire safety items during inspections. The division reports any item that may violate fire safety requirements to the State Fire Marshal and local fire safety authorities. Please contact them to ensure your establishment meets fire safety requirements. Fire safety items include:
1. Provide all units equipped with heat producing appliances for food preparation or maintaining food temperatures with at least one approved portable fire extinguisher having a minimum rating of at least 10BC. Each extinguisher must have a standard, state-approved service tag attached. A person holding a valid state permit issued by the State Fire Marshal must recharge or inspect the extinguisher and prepare the tag to include all required information.
2. Install required fire extinguishers so they are easily accessible on each cart. Locate extinguishers as remotely as possible from the fuel supply or power source of the cart as required by Chapter 69A-43, Florida Administrative Code (FAC).
3. Perform installation of liquefied petroleum (LP) gas appliances, equipment, apparatus or containers on theme park food carts in accordance with section 61C-4.0161(10), FAC. In addition:
- Install gas appliances in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications (LP Gas Certification is required prior to licensing);
- Shut off the gas supply at the tank when equipment is not in use; and
- Do not park a unit using LP gas in a building during the operation of its vending business.
Unless the division approves an Alternative Operating Procedure, food employees may not contact ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands. Employees may use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves or dispensing equipment.
Food service workers may transmit most pathogenic bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses to foods. That is why it is so important that employees maintain high standards of personal cleanliness. All personnel must wash hands prior to beginning work, when returning to work after any break in food preparation activities or any time their hands become soiled.
Florida law prohibits smoking in food preparation areas.
Personnel must wear clean outer garments and effective hair restraints.
All personnel must be free of open sores and skin infections, respiratory infections, upset stomach, diarrhea or other communicable diseases.
An operator who has reason to believe that an employee may present a public health risk should immediately notify the proper health authority.