February 4, 2011
Separate from my enjoyment of street food, it's always been my opinion that roadside food vendors are one of the purest forms of entrepreneurship. We license these mobile food vendors through our Hotels and Restaurants division and ensure that they meet the same food safety standards as any other restaurant. These entrepreneurial Floridians are often chasing a dream they've always had of their own business, or they may have found themselves needing to make a little extra income for themselves and their loved ones. Either way, they usually start up a roadside restaurant with barely the most basic equipment, coupled with their ability to cook tasty food.
These small businesses, and others throughout the state, are part of the backbone of Florida's economy. The owners are passionate about their project, whether it's a barbeque stand on the side of the road or small shop nestled on Main Street. They create a few jobs at a time, but every single one of those new jobs is so very important to the person holding it and to that person's family or the people they support. If their fledgling businesses meet a customer need, they eventually expand, hire new employees, and maybe open additional locations.
My grandfather (who was an entrepreneur) used to tell me that small business often failed in their first year. As I've talked to the small businesses throughout the state, I've seen that for their first year they usually operate on a shoestring budget, with the owners struggling to manage long hours and little income. Government fees and fines, costs associated with regulations, rules, and impediments can sometimes make the difference between success or failure. What may seem like a small requirement to a bureaucrat may be a major obstacle to the person trying to keep a business alive. Overregulation of small businesses, such as roadside food vendors, can stifle the spirit of entrepreneurship and discourage these businesspeople – it may even dissuade them from starting their venture. It's important to me that we continue looking for ways to get rid of unnecessary regulations so small businesses can start up and thrive, creating jobs and bolstering our economy.
At DBPR we have cut in half the time it takes us to issue a restaurant license - currently from 36 days to about 18 days, but this is still in addition to local requirements an entrepreneur may face - such as zoning, wastewater and fire marshal inspections. DBPR can't control the requirements cities and counties impose on entrepreneurs, but here at DBPR we are aggressively streamlining the requirements we do manage. We are currently looking at streamlining the plan review process the department requires from new restaurant owners. We want to make this process even faster and more efficient, so owners can get through this step quickly and with ease, making it that much simpler to get a new restaurant up and running and serving its customers.
If you have questions about starting up your own business, please visit our website, www.MyFloridaLicense.com, for information on getting started. Our Customer Contact Center is also available to help answer any questions you may have and can be reached at 850.487.1395. We look forward to welcoming you and your business to our state!
Department of Business and
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Customer Contact Center: