DBPR Bottom Line: Fast Facts for Florida Business Leaders

April 16, 2010

Dear Friends:

In our "On the Road to Better Business," we meet one-on-one with any citizen or customer who wants to talk about the quality of the job we are doing here at DBPR. It's not always easy to hear from a business person that the action (or inaction) of your agency negatively impacted that person. But the feedback we get is critical. We know that if one customer raises an issue, there are likely dozens of others who we don't hear from. So after we finish each meeting, we dissect the feedback and make adjustments to our business processes so that no other customer has the same problem in the future.

During a recent "On the Road to Better Business" meeting, one of our licensed restaurant owners complained that at times unlicensed BBQ trailers and other food vendors would set up shop close to his establishment and operate illegally right under his nose. In addition, these unlicensed mobile food vendors are not being held accountable for state sanitation standards, which help protect the public from foodborne illnesses.

Since the complaint came to me, I visited the site with our inspectors from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Our inspectors shut down the business and educated the individual on how to get licensed.

We want to help businesses get licensed as quickly and as easily as possible. In this case our inspectors gave the offender their cell numbers and a promise to either personally assist him in becoming properly licensed, or to prosecute him if he did not. The accomplishment was a simple one, yet important—we listened to a customer, followed through on his concern, and educated an offender on how to comply with the law.

This all occurred right around lunch, and I found myself craving BBQ. We went down West Tharpe Street here in Tallahassee to the Time Saver gas station parking lot, to a mobile food vender owned and operated by William Ash. William is properly licensed, and has attended all the required food safety training courses.

William is the purest spirit of business in America—a small operation out of a trailer employing himself, his son, and one other person. William slow-cooks incredibly good Jerk and BBQ. He is proud of the fact that though his business is humble, he runs a safe and sanitary operation, in compliance with all of Florida's laws. William serves inexpensive food with a taste and quality that rivals anything that any larger restaurant could produce.

Entrepreneurism is one of the things that has made America great. DBPR team members are sensitive to the delicate balance that exists—we are here to support Florida's businesses and professionals and enforce state law, but only to exercise regulation to the extent necessary to protect the public.


Charlie Liem's Signature

Charlie Liem
Interim Secretary

Department of Business and
Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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Interim Secretary Charlie Liem meets with licensee William Ash.

Interim Secretary Charlie Liem meets with licensee William Ash.


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