More than likely you will need to contact your local building inspector and start there. As what you are planning on doing is to build a brick and mortar restaurant kitchen inside of a van body which, in the states, falls under the building dept. for inspections and permitting. I would start there and maybe they could direct you to someone who has done what you are intending to do. As far as on this site, there are plenty of build threads going with many pictures. Check the Hot Dog thread, there are more than a few there and one was active just the other day.
I found this website through google. I did a quick search on here and couldn’t find any answers to my questions, so I’ll go ahead with this (sorry if I’m in the wrong forum though)!
Basically, I’m ready to go into the mobile food business. I have some friends doing it part time at festivals, but I feel like I want to do it on a full time basis here in Vancouver, BC – where there is a demand for mobile food trucks as we only have a handful so far.
I did a bit of research and came to the conclusion that in the end it would be more beneficial to build a small step van and convert it myself, rather than buying an already converted unit.
My question is, do any of you have any experiences in customizing a van, and if so, do you have some basic instructions or tips?
Thanks a lot
Thank you! I will check and post questions on the hot dog pro forum!
Pour your cooled oil in a can (this was covered on the hot dog pro forum). you need to check out the hot dog pro forums.. They aren’t just for hot doggers. Many food carts of all kinds.
I used to live farther west than you! Franklin NC. Until we left last summer.
I am looking at a step up van tomorrow and hope it’s a good one as I am eager to start my business. Ideally the cab part of it should be 16ft long and 8 ft wide right? Would that be plenty of room for a fryer, flat top, 2 eye burner, sandwich prep area, 3 compartment sink, hand sink, refrigerator and freezer, or is that asking too much? I live in Western North Carolina and the terrain varies, how do you handle the oil in the fryer from spilling out while in route? This might be a stupid question but it crosses my mind!
orauball: I am looking at doing the same thing across the Strait, on the Island, and have done a ton of research. You will find an enormous amount of information on this forum. As well, the Hot Dog forum is very suited to mobile-type inquiries and tips.
localnet is right, you really have to start with your inspector. If you are going to be a fully-fledged restaurant unit, you will require the same standards as a bricks and mortar establishment, e.g. 4 sinks plus mop sink, commercial extraction fan, sufficient fresh and grey water holding, etc. All these requirements are on the BC Gov’s website and you can pick up paper copies and booklets from your local enviro-health unit. Mine were very helpful and they even have trailer floorplans. However, if you are serving pre-prepared food, you do not need as much equipment on your truck/trailer but you must have a certified kitchen (referred to as a commissary in the U.S.) for your initial cooking, storage, return clean-up, etc. This could be a rented restaurant kitchen (the trailer in Vancouver called “Re-Up” uses a restaurant kitchen in Gastown, for example), a local community hall’s or a church’s kitchen that’s certified. We are probably going to build one in our home.
How big and what equipment you need will depend upon what food you are preparing. I haven’t fully decided on my items and it’s a bit of a “chicken and egg” situation when you haven’t; very difficult to proceed on kitchen/truck/trailer designs without firm decisions about the menu.
Either way, if you are thinking beyond hot-dogs, the cost of doing business will not be cheap and you will start well into 5 figures. Let me know how you get on.
Mobile Food Unit – Instructions
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