May 18, 2022


Outstanding health & fitness

Getting a Hot Dog Stand License – Rules and Regulations

Before you start a hot dog stand it is crucial that you find out exactly where you stand in terms of compliance with local regulations. If you hope to make a healthy profit by establishing a hot dog business then you must start off with a plan that is legally sound. In this article we look at the necessary steps that you will likely have to go through to get a hot dog stand license and to comply with regulations in your area.

Every State is Different

As the requirements for starting a hot dog business vary between states we have not set out the precise requirements for each state in this article. If you make enquiries locally then it should not be too difficult to determine what you have to do to set up and run a hot dog stand business legally. The following should be taken as a rough guide only to give you an idea of what to expect.

The basic requirements will include a business license and possibly a sales tax license, just like other business models. In addition hot dog vendors will need some form of certification from the local health department and a permit to operate a concession stand at a specified location.

Hot Dog Stand Location – Private or Public?

If you are hoping to operate a stand in a public space such as a street or a park, then in most states you will require a hot dog vendor’s license or mobile food servers permit. This is issued locally, sometimes by the police department, park authorities or other city or county officials.

These licenses are often not in unlimited supply so if you are in a city that is already packed full of street vendors then you may find that you have to get on a waiting list or look at other areas for a location.

Such a license or permit will usually not be necessary if you run your business on private property. In this case it is likely that you will need permission only from the property owner of event organizer.

Health Department Requirements

Local health authorities will have different requirements when it comes to the acceptable design of a hot dog cart and the facilities and equipment within it. It is likely that your stand or trailer will be subject to an inspection. You may be required to have adequate cooking equipment, hot and cold running water, refrigeration and a sink for washing hands for example. Other requirements will include the use of gloves, utensils and hair restraints while the stand is in operation.

You may have to submit a menu to your local health department for approval. Hot dog vendors are usually only permitted to sell pre-cooked hot dogs and not other forms of meat that have to be cooked from a raw state. Certain condiments and toppings that spoil easily or contain dairy products such as mayonnaise may also not be permitted. The sale of beverages and packaged snacks such as chips should be no problem.

Once initial approval is given remember that you will be subject to frequent inspections, so you must maintain high standards at all times.

A Commissary

Some states require that you have access to a commissary. A commissary is basically a place where you can store and prepare food as well as clean your equipment. Ideally, you will need access to a commercial kitchen space. You may be required to store your hot dog cart and equipment at your commissary.

Finding a commissary is not as difficult as it sounds though as you can often negotiate with a church, a school or a restaurant to use their kitchen after hours. Most vendors find that they don’t spend much time at their commissary anyway and many order supplies as they need them and thus don’t require much in the way of storage space.

Food Hygiene and Preparation

In some states you, or one of your employees will be required to take a course in food preparation and hygiene before you are allowed to operate a business selling food. This course is usually fairly straight forward to complete and may even be able to be completed online.

The process of getting a hot dog stand license should not be too difficult. Once you have passed all of the requirements be sure to carry your license and other paperwork with you at all times in case you are questioned by the police or other authorities.