Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tick Tock No Truck? We may walk....

Hello All,

Time marches on and so does progress on the Food Truck build! But. Oh. So. Slowwwwwly. I envisioned showing you photos as progress is made but I just don't think the average reader is going to get really really excited about seeing how we are running our wiring, or how an item is glued to another. Those are mostly the photos I have right now. We will show you as appliances are placed. They are all there at the truck build site, and ready to be installed. It's almost time, but not yet. At this rate, we figure we'll be ready for the first big snow fall! So we'll have your hot chocolate and whatever goes with snow days. (It is not folks lunching on Fountain Square, so let's table that thought for now.)

But Randy and I are not discouraged. We are excited about the truck progress and work being done. We know when the truck is ready, we will be ready. Well, that's actually not true. We are going to take some time with the truck and get used to cooking in it and with that equipment, before we take it to a public venue. THEN, we'll be ready! We'll keep you posted.

I do know all the wiring has been run, the service windows are in. The truck has been insulated where appropriate. (ceiling) Openings are being cut or have been cut for the air conditioners. Yes, that was plural. And the ceiling vents, as well as for the exhaust for the hood over the cooking elements. Generator is almost purchased, any second now. And my partner Randy, who apparently can do anything at all, is making our cabinets. He is using commercial grade stainless steel work tables and  making doors for the fronts.

For anybody who is curious, Food Trucks are required to use all Commercial grade equipment and utensils, just as regular restaurants do. Commercial grade requires that all items have an 'NSF' label/stamp/approval on it to be used in the truck/commercial kitchen. While I'm on that topic, Food Trucks are inspected at least as often as 'brick and mortar' restaurants, if not more so. When a special event occurs, usually the Health Department official(s) are there waiting when the food trucks are getting set up. Each truck is inspected to make certain all is in order.

In the City of Cincinnati Mobile Vending program those mobile vendors already have a relationship with the Health Department and have already been inspected. So in that situation it's an just the annual check as a restaurant would have. But since that food  truck will probably go to a 'special event,' that will mean another meeting with the Health Inspector on that occasion. And that's great. More checks are better for everyone.

Also the Health Inspector has a role in the design and layout of the food truck. Our plans were inspected and approved before the build process was able to begin. The Health Inspector spoke to our builder, and the inspector will, of course, inspect it again when the truck is completed. Upon approval we will be allowed to serve food anywhere in the State of Ohio, except for any municipal restrictions regarding parking/location. For the City of Cincinnati Mobile Vending program, eligibility does not even occur until we've completed the approval process with the Health Department. So we work with two separate but important areas of the city, to get inspected, approved and become viable on the streets of Cincinnati. That's in addition to any normal licensing any business would need to get started up and that is good! (Vendors license, LLC or incorporation etc.)

So next time that conversation comes up, you may be able to educate someone as to the 'on-going' relationship mobile vendors have with the Health Department. By the way, many food truck purveyors have taken the 'ServSafe' class at the Health Department also. It is not required, but is a great education. I value what I learned there. (And I passed the test with flying colors, Amen!) In future years it will be required that all establishments serving food have at least one person on each shift whom is "ServSafe" certified, but right now that is not the case. You may rest assured that IS the case on our food truck and on some others.

At left above is what our truck looked like on the inside when we got it. And then also a photo of some of the 'diamond plate' flooring which has been installed. Cooking equipment will be installed right over those wheel hubs that you see there.

Next is a photo of the service window cut-out. As I said above, the window is now installed. Let there be light, and air!!

More progress photos soon! (Please note: 'soon' is a relative term.)

Thanks for your patience, your encouragement, and your enthusiasm expressed to both Randy and myself.  We appreciate that everyone has been so encouraging and enthusiastic about our start-up.

Make it a great day.


Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can!

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