Catering maybe?

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Joined Jul 23, 2021
Hello all. I am from Virginia and I am currently doing research on my business. I have not started yet but I would like to as soon as I can get all of my permits and licenses together. So my idea of a business is a snack cart (catering maybe?). I will have a snack cart with cut up fruit and different options of candy and I will set up at customers events, like birthday parties and more. I know that I will have to rent out a commercial kitchen because I am cutting up fresh fruit. I would also like to add to my menu options (corn in a cup, hot cheetos and cheese) so again that's where the commercial kitchen comes into play. What I am struggling is what the business type is. Since it is a snack cart I'm not sure if it would be considered "constesions stand" or more like catering. There is no meat involved so I'm not sure if it makes a difference. Anyone has suggestions?
 

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What kind of business the cart is considered will be determined by your local health department and those doing the licensing. They will put it in to a pre determined category. You can call it whatever you want but those agencies have the important opinion. That will be determined by what information you give them about what and when you plan to sell and to whom.
 
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Joined Jul 23, 2021
What kind of business the cart is considered will be determined by your local health department and those doing the licensing. They will put it in to a pre determined category. You can call it whatever you want but those agencies have the important opinion. That will be determined by what information you give them about what and when you plan to sell and to whom.
Ok thank for your response. I will get with them this week.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Hello all. I am from Virginia and I am currently doing research on my business. I have not started yet but I would like to as soon as I can get all of my permits and licenses together. So my idea of a business is a snack cart (catering maybe?). I will have a snack cart with cut up fruit and different options of candy and I will set up at customers events, like birthday parties and more. I know that I will have to rent out a commercial kitchen because I am cutting up fresh fruit. I would also like to add to my menu options (corn in a cup, hot cheetos and cheese) so again that's where the commercial kitchen comes into play. What I am struggling is what the business type is. Since it is a snack cart I'm not sure if it would be considered "constesions stand" or more like catering. There is no meat involved so I'm not sure if it makes a difference. Anyone has suggestions?
The fresh fruit prep probably won't concern the licensing authorities so much as the candy and your ability to maintain certain temperatures on your cart given the other food options you plan to offer. For some reason, candy production tends to freak out health departments but, other sweet treats like fudge, cookies, brownies etc, that contain "high risk" ingredients such as eggs and dairy are not a big deal to them. Welcome to the food industry, right?

With that said, if there's a hook that's going to catch your sweater, it will probably be the candy and the "cart" you plan to use.

I agree with chefwriter chefwriter that your state licensing authority will decide what predetermined category your business model falls under. If I were to take an educated guess, I would say it would come under a category that's more of a closer kin to food trucks rather than catering. Familiarizing yourself with your state's food truck regulations might be of some benefit.

You can always call your state's licensing agency and give them a description of your business and they will tell you what category your business would come under so you can prepare accordingly prior to submitting your license applications.

Let us know how it turns out.

Good luck! :)
 
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Joined Jul 23, 2021
The fresh fruit prep probably won't concern the licensing authorities so much as the candy and your ability to maintain certain temperatures on your cart given the other food options you plan to offer. For some reason, candy production tends to freak out health departments but, other sweet treats like fudge, cookies, brownies etc, that contain "high risk" ingredients such as eggs and dairy are not a big deal to them. Welcome to the food industry, right?

With that said, if there's a hook that's going to catch your sweater, it will probably be the candy and the "cart" you plan to use.

I agree with chefwriter chefwriter that your state licensing authority will decide what predetermined category your business model falls under. If I were to take an educated guess, I would say it would come under a category that's more of a closer kin to food trucks rather than catering. Familiarizing yourself with your state's food truck regulations might be of some benefit.

You can always call your state's licensing agency and give them a description of your business and they will tell you what category your business would come under so you can prepare accordingly prior to submitting your license applications.

Let us know how it turns out.

Good luck! :)
Thank you for your response. As for the candy, I won't be making it myself. It will be store bought. It will be considered more like toppings.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
candy is never a problem its very low protein.
About 5 years ago, my wife began a home based chocolate business that has since grown into 2 brick and mortar stores. I thought just as you did....."its candy....its low risk, so it shouldn't be a problem". We were quite amazed at how strict the cottage food laws were in our state when it came to producing candy for commercial sale in a home kitchen.

For example, in my state, chocolate bars are considered "candy". If they're made in a home kitchen, they cannot be sold in any stores or restaurants. Even if the bars are not made with milk chocolate or do not contain any dairy, they simply cannot be sold commercially in stores or restaurants. Yet, our state laws permit the sale of these home made bars at farmer's markets, pop up events or if the sale is made over the internet and purchased directly by the end user and not for re-sale in a store.

Other candies, especially those made with dairy i.e. cream fillings, frostings, eggs etc, simply cannot be sold commercially. They have to be made in a licensed commercial kitchen and only then their sale is limited to farmer's markets, pop-up events and gross sales are capped at $5,000 per year. These restrictions, sadly, are not unique to my home state. There are a few states that ban the commercial sale of homemade candy altogether.

When it comes to hard candy, you're correct. They're almost always found universally on the "permitted items" list for home production in just about every state. Nevertheless, most states have similar laws and regulations that keep a tight leash on what candies can be made for commercial sale in a home kitchen. :)
 
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SgsVirgil. From home to two stores in five years! I'd like to congratulate your wife on her success, you for supporting her efforts and both of you for having remained married. As a former small business owner I'm very impressed.
 
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SgsVirgil. From home to two stores in five years! I'd like to congratulate your wife on her success, you for supporting her efforts and both of you for having remained married. As a former small business owner I'm very impressed.
Thanks. We appreciate that.

She supported me for over 4 decades. When I sold the business and retired, it was finally time for her to do what she wanted to do. We had the capital to invest and the the time to make it happen. Our kids are grown and have kids of their own so, there were no distractions for her. She really leaned into it and our connections in the food industry and state agencies helped quite a bit, as you can imagine. She has a great head for business and had many years of practice managing the books and finances in the restaurant. So, she really hit the ground running.

I couldn't be more proud of her. My only wish is that we could have another 40 years to spend together!

Thanks again! :)
 
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