Health Department 101

Health Department 101

In the beginning, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Legalities are the first and most crucial stage in every business. Because operating a hot dog cart primarily involves serving food to the public, the aspiring hot dog cart owner must contact the local health department or the environmental services department to inquire about the necessary requirements or conditions for establishing his business in his town. Health department requirements vary depending on the current city, state, or county you find yourself in.

Depending on the area, the organizations mentioned above have different criteria.

Here are some of the most common considerations health departments might bring up:

What kind of food are you planning to serve? This refers to the sort of food to be offered, the ingredients (if they are under the vendor’s control), and the toppings that will be offered.

Health departments will also want to make sure you are handling food properly. This includes factors such as storage, thawing, and cooking. They’ll also have standards for temperatures for appropriate for storage and cooking.

The health department will require a document indicating the characteristics of the cart you are thinking about putting into service. This includes the cart’s dimensions, the materials to be utilized, and the building procedure. Willydog provides detailed schematics on all its carts with all the information your health department will require. A certain number of cleaning locations, such as sinks or washing stations, must also be put onto the cart.

Water supply

There is also a specified amount of freshwater to be stocked near the concession stand. This is for cleaning up and for other essential operational processes. There must also be a waste or used-up water storage capacity that must be adhered to.

Protocols for Health

Your local health department will likely prohibit smoking either by the operator of the cart of near the cart.

Taking a food handling course

The departments will also host a seminar on how to do this sort of business in the appropriate manner. All food handlers must attend before they can be granted permission to handle and cook the food.

The majority of towns around the country will need the ambitious entrepreneur to get a commissary license for this public kitchen.

In a nutshell, a commissary is a state-approved commercial kitchen, such as a restaurant kitchen, that stores, prepares, and cooks food for the general public. If the kitchen’s owner or manager enables others to use the kitchen, it is classified as a commissary.

Most states require any food vendor, including a hot dog vendor, to prepare, cook, and keep food there. The cart would be too small to hold 1000 hot dogs and buns. If you need to cut sausages, chop onions, wrap tamales, make pulled pork, etc., you must do so in a professional kitchen, such as a commissary.

Although there may appear to be a big list of requirements for a basic hot dog cart company, each one is necessary. Food handling duties should not be taken for granted since they will almost certainly affect consumers’ health. The regulations mentioned above are in place to ensure potential consumers’ safety and avoid the trailer operator from facing any legal action.

If any of the health authorities’ protocols or standards are unclear or appear to be suspicious, don’t be hesitant to ask questions. At all costs, avoid taking shortcuts and getting involved in illicit activities. Running afoul of the law will cause additional damage.



We bring decades of real-life hot dog hot dog slingin’ experience! We design carts that we have loved and used for years and are confident you will feel the same way.  


Each cart is assembled by our team of skilled craftspeople and thoroughly inspected before it leaves our manufacturing facility. 



We are available 24/7 to support you in your new business venture. Our warranty / extended warranty are the best in the business and will give you the extra security you may need when making this exciting investment.