As they prepared for the lunchtime crowd, the owners of the Concrete Cuisine
food truck in Detroit (pictured above) explained to the Detroit Free Press
what it took to get their vehicle and food business licensed:
"The food truck owners started working to get their license from the Wayne County Health Department -- known for its tough standards -- in the spring. "It took us three or four months," says Kava, 32, of Livonia. "You had to come up with a plan review, the same as you would with a bricks-and-mortar restaurant. They wanted to see your whole layout. They wanted to know every single piece of equipment -- dimensions, specs, where you're buying it. You have to have a spec sheet for every single thing -- the exact model.
"They wanted to know your food sources and the entire flow of the food. ... We had to say we were getting the chicken, for instance, from U.S. Foods. And then it's, 'OK, you buy your chicken frozen. What's your thawing-out process? How do you cook it? How do you hold it? How do you serve it?' We had to go through every single menu item and do the exact food flow."
And those were only a few of the requirements.
"They say you have to do this, this, this and this," says Aquilina, 35, of Plymouth. "So you go back and do that, and keep redoing it. The final step was the lighting. We didn't have a lighting chart. They wanted to know where the lights are going to be and what's covering the lights."
"We were amazed at the amount of steps," adds Kava. Other people told them they should have gone to Oakland County, where the process is said to be easier. "But you know, it's cool, because once you actually receive the license, you have a sense of accomplishment."
MP: Yes, once it's all over, you might have a sense of accomplishment from successfully navigating the bureaucratic maze and getting a food truck license, but it's too bad that so much time, energy and money has to be spent on the mountain of paperwork required to start a small business to serve the public. Well, at least it's creating a huge barrier to entry for the incumbent businesses, and will limit the competition from potential entrants who might be unwilling or unable to navigate the bureaucracy.