Having to visit a commissary will be one of the many "I did not know I needed to do that" that catch new mobile food entrepreneurs off-guard. Seasoned Houston area food truck owners understand that the commissary is one of those love/hate aspects to your mobile culinary business venture. On one hand as a stand-alone support service for your food truck they can be handy and convenient but on the other hand, as permit requirement it can be annoying.
In this article we will discuss the relationship between commissaries and food trucks.
First, what actually is a commissary
The definition of a commissary is a location that prepares food that is meant for public consumption but is not consumed on premises. Basically a restaurant with no guests. Many large restaurants and fast food joints use this method. Everything is made and prepared at one local offsite location and shipped to its satellite locations for sale and consumption.
But wait, that makes no sense, what does that have to do with my food truck?
To answer that question we need to put on our regulatory hat and look at the county and city health codes. Although each county and municipality has their own health codes,there are three goals that they all want to achieve (I've actually heard these officials tell me this, so that's my backup for these points):
1.) Potable water is coming from an approved source: They don't want you filling up your food truck from your dirty backyard hoses....and don't lie, you know they are rank LOL!
2.) Waste from your food operations is disposed of in a regulated manner (grey water, garbage, oil etc): They don't want you dumping garbage at the side of the road, or illegally anywhere, as well as oil and grease down some sewer drain either
3.) Make sure your unit is mobile: I have had some disagreements from other food truck owners on this one but I've heard it clearly from health officials that having to visit a commissary is proof that you moved your food truck. Believe it or not guys, some food truck stay parked in one location until they are shoe-horned out by some public official.