How to Keep Your Food Truck Clean

November 12, 2012

Simply put, your business depends on your cleanliness. There is no way to get around this fact and there is no reason that you should want to. It is in the best interests of your customers, your staff, and your business as a whole.

I know – creating a gourmet meal can be messy. But there’s no excuse for skimping on the cleaning. The messier you are, the more you have to clean – there’s no two ways about it. Some individuals believe that cleanliness is relative. This belief is a mistake in the food truck industry because health inspectors do not agree.

Although you will do most of your cooking in your commercial kitchen, you will do a lot of your food prep in the food truck’s kitchen. For this reason, it is essential to maintain a hygienic kitchen environment on a daily basis. Failure can result in food poisoning, and ultimately the shutdown of your vehicle. You should also keep in mind that your service window offers all of your customers a view into your truck – and, unlike what you may have heard, there is such a thing as “bad publicity” when word gets out about your dirty truck.

To maintain a clean food truck, keep plenty of cleaning supplies with you at all times. Tailor these supplies to the surfaces and appliances in your vehicle. Just to cover the basics, make sure that you have the following: mop, broom, soap, sponges, sanitizer, stainless steel polish, towels, oven cleaner, broom, all-purpose cleaner and degreaser.

Next tip? Think like a health inspector. Health inspections are mandatory for every food truck in order to ensure that your vehicle meets and enforces the local food codes in your area. The purpose of the inspection is to assist in protecting the public from health safety concerns. So, what are the critical items that are at the top of the inspector’s checklist? The top items that relate directly to food-born illnesses. They are as follows:

  • Observing proper hand-washing
  • Ensuring that food comes from an approved source – such as a licensed retail store
  • Making sure that foods are kept at safe temperatures
  • Verifying that no cross-contamination occurs between raw and cooked products

These are just a few of the critical items that health inspectors look for. Overall, it is imperative that you – as the food truck owner – have a firm grasp on your local health codes prior to launching your operation. Furthermore, ensure your staff receives training on food safety practices, including safe food handling and preparation training.