Every successful food truck has an organized commissary so if you plan on staying in the food truck business for a while, you should think ahead about setting up a commissary to help you stay organized, clean, and ready for anything including food or ingredient shortages, price fluctuations on raw materials, and an area where you can create new dishes to offer on your menu.
Understanding the Need for a Commissary
A commissary is the place where you can stock up on your ingredients so you do not have to keep making trips to the market or ordering from your suppliers. Some food ingredients can be stocked up without affecting the freshness of your food like seasoning, oil, baking ingredients, and packaging, among others. If you can order in bulk, you get a chance to lower your costs by asking for the wholesale discount. The commissary is not where you cook the food you will sell daily but you can create new dishes and use the area to store the perishables on your food truck every night.
Depending on your location, you may even be required to have a commissary if you are not allowed to cook from your food truck by some city ordinance. If this is the case with you, will cannot use your personal home kitchen as a commissary but you will be required to find a place that is licensed for commercial use.
Thus, before you make plans about a commissary, find out what the local laws require. This will save you a lot of time and grievance not to mention unnecessary expenses.
Some of the common rules on running a commissary:
- Commissaries are subject to sanitation inspection and must have local certification renewed every year.
- It is possible to rent shared space with other food truck owners to save on rental and local government fees.
- Some cities do not allow the food to be cooked in the commissary stating that they have to be served fresh from the food truck. This usually applies to meals that have to be served hot or contain fresh ingredients like salad greens.
The benefits of having a commissary are multiple. For instance, you get storage space. You also have a place to park your food truck when it is not in use. It also makes it convenient for disposing of trash and cleaning your kitchen equipment. Finally, you can use the commissary as your business address which will make it convenient for anyone to contact you.