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There are many types of catering trucks, from premade to home-built. The truck must meet rigid food service regulations, just as a restaurant would. A van with an extended roof will also make a nice catering truck. Equipment can be purchased new or used at local restaurant supply stores.
Clean the inside of the vehicle. If you are using a van and it has carpets, remove them. Remove all of the seats, except those in the front. If you are using a used catering truck, remove all of the equipment.. Lay down a tile floor. Choose a tiling that is easy to clean. If you are using a van, make the counter at the back double doors, or cut a window out of the side of the van.
Clean any used equipment with a degreaser, then a bleach and water solution. You will need, at a minimum, a refrigerator, grill and a warming plate or warming light. Purchase utensils, such as spatulas, spoons and grill scrapers.
Arrange equipment so that it is easy to reach everything without having to make more than a few steps. This is important when you are working a busy venue. All of the equipment should run on propane—even the refrigerator, as you may not have an electrical hookup at certain venues.
Hook up the equipment up to propane bottles. Make sure the shut-off valve is in easy reach for each of the pieces of equipment. The propane bottles should be mounted outside of the vehicle (this is a safety concern). Keep a few extra propane tanks around.
Contact the local food service inspection company or code enforcement agency for the catering truck’s first inspection. They will inspect the truck and issue you an inspection license if the catering truck passes. Once you have passed cleanliness and safety inspections, purchase food and find a venue. Only purchase what food will be used in a few days.
Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.