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QUESTIONS FOR THE BUSINESS OWNERS HERE

rollin smoke

Meat Mopper
222
11
Joined Nov 3, 2012
I know that most people will say that its a bad idea, but it has long been a dream of mine to sell my bbq. I've been smoking and grilling meat for a long time and I do a pretty good job at it. I'm seriously thinking about going for it! But, I need intel....what kind of licensing will I need for just setting up in a parking lot or places like that? It would be kind of a you just get your food and go type thing. Maybe have a couple of picnic tables but I'm thinking small right now. Would I just need a vendors license and a business license? I live right outside of Savannah Ga. in Effingham County. Any words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated!

Ricky
 

captcouillon

Newbie
23
10
Joined Dec 4, 2012
Spent several years living on Tybee Island GA,  working in a restaurant as well as setting up a lot of local outside events. 

Your first stop will be the local health dept. How helpful they will be depends on who you get, and your attitude. They are there to help you, but some of them can be a bit bureaucratic. One year they made all our food vendors set up inside screened enclosures. (Not cheap). A lot will also depend on whether they consider you "temporary" like a festival or other event, or "permanent". Temporary will require a new permit and inspection each time you set up. Permanent will have a single annual license and random inspections, usually every 3 months. Minimum requirements for either will be a hand washing station, gloves,. thermometers for holding and cooking temps, disposable serving utensils and a trash disposal plan. One work around to some of this is if you can setup and run under someone else's license. One fella in Thunderbolt ran for years in the lot of a seafood store. No competition and he threw them a percentage. If you try to avoid the health dept or get over on them, forget it, they will haunt you forever. And believe you me, if the burger joint down the street thinks you are hurting their sales, they will rat you out. Also you have the option of setting up as a "lunch wagon" I know the regs are different but not familiar with the specifics

Other licenses are going to depend on where you are set up. City or county, and the local zoning.

As I remember Effingham is pretty loose but if you are say in the city of Rincon regs will be different.  Ga charges tax on carryout food in general, so you will have to get a State tax certificate as well as dealing with any local tax requirements.

Not to be discouraging, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through and you gotta sell a lot of briskets to make the "nut".  Now if you can set your self up as the First Church of the Holy BBQ the regs are almost non-exist ant for non-profits. That's why you see so many parking lot smokers selling butts for charity in Ga.

Good luck.
 

jarjarchef

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
3,141
112
Joined Sep 30, 2010
Spent several years living on Tybee Island GA,  working in a restaurant as well as setting up a lot of local outside events. 

Your first stop will be the local health dept. How helpful they will be depends on who you get, and your attitude. They are there to help you, but some of them can be a bit bureaucratic. One year they made all our food vendors set up inside screened enclosures. (Not cheap). A lot will also depend on whether they consider you "temporary" like a festival or other event, or "permanent". Temporary will require a new permit and inspection each time you set up. Permanent will have a single annual license and random inspections, usually every 3 months. Minimum requirements for either will be a hand washing station, gloves,. thermometers for holding and cooking temps, disposable serving utensils and a trash disposal plan. One work around to some of this is if you can setup and run under someone else's license. One fella in Thunderbolt ran for years in the lot of a seafood store. No competition and he threw them a percentage. If you try to avoid the health dept or get over on them, forget it, they will haunt you forever. And believe you me, if the burger joint down the street thinks you are hurting their sales, they will rat you out. Also you have the option of setting up as a "lunch wagon" I know the regs are different but not familiar with the specifics

Other licenses are going to depend on where you are set up. City or county, and the local zoning.
As I remember Effingham is pretty loose but if you are say in the city of Rincon regs will be different.  Ga charges tax on carryout food in general, so you will have to get a State tax certificate as well as dealing with any local tax requirements.

Not to be discouraging, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through and you gotta sell a lot of briskets to make the "nut".  Now if you can set your self up as the First Church of the Holy BBQ the regs are almost non-exist ant for non-profits. That's why you see so many parking lot smokers selling butts for charity in Ga.


Good luck.
Some very sound local knowledge and advice. Make sure what you do is on the up and up. Stay informed of any changes as time passes as well. My wife owns a preschool and has been in the same building for 12 years. About a year ago they got a new fire inspector for the local area. He walked her building for a license and informed her she needed to change all of the windows to be in code. This was a code that went into effect years prior and she never knew or was told. It started the new relationship with this fire inspector on a bad foot. She is still having issues with him.

Food safety side..... Set up a HACCP program for your operation. It will help you protect your investment if anything was to ever go wrong. PM me if you want more HACCP details and we can talk.....

If it is your dream and what is planned for you....go for it with eyes wide open...
 

rollin smoke

Meat Mopper
222
11
Joined Nov 3, 2012
Thanks guys. I'm definitely going to be looking further into things. I really just want to sell some sandwiches on the weekend or something like that. Have alot of research to do. Jarjar...might be getting back with ya. Thanks again.
 

swampmouse

Fire Starter
34
10
Joined May 30, 2011
Rollin,

The Captain gave you some very good advice. I have a shaved ice business that I do at festivals, school fund raisers, and the like. Here in Gwinnett county, the health dept. will not even look at me to give me a license because I do not have a permanent location. In turn, the county will not give me a business license because I don't have a food permit.....see the circle of beauracracy here??? Hey - in the end they saved me a lot of money in fees every year:-)!!!

You may also look at doing some local festivals - there's a lot in the savannah area, and I know a big one (I think in February) is in Darien for the start of shrimping season.

We have dealt with some counties at festivals whose health dept. were wonderful, some who never show up, and others that just want your money...regardless.

Following a dream is rewarding..wether you make a lot of money or not. Remember, most small business people crash and burn on their first business or two. I crashed and burned on my first one, which cost me only a few thousand dollars in the long run, but I could not put a price on the experience and knowledge I gained doing it.

Good luck to you!

SM    
 

rollin smoke

Meat Mopper
222
11
Joined Nov 3, 2012
Calling the health dept soon to find out what i need to do here. Hopefully it'll go well. I want to cover myself ya know. I'll be sure to let you guys know the details. I've had a business license before. A few years back i had a small internet business that took the plunge from the high dive board and the pool was empty! Haha! But...live and learn right. The way i see it...Anything worth having is worth working for! We'll see what happens! Thanks again guys!
Ricky
 

mvincent42

Meat Mopper
273
14
Joined Nov 3, 2012
Let me start by saying I know nothing about Georgia, but here in Colorado we have a small business administration (SBA) that was super helpful when my mom was setting up her own business (pet sitting not bbq.) They have many resources available to help out if you have something similar there.

Also, my wife is a cpa that sets up many small businesses. Make sure you file all the correct paperwork for taxes. Also think about incorporating if you want to keep the money you do make. Not sure if every state does it, but right now it is only $1 to set up a corporation in Colorado. If you have any friends or family who are accountants, utilize this resource.

Make friends with your local health department and chamber of commerce. They will both be great allies in the long run.

The square card reader is an awesome credit card service. Free equipment that fits right on your smart phone and very low percentage taken out. You would be surprised when you can take credit cards how your sales go up. My wife has several clients that use it and they all seem happy with it.

https://squareup.com/

Apparently it is a pretty good pos (point of sale not piece of...) system too. I haven't used it. Price is right though.

Good luck man! Hope it all goes well! If I am ever in Georgia I will come have some lunch with ya!
 
Last edited:

tomolu5

Meat Mopper
230
17
Joined Oct 3, 2012
Not an owner myself, but my wife's family used to own a restaurant, and they served q when her dad was still around. I don't want to dissuade you from following your dream by any means, I just want to make sure it is said, the food service industry is tough...the prices that you have to charge to make money vs. What people are willing to pay, dealing with regs, employees and on and on and on...I'm not sure how serious you wanna go with this, but just precaution, you think that you will own the business, but it really owns you. That said, if you have that drive, that never say die mentality, go for it!

Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2
 

rollin smoke

Meat Mopper
222
11
Joined Nov 3, 2012
Let me start by saying I know nothing about Georgia, but here in Colorado we have a small business administration (SBA) that was super helpful when my mom was setting up her own business (pet sitting not bbq.) They have many resources available to help out if you have something similar there.
Also, my wife is a cpa that sets up many small businesses. Make sure you file all the correct paperwork for taxes. Also think about incorporating if you want to keep the money you do make. Not sure if every state does it, but right now it is only $1 to set up a corporation in Colorado. If you have any friends or family who are accountants, utilize this resource.
Make friends with your local health department and chamber of commerce. They will both be great allies in the long run.
The square card reader is an awesome credit card service. Free equipment that fits right on your smart phone and very low percentage taken out. You would be surprised when you can take credit cards how your sales go up. My wife has several clients that use it and they all seem happy with it.
https://squareup.com/
Apparently it is a pretty good pos (point of sale not piece of...) system too. I haven't used it. Price is right though.
Good luck man! Hope it all goes well! If I am ever in Georgia I will come have some lunch with ya!
THANK YOU SIR!! I didn't even think about credit card sales! and im one that only pays with my credit/debit card. never cash. I have ordered one and will have it in 7-10 days. my wife can also use it for her arts and crafts thing she has goin on. At 2.75% or $275 per month...I can adjust prices easily too! not bad! Thanks again!
 

rollin smoke

Meat Mopper
222
11
Joined Nov 3, 2012
It's just something i want to do on my off days really. Weekends and holidays. Like i said...thinking small.:biggrin:
 

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