Community Empowerment

City Shares Tips On How to Sell Food on a Mobile Kitchen

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to most businesses, particularly those in the food industry. Selling food to customers on the street can be extremely hazardous if such interactions do not include taking into account measures of preventing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vuyisile Singo, a mobile kitchen operator in Springs, has committed to abide by the Covid-19 precautions.

“I always make sure that my customers have their masks on when they arrive at my mobile kitchen. I maintain and practice frequent hand washing when preparing food, after going to the bathroom, and after touching my face or hair,” she says, and thoroughly cleans and sanitises the equipment, food contact surfaces and equipment, as well as door handles, light switches, floors, walls, and other high touch areas.

Her mobile kitchen operates in an open business space and is towed to and from the area every day.  

The Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) ensures that mobile kitchens comply with by-laws. There are regulatory requirements for a mobile kitchen, if the business will be in a public open space or municipal land. The equipment that is used must have wheels and be roadworthy. It must be towed in the morning and towed away in the afternoon and not be parked on site overnight.

Manager for Community Enterprise Development Sithembiso Garane said failure to abide by these requirements will lead to it being impounded and a heavy fine being paid to get it back.

Garane said prospective mobile kitchen operators must obtain permission from the landowner to conduct business on the premises. They also need to notify the nearest EMPD offices to get approval and have the site inspected to ensure that it complies with the by-laws, and that a mobile kitchen business is permissible on that site.

Mobile kitchens deal with cooked food that require a health certificate. The business operator needs to visit the City’s Environmental Health offices and ensure that the kitchen is inspected and issued with a certificate of acceptability. “This certificate proves that the kitchen from which the food is cooked has met the City’s approval for standard of quality,” said Garane.

He mentioned that if the applicant will be cooking the food on site, they need to obtain approval and compliance certificate from the Fire and Emergency Services.

In order to obtain a Trading Permit one has to go to the nearest Customer Care Centre, obtain and complete an application form. Attach certified copy of the business owner and manager of the business’ ID, proof of residence, Certificate of Acceptability and Compliance Certificate from Fire and Emergency.

If the application has been approved, the applicant must pay a business license fee only at the Municipal Finance Department’s cashier, who will issue the applicant with a cash receipt and not to any other individual.