Food Truck Association Hoping to streamline the permitting process


CLEVELAND Ken Hatfield owns Hatfield’s great food, and he’s accumulated a collection of stickers in the back of his food truck.

“It’s the Lakewood Fire Department. It’s the Akron Fire Department. And this is the city of Cleveland,” Hatfield said, showing the stickers to Spectrum News.

What do you want to know

  • Northeast Ohio Food Truck Association president hopes to streamline permit process
  • Food truck owners say different cities have different permit requirements
  • The president of the association met with local officials to discuss the issue

But they are not decorations. These are permits issued by a local fire department to allow them to operate the food truck.

Hatfield must apply for it in each city. He needed a special permit to enter the NFL Draft last year in Cleveland.

“We got an inspection in Cleveland, and then we’re going to do an inspection in Lakewood. Then we had an inspection at Akron,” Hatfield said.

Hatfield said those permits are needed in addition to the one he has with the state to operate a food truck. He said the permitting process may vary because local governments interpret the state fire code differently.

Hatfield said a local inspection usually involves making sure its propane tanks are a certain height above the ground and posted.

A health department inspection forces him to organize his food in a certain way.

Hatfield is also president of the Northeast Ohio Food Truck Association. He said he met with county officials in Cleveland and Cuyahoga about creating more uniformity in the local licensing process.

“As a restaurateur, I find it difficult to get by. I’m surprised I’m out now,” Hatfield said on a ride.

He agreed that permits are appropriate and necessary, but said they weren’t always worth the time to get one.

“There are cities I won’t go to because it’s not worth driving there to pass inspection and do a single event there,” Hatfield said.

He hopes a streamlined process can save time for businesses and fire departments who have to carry out all the inspections.

Hatfield plans to meet again with city and county officials about the matter in June.


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