Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot Dog Cart - Buyer Beware!

Today I received a phone call from a gentleman that purchased a cart from a manufacturer online.  He states that he read carefully through their website and even gotten it pre-approved.

After receiving the cart he had the health inspector come inspect.  IT FAILED!!!

WHY?  The website states ( and I have reviewed) that the components meet or exceed related NSF standards and specifications.  They even display the NSF logo on the photos.   This lead the inspector, during the pre-approval review to suspect in fact the cart did meet NSF/ANSI standards.

Well it doesn't and here is the short list of violations:
  1. Rivets around the prep and cooking area.
  2. Improper edge gaps
  3. All plumbing was not certified compliant by NSF/UL, only the pump.
  4. Storage tank non-compliant.

This is the short list.

Note:  Not all but some manufacturers use diamond plate steel for the carts, this allows them to use inferior grade metals and allows them to use thinner metal.  It does look good on some carts, but when you find diamond plate used in areas where you cook or clean, RUN!  Diamond plate has ridges and is harder to clean and so most states do not allow it in the prep, storage and cooking areas.  

This cart may pass inspection in some states, but it didn't for him.  He has spent his money to only find that this Florida manufacturer offered misleading information and it even misled the inspector.

Ways to avoid this problem:

  • Do your research online, search the manufacturer name, check with BBB, do a search at, get on facebook and look for them, talk to other vendors and also check out
  • Take multiple pictures to the health inspector for pre-approval.  With pictures, the health inspector would have noticed the problems before he purchased.  He had only taken the schematics.  Also take the full description.   
  • If the manufacturer is new and there isn't anything online about them, ask for references.  
There are several great manufacturers out there.  Don't get to rushed and do your homework.  

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