How to operate kitchen car business in Japan
In this page, I will explain legal information relating to starting kitchen car business in Japan.
Necessary requirements are stipulated in Rule of Kitchen car business ( Shokuhin Ido eigyosha toriatsukai youko =食品移動営業車取扱要綱).
In the case you intend to prepare kitchen car and cook food and sell it in the kitchen car, you need to satisfy some standards that are different from conventional restaurant business.
Basically, you can not cook and sell plural foods at one kitchen car.
That is to say you cannot make and sell fried chicken and crepe in the same kitchen car.
However, if the display and storage of food is completely separated or it is regarded there is not problem concerning sanitation, you can cook and sell plural foods at one kitchen car.
In the case of light vehicle (with a cubic capacity of 550 cc. or less ＝ Keijido sha), you can cook and sell only one menu.
However, you can sell ( excluding cooking ) plural foods at light vehicle.
In the kitchen car, you can not conduct complicated process.
So, you can not fill sausage in the kitchen car.
( Though you can heat sausage in the kitchen car )
(source of this picture is http://photozou.jp/photo/show/1677775/131437205)
You may hope to fill sausage in other facility and sell it in the kitchen car.
However, it is very difficult.
In the case you fill sausage in your facility and sell it in the same facility, if you have obtained restaurant business permit, you can start your business.
However, in the case you make sausage in your facility ( for example, your factory ) and bring it to your kitchen car, you need to obtain permit of meat product manufacturing industry ( Shokuniku seihin seizougyou = 食肉製品製造業許可 ).
And in order to obtain permit of meat product manufacturing industry ( Shokuniku seihin seizougyou = 食肉製品製造業 ), you need to appoint food sanitation administrator ( = Shokuhin eisei kanrisha ).
In order to become food sanitation manager ( shokuhin eisei sekininsha ), you can take a lesson and become within a day.
However, in order to become food sanitation administrator ( = Shokuhin eisei kanrisha ), there are some hurdles.
In order to become food sanitation administrator ( = Shokuhin eisei kanrisha ), you need to satisfy either of below.
(1) A person who is Doctor or pharmacist etc.
(2) A person who graduated from faculty of medicine, pharmacy etc.
(3) A person who took necessary lesson.
( This lesson is conducted in university. In order to take this lesson, you need to enter this university. )
(4) A person who has worked in facility where there was food sanitation administrator ( shokuhin eisei kanrisha ) for more than 3 year and taken necessary lesson.
This lesson takes over 30 days and it costs about 300,000 yen.
Now, let’s go back to the case you conduct simple cooking in the kitchen car and / or sell it in the kitchen car.
There are eight types of permit to operate kitchen car business in Japan.
|Eat and Drink business ( Inshoku ten = restaurant business in kitchen car )||In working chamber, you can heat, dish up food and conduct simple process. You can sell alcohol. ( You can not sell raw food. )|
|Cafe business ( Kissaten )||You can prepare coffee, tea, ice cream etc and sell them. ( Excluding alcohol )|
|Cake business ( Kashi seizougyou )||You can prepare cake, bread, and sell them.|
|Making and sale of ice cream||You can dish up ice cream （ Refrigerator is necessary ） and sell|
Selling business ( You can not cook food in this type. You can just sell food that is already prepared. )
|Selling of meat||You can sell meat ( The meat should be already packaged )|
|Selling of seafood||You can sell seafood ( The seafood should be already packaged )|
|Selling of milk||You can sell milk ( The milk should be already packaged )|
|Selling of processed marine products|
In the case you cook rice in kitchen car, you need to use pre-washed rice ( Musen mai ).
Your kitchen car needs to install necessary tank and required capacity is stipulated.
( In the case of Nagano prefecture )
So, if you want to operate restaurant business in ordinary sized vehicle in Nagano prefecture, you need to prepare at least water supply tank of 150 L and drainage tank of 100 L.
In the case you do not use disposal dishes, you need to prepare water supply tank of 200 L and drainage tank of 150 L ( As for eat and drink business and cafe business )
Because, you need to wash dishes many times.
As for structure of kitchen car
You need to store kitchen car in clean place.
Working chamber ( pantry ) in kitchen car should be made of iron or plastic and fixed and has suitable space.
Ceiling and inner wall should be flat and easy to clean.
Floor should be water proofing and easy to clean.
Lighting should be enough to keep your facility clean.
You need to prepare ventilation equipment.
You need to prepare thermometer and hygrometer.
You need to prepare enough amount of dishes according to type of food.
Equipment that touch with food should be hygienic.
You should install cupboard to store food, equipment, package in hygienic condition.
You should prepare hygienic dust box.
Regarding Eat and Drink business ( Inshoku ten ), cafe business, cafe business, making and sale of ice cream business.
1 You need to prepare kitchen space departed from other space.
( Wall between driving seat and kitchen space is necessary. )
2 You need to prepare enough equipment to prevent insect.
3 You need to prepare hand washing and sterilize equipment.
4 You need to prepare equipment to wash and sterilize cooking equipments.
You need to prepare sink for wash your hand and sink for clean the equipment and sink for sterilize equipment.
So, basically you need to prepare at least three sinks.
source of this picture is http://www.carsensor.net/usedcar/detail/CU4109888399/index.html
In order to operate eat and drink business, you need to prepare refrigerator and private power generator.
In the case of cafe business and cake business, making and sale of ice cream business, if it is required, you need to prepare refrigerator and private power generator.
As for selling of meat, seafood, milk, processed marine products.
1 You need to prepare stand where foods are sold.
2 You need to prepare equipment to prevent insect.
3 You need to prepare suitable water flow type hand washing equipment and sterilizer.
4 In the case of selling of seafood business, you need to prepare water flow type washer and cleaner equipment.
5 In the case of selling of seafood business, you need to prepare refrigerator and private power generator.
6 In the case of selling of meat and milk, you need to prepare refrigerator and private power generator.
7 In the case of selling of processed marine products, if it is necessary you need to prepare refrigerator and private power generator.
In the case you prearrange food outside of kitchen car, you need to conduct it in the facility that you have obtained permit.
You can not prepare food in your residence.
So, you need to prepare facility and you need to obtain permit for the place.
However, if you conduct simple prearrange like cutting vegetable, this paragraph is not applicable.
You need to display certificate of permit to operate your business in the kitchen car.
How to get kitchen car in Japan
In order to start kitchen car business in Japan, you need to acquire kitchen car.
When you look for it via internet, you can find brand new or used kitchen car.
When you purchase it, you need to select vehicle not only based on selling price, but also based on quality of shop who try to sell it.
If you operate kitchen car in Japan, periodical maintenance is required.
In that case, if the shop is cooperative with you, it will be beneficial for your business.
When you search with ” 移動販売車 中古 ” via internet, you can find it easily.
For example, http://www.fb-auto.co.jp/
The selling price is 2.15 million yen.
Or you can rent it from a relevant company.
Monthly rental fee will be about 60,000 yen.
Other than facility, in order to start kitchen car business in Japan, you need to prepare food sanitation supervisor ( Shokuhin eisei sekininsha = 食品衛生責任者) for each kitchen car.
As for food sanitation supervisor, I have already explained it.
Please look at ” How to start restaurant business in Japan. “
As for authority that has jurisdiction over your kitchen car business
In order to start kitchen car business in Japan, you need to obtain permit from relevant authority.
If you prearrange food in Nagano prefecture and sell in Nagano prefecture, you need to submit application form to public health center ( Hokenjo ) in Nagano prefecture.
( There are some public health center in Nagano prefecture and each public health center has its jurisdiction. )
If you do not need to prearrange your food, but you store your kitchen car in Nagano, you need to submit application form to public health center ( Hokenjo ) in Nagano prefecture.
Moreover, in the case you prearrange food inNagano prefecture and sell it in Tokyo prefecture, you need to obtain permit from both of Nagano and Tokyo prefecture.
When you have decided to start this business, you can consult with relevant public health center in advance.
In that time, you can bring drawing map of kitchen car you are interested in.
In order to operate kitchen car business in Japan, the most difficult point is how to find a place to open your kitchen car.
Even if you want to open your kitchen car at public road, you need to obtain permit from police department.
However, it will be very difficult to obtain permission.
So, you may want to put your kitchen car at parking lot or other vacant lot that is connected with public road.
In order to open your shop there, you need to ask owner of the lot.
How to Operate Catering Vehicle Business in Japan without renting a land ?
Catering Vehicle is a car that sells food.
Example of Catering Vehicle=Food Truck
If you can rent neighboring park or parking lot and operate food catering vehicle business, it is nice.
But you may hope to operate Catering Vehicle Business close to some large companies (Rakuten etc.).
Around noon, many workers will come to your food truck and your business will go well.
In that case you try to park your vehicle on public road.
And actually you will find some food trucks using public road.
However it will be illegal. In order to occupy public road, you need to obtain permit from police department. But even if you apply for such permit, police department will not allow you.
(according to Tokyo Police Department)
So you will drive your food truck at very low speed and you will pull off your food truck when a customer calls you.
And you will park your food truck for some minutes at suitable place and sell the food.
A taxi driver can pull off his car when driver finds a customer and it applies to your catering Catering Vehicle Business.
How do you find your customers while you are driving the food truck?
You will play, announce your business with speaker.
This truck is selling sweet potato baked on hot pebbles.
In the case of this business, Food business permit is not necessary.
Because business operator does not cook the food. He just bakes it with hot pebbles.
Change of Law and Kitchen Car Business in Japan (2021)
On 1st June 2021, amended Food Sanitation Law of Japan became effective.
This new law affects Kitchen car business operators.
Before alternation of law, requirements for equipment differed depending on each city.
So even if you obtained permit in Tokyo, you might not be able to obtain permit in Kanagawa Prefecture.
However after alternation of law, the equipment standard is unified across the country.
And before change of law, equipment standard differed depending on size of vehicles.
However according to change of law, this difference was also abolished and it is nice.
On the other hand, after change of law, you need to install noncontact water tap, faucet.
When you operate kitchen car, you need to install water supply and drainage equipment (Tank).
Depending on capacity, size of equipment, cooking process, menu can be differed.
In the case of 40 liter tank, you can conduct simple cooking. So you can heat or fry meals. Or you can serve only one menu. And you need to use disposable dish.
In the case of 80 liter tank, you can conduct simple cooking that is less than 3 processes. Or you can serve several menus. And you need to use disposable dish.
In the case of 200 liter tank, you can conduct ordinary cooking that requires a lot of water. You can serve several menus. And you can use ordinary dish. You can conduct preparation act in your kitchen car.
So in the case of 200 liter tank, you will be able to sale Ramen at your kitchen car.
Before amendment of law, you could not conduct preparation in kitchen car.
So you need to prepare other space where you obtained restaurant business permit to make preparation of cooking.
So you needed to pay rental fee for that place.
Or you purchased ready serve vegetables and meat and used it.
However after amendment of law, you can save such cost.
Preparation activity means cutting vegetable, meat and wash it.
If you obtained Kitchen car business license before amendment of law with 200 liter tank, you can not engage in preparation activity in your kitchen car.
In that case you need to obtain the license again after change of law. (You can obtain new license based on new law).
As for range of approval for preparation activity, you need to consult with authorities in advance.
When you purchase kitchen car, you will purchase it from a company that knows new law.
In that case I will contact a company on your behalf.