Mobile food vendors are all the rage today, with menus that extend well beyond tacos and tamales to fancy fare such as lobster and gourmet cupcakes. There are estimated to be 8,000 to 10,000 rolling restaurants in Los Angeles County alone and 10,000 between Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas, according to Ron Ortega, program manager of Whorton Insurance Services in Austin.
Unfortunately, obtaining insurance coverage for the three major risks -- foodborne illness and fire and auto accidents -- required chefs to cook up piecemeal protection from expensive surplus lines underwriters.
That just didn't taste right to Ortega. So he developed the nation's first Mobile Food Vendor Insurance, or MFVI.
"Costs vary by state and region, but on average, premiums range from $2,500 to $3,500 for $1 million to $2 million general liability and $1 million auto liability, including physical damage on a stated amount basis," Ortega says.
He estimates his MFVI policy saves mobile food vendors an average 30 percent over similar surplus lines policies while providing better coverage.
"What's fueling this industry is its popularity, convenience and affordability in tough economic times, spiced up by social networking," says Ortega. "People love it and want more of it."