Becoming a Mister Softee Vendor (Part 5): After All That, It’s Finally Time to Actually Apply

Becoming a mobile vendor is not quite as easy as ehow would have you believe. So in anticipation of Softee Season 2011 we’ve asked Chrissy (aka Miss Softee) to show us the process of what it takes to become an ice cream vendor in Midtown. So far you’ve met the first few hires here and here, we’ve seen what it takes to get your paperwork in order to become a licensed mobile vendor, and we’ve seen where the trucks live. This week the crew begins to ready the trucks to hit the streets. Take it away Miss Softee!


Soo… just a quick recap on what’s already happened in the process to becoming a licensed mobile food vendor (MFV). These candidates have gone through the application and interviews, reference checks, they’ve  registered to take the MFV food safety class, applied for their tax paperwork, took the actual MFV class, and finally the day has come that they have all the paperwork necessary to head down to the Department of Health and Consumer Affairs down by Wall Street and apply to be mobile food vendors!!  Every time a potential RollingCone hire calls me to say that their paperwork is in and they’re ready to apply, I swear, you can hear the 5 year old kid in their voice because they’re that much closer to becoming an ice cream vendor. (And the whole process is a huge pain the ass!) This is a true labor of love, kids.


Just like every government agency, you show up and the first thing you do is take a number. They’ve actually been moving through the masses pretty quickly, and the earlier you get there, the better! This puts you in the queue to enter the somewhat confusing process of applying for the MFV license. One thing that I notice every time I’m in this office is that very few applicants go through the rigamarole alone. Pedicab drivers come in teams, just like when they’re zipping around 6th Avenue looking for fares, new Halal servers are escorted by the vets (for every new vendor, there’s an old vendor showing them the ropes.) I try to help guide the new ice cream workers as they come in.


But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, the biggest frustration during the process isn’t the masses of paperwork , but the discrepancies in the application process. One woman had major issues because she uses a nickname, spelled slightly different from her Social Security card.  Another guy ran into a problem because his license was from Puerto Rico, and finally one other gentleman almost didn’t get his license because he had a laminated Social Security card. Now these people had no problem registering for the class, shelling out the fees, and spending the last two months going through the process to get to the application, but you just never know what issues you might have at the end until you show up to actually apply. Still, the team has been dedicated at getting it done!!

To end on an exciting note… this week we’re having a big training day at the depot and the whole team will be learning to drive, maintain, and serve from an ice cream truck!! Whoooo! Yes, there will be video.

Until next week, I leave you with this poem by Matt, in the style of the Night Before Christmas, about the experience of applying to become a mobile food vendor!

Four-Thirty Am, and all through my house.
Everyone’s sleeping, the cat, and my spouse.
Time to get ready, and head for the train.
Be there by 8, even with rain.

I got there on time, eight o’clock on the nose.
No money order cuz the newstand is closed.
The man doesn’t open until eight-fifteen.
The longest few minutes I’ve ever seen.

Finally done, the order in hand.
Up to floor five, on line I will stand.
I hope that I have all the stuff that they need,
Or this trip to Manhattan might suck wind indeed.

Oh No! A snafu! Frustration galore!
Notary please! The bottom-most floor.
When I returned, the line was quite short.
All things were easy for the clerk to sort.

Sitting there waiting to hear of my number.
Difficult not to be taken by slumber.
A very loud noise, a voice so alive!
My papers to be processed at window five!

They took all the money, and paperwork fine.
They processed it all, and took their sweet time.
When they were done it was like an elixer.
I stood very still to give them a picture.

On the way home, all said, and done.
It wasn’t so bad, but really quite fun.


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