Starting a food truck business can be a fun and profitable endeavor, but it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary licenses and permits in place before you start serving customers. Depending on your location, you may need a business license, commercial driver’s license, health department permit, and more. This article will outline the most common licenses and permits needed to start a food truck business.
Difference Between Licenses and Permits
Licenses and permits are both important for food truck businesses, but they are different by design. A license is a permission to do, use or own something, while a permit is an authorization to do something specific. For example, a business license allows you to operate a business, while a food handler’s permit authorizes you to handle food.
Licenses and Permits Vary by State and Local Health Department
Every state and local health department has their own requirements for licenses and permits. Make sure you contact your local health department to find out which licenses and permits you need to start your food truck business.
Food Truck Licenses Checklist
The most common licenses required for food trucks include a business and a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Food Truck Business License
The first step in starting a food truck business is to obtain a business license from your state or local government. This license will allow you to operate your business legally.
Commercial Driver’s License
In order to drive a commercial vehicle, such as a food truck, you must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To get a CDL, you will need to pass a written exam and a road test.
Food Truck Permits Checklist
Let’s look at the food truck permits that you may need to obtain for your business.
Food Handler’s Permit
All food truck operators must have a food handler’s permit. This permit allows you to handle food safely and correctly. The food handler’s permit can be obtained from your local health department.
Health Department Permit
In order to operate a food truck, you will need to obtain a health department permit. This permit will authorize your truck to sell foods or beverages that are cooked or served to the public and which must be regulated for public safety. The permit ensures that your truck meets all health and safety requirements overall.
Mobile Food Vendor Seller’s Permit
If you plan to sell food from your food truck, you will need to obtain a mobile food vendor seller’s permit. This permit allows you to sell food from a mobile food vending unit, such as a food truck, in any public, private or restricted space.
In order to park your food truck in specific areas, you will need to obtain a parking permit. This permit will specify the areas where you are allowed to park your truck.
To operate a food truck, you will need to obtain a fire certificate from the fire department. This certificate will authorize your truck to operate in specific areas and ensure that your truck meets all safety requirements.
Food Truck Commissary Permit
In order to operate a food truck, you may also need to obtain a food truck commissary permit. This permit allows you to prepare and store food in a licensed commissary. The commissary will be responsible for ensuring that the food meets all health and safety requirements.
Special Events Permit
If you plan to participate in special events, such as food truck festivals or farmer’s markets, you may need to obtain a special events permit. This permit will allow you to sell food at the event without having to get a separate food vendor license.
These licenses and permits are on top of the state requirements to start a business, for example forming a corporation, opening a business bank account, and other business-related requirements.
Now that you know the different types of licenses and permits required to start a food truck business, you can start the process of obtaining the necessary documents. Remember to contact your local health department to find out what specific requirements apply to your area. Happy trucking!