Food Truck Licenses and Permits Issued by Cities
Each state and city will have their own set of permits that food truck operators must obtain before they can start operating. Large cities usually have a list of the permits required for food trucks operating in their jurisdiction. If you operate in smaller towns, though, you may find it more difficult to gather information. Following are a few examples of food truck permits and licenses you may encounter after purchasing a food truck:
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1. Permission of the Seller
Some states require a seller's permit to allow foodservice operators to purchase materials and supplies at wholesale costs without paying sales tax. So that the item is not taxed twice, the tax would be collected when the product is sold to buyers. To find out if a seller's permit is required in your state and how to apply for one, go to the website of your local state government.
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2. Fire Certificates
In some counties, not only the health department but also the fire department will need to inspect your food truck. In most circumstances, this will only be required if your truck has culinary equipment and gas connections. You probably won't require a fire inspection if you solely sell refrigerated foods, but it's smart to double-check with your local authorities just in case. The fire department will inspect your cooking equipment for appropriate installation and operation, as well as your electrical wiring and whether or not your vehicle has a fire suppression system.
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Parking Permits (No. 3)
Check with your local county clerk to see if parking permits are required in the locations where you plan to serve your cuisine. Some streets may be completely off-limits to food trucks, or they may be restricted by time and day. Other towns have set dates for food trucks to decrease traffic and stagger their appearance on the streets. During business hours, your parking permit will tell you where and when you can park your truck. It will also tell you if you may park your vehicle on the street overnight or whether it needs to be kept in a garage while not in use.
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4. The Commissary's Letter of Agreement
Before venturing out for the day in your food truck, your city may require you to keep your supplies and prepare food in a commissary kitchen. If that's the case, you could also require a commissary letter of agreement, which is a signed document between you and the commissary owner that confirms your access to the facility and the services you're allowed to use on site. The commissary would provide you with a cooking area, as well as fresh water, trash service, and food storage, among other things.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Documentation
Although it's uncommon, a few localities require food truck owners to submit a standard operating procedures paper before they open to the public. This document should detail the steps you and your team take to complete jobs on your truck. You'll need detailed step-by-step instructions on how to prepare each dish, how to clean and sterilize your equipment, and how to lock up your truck for the night. Some food truck entrepreneurs keep a copy of these materials in their training manual.
6. Special Events Permit
A special event permit, sometimes known as a "vending permit," is a temporary authorization that allows you to sell food at a specific area during an event. Most athletic events, festivals, and concerts will have an event planner who can tell you about the many sorts of permissions required to sell food on the premises, as well as how long they must be valid. So, if you want to cater a wedding with your food truck, ask the venue planner what kind of permission they'll require from you.