Food Truck Licenses and Permits Issued by Cities
Each state and city will have its own set of permissions that food truck operators must get before they can start operating. Large cities usually have a list of the permissions 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 face after purchasing a food truck:
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1. Permission of the Seller
Some jurisdictions need a seller's permit to allow foodservice operators to acquire 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 certain counties, not only the health department but also the fire department will need to check your food truck. In most circumstances, this will only be required if your vehicle has culinary equipment and gas connections. If you just sell chilled foods, you probably won't require a fire inspection, but it's always a good idea to double-check with your local government. 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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Check with your local county clerk to see whether parking permits are required in the locations where you want 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 has 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 meals 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 give you with a cooking area, as well as access to fresh water, trash collection, and food storage, among other things.
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Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Documentation
Although it's uncommon, a few localities require food truck operators to submit a standard operating procedures paper before they open to the public. This document should detail the steps you and your team use 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 permits 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.