Do you want to start a street food vending business and want to know how to obtain a license? If YES, here are 7 easy steps to becoming a licensed food vendor. In the United States of America and in most countries of the world, businesses that handle food or drinks are highly regulated, and as such, they need to obtain licenses and permits before they can legally operate their businesses.

The food business is one of the delicate industries because they are involved in cooking food meant for consumption by a large number of guests which is why the business is subjected to regular inspection by health officials. If you run a food vending business in the United States of America, you are expected by law to comply with the rules and regulations in the industry.

This goes to show that all food vendors in the United States of America are mandated by the law of the country to apply and obtain a food vendor’s license before they can legally sell food or drinks to the public. As a matter of fact, this license is not restricted to mobile food truck operators.

Any person who operates a vending business that sells any product or substance (including beverages) intended for human consumption while occupying public space in that portion of a street or highway that is improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel will require a food vendor’s license to operate legally in the United States of America.

The truth is that if you go ahead to cook or sell food to the public without obtaining the required license, you can end up in jail. If indeed you are interested in legally running a food-related business and you want to become a licensed food vendor in the United States of America, here are some of the basic steps you would need to take in order to achieve your goal.

7 Easy Steps to Becoming a Licensed Food Vendor

Step 1: Know the Existing Law Governing Food Vendors

The first step to take when it comes to becoming a licensed food vendor is to know the existing law governing food vendors operating in the city you intend operating, the state you intend operating, and the whole of the United States of America. It will be to your advantage to be well-informed before venturing out to get a license for your business.

One major step you need to take in order to get the required information about the law governing food vendors in the United States of America is to visit the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Vending Division. They will be more than ready to assist you.

For example, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is currently not authorized to issue street vendor licenses for those seeking to vend on city sidewalks. So, if that is the business you intend to start, then you need to re-strategize, or else you won’t be able to obtain the required food vendor license.

Step 2: Register a Business

Come to think of it, no one will give you a license to operate a business that is not registered. So, if you have conducted your findings and you are ready to start and operate your food business in the United States, then you are expected to register your business.

Please note that whether your organization is a corporation, Limited Liability Company, partnership, or in some cases, a trust, the said organization must be registered and be in good standing with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the application process, you are expected to contact the Corporations Affairs Division in your state.

Step 3: Secure a Kitchen Facility

The next step to becoming a licensed food vendor in the United States of America is to secure a kitchen facility. This is pretty important and can be done alongside registering your business because you would need a physical address when registering your business and of course during an inspection from the regulatory department.

As a matter of fact, all applicants for a Basic Business License for the Street Vendor A category must be inspected by and/or receive approval to operate from the Department of Health, Food Safety & Hygiene Inspection Services Division and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Vending Division.

You are expected to construct your kitchen facility to fit into the requirements in terms of health, food safety, and hygiene before you can qualify to become a licensed food vendor in the United States.

Step 4: Apply for a Food Vendor License

Lastly, if your kitchen facility has been inspected and you have gotten approval from the regulatory body, it means that the coast is clear and you can go ahead to apply for a food vendor license. The basic things you need to have in place before applying for a food vendor license are a business registration certificate, a kitchen facility or a mobile food truck or a kiosk, an application fee, and a form.

It is important to state that every state in the US has its own requirements when it comes to issuing food licenses to applicants. For example, in Washington DC, the license duration is two (2) years (you are expected to renew your food vendor license after every two years).

The license is not available online, you are expected to visit their physical office to apply and obtain the license. When it comes to the fee, this is how it looks like (Category License Fee: $338.00, Application Fee: $70.00, Endorsement Fee: $25.00, Technology Fee: $43.30, and the Total Fee: $476.30).

If you meet the expected requirements as stated above, you will definitely secure your food vendor license and become a licensed food vendor in the United States of America. Please it is important to state that some states have less stringent requirements when it comes to applying for and obtaining a food vendor’s license. This means that if you are not qualified to become a licensed food vendor in one city/state, you can try other cities or states.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is A Food Service License?

A food service license is simply a permit required for any business that serves food cooked on-site. It suggests that the establishment has abided by all regulations needed to serve food safely to consumers and has registered with the state government.

  1. Where Are Food Service Licenses Obtained?

Food Service licenses are obtained via local health departments.

3. How Profitable Is A Hot Dog Cart?

The Hot Dog Cart Vending Business is a source of making money. As a matter of fact, the average potential annual income is about $60,000 or more.

  1. What Laws Govern Food Service Licensing?

Food Law!

  1. How Do You Start A Food Vendor Business?

The following are the guidelines on how you can start a food vendor business;

  • Buy a food truck
  • Choose a food truck concept
  • Get capital for your food truck
  • Research your food truck scene
  • Write a food truck business plan
  • Get food truck Licenses and Permits
  • Purchase your food truck equipment and supplies
6. Can You Run A Food Business From Home If You Have Pets?

Most states allow you to have your pets in your home when you run a bakery out of it as long as you have a door, gate, or other obstacle put in place that keeps your pet out so that they cannot contaminate the area.

  1. How Do You Obtain An Application To Apply For A Food Service License?

You can obtain and complete a food vendor’s license application from your local health department. You can visit the health department in person to obtain an application. Note! You’ll need the name of your establishment, an address for a permanent kitchen facility, and the owner’s personal information.

  1. What Is A Food Vendor?

A food vendor simply means an establishment set to provide prepared food for public consumption on or off its premises, which includes; a store, shop, sales outlet, restaurant, grocery store, supermarket, delicatessen, catering truck, or vehicle.

  1. What Are The Duties Of A Food Seller?

The following are the duties of a food seller;

  • Greet customers and answer their questions about menu items and specials
  • Take food or drink orders from customers
  • Relay customers’ orders to other kitchen staff
  • Prepare food and drink orders, such as sandwiches, salads, and coffee
  • Accept payments and balance receipts
  1. What Does A Food Service License Cost?

A food service license costs about $100 and $1,000. The price usually varies based on the number of seats within a restaurant, the location of the restaurant, and also the number of employees involved.

  1. What Is A Food Service Establishment?

A food service establishment is a place where food is prepared and intended for individual portion service and also includes the site at which the individual portions are provided, whether consumption occurs on or off the premises.

  1. What Is A Food Truck Commissary?

A food truck commissary is an establishment that operates under a permit from the MCHD where food is stored, prepared, portioned, or packaged, or any combination of these, where such food is intended for consumption at another establishment or place.

  1. Do You Need A License To Open A Butchery?

Absolutely yes! Before opening your butchery shop, you will have to apply for and receive a variety of permits and licenses. These important documents cover many aspects, including business identification purposes and the authorization to sell certain products.

  1. What Licenses Are Needed To Start A Food Truck?

To start up a food truck, the following licenses are required;

  • Business license
  • Driver’s license
  • Seller’s permit
  • Fire certificates
  • Parking Permits
  • Food handler’s permit
  • Health department permit
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  1. Do You Need Fda Approval To Sell Food?

No! FDA does not approve food, beverages, or dietary supplements.

  1. What Certificates Do You Need To Sell Food?
  • Business registration
  • Sales privilege license
  • Food handler’s license
  • Zoning laws and permits
  • Business licenses and permits
  • Catering license, if necessary
  • Kitchen health and safety inspection
17. Why Do Food Trucks Fail?

Most food trucks fail because they don’t get their cost of operation under control. Some owners enter the industry expecting food, labor, and the vehicle to be their initial costs. Here are some of the expenses that can possibly cause the downfall of a food truck, if not properly managed;

  • Fuel
  • Groceries
  • Marketing
  • Auto insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • City, county, and state permits
  1. How Much Does A Food Service License Cost?

Food-service license fees are usually based on the classification and size of the restaurant, as well as your location. As a rule of thumb, you should expect a food service license to cost between USD$100 and 1,000 depending on your location.

  1. Do You Need A License To Sell Food In South Africa?

Yes! If your business sells or supplies meals or perishable food to eat on the premises or to take away, you’ll need a license to do so.

  1. How Do You Get A Restaurant Liquor License?

To apply for a liquor license, contact your local ABC agency to acquire the appropriate forms, fill them out, and submit them. In some states, you will need to apply to both your state and town or county. Do this as early as possible as review times are often longer than 30 days.

The following are the requirements to obtain a restaurant liquor license;

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Employee identification number
  • A partnership agreement
  • Company constitution
  • A proposed food menu
  • Photos/drawings of the restaurant
  • A copy of the certificate of title of the premises
  1. How Much Does A Restaurant Business License Cost?

The cost to obtain a restaurant business license varies by city and state, though it is generally around $50 for most applications. However, other costs associated with obtaining your business license can vary from as much as $25 to $7,000.

22. Which Food Business Is Most Profitable?

The listed below are some of the food businesses that are very profitable;

  • Bakery
  • Wine shop
  • Food truck
  • Restaurant
  • Food items for pets
  1. How Much Does It Cost To Start A Food Cart Business?

In general, it costs between $28,000 and $114,000 to set up a food truck business, with the average food truck earning around $300,000 per year.

24. How Much Can A Street Food Vendor Make?

Food trucks in smaller, more mid-sized cities likely make considerably less at $5,000 to $16,000 a month. But it’s not uncommon for popular food trucks in major metro cities to pull in $20,000 to $50,000 in sales each month.

25. What Is An Example Of A Vendor?

A practical example of a vendor is a man with a stall at a farmer’s market who is selling tomatoes. The person selling, especially in the case of real property, or a person or company that supplies goods or services to a business.

26. Can You Make Food At Home And Sell It?

No! It is not allowed.

27. How Much Does It Cost To Open A Restaurant?

The average restaurant startup cost is $275,000 or $3,046 per seat for a leased building. Bump that up to $425,000 or $3,734 per seat—if you want to own the building.

28. What Is Needed To Open A Small Restaurant?

To open a mini restaurant business, the following requirements are to be considered;

  • Sign permit
  • Build a health permit
  • Obtain a business license
  • Register your business name
  • Get a certificate of occupancy
  • Obtain a food-service license
  • Obtain a food handler’s permit
  • Get Employer Identification Number (EIN)
29. What does a Street Vendor Sell?

A street vendor implies a person who sells food, goods and merchandise on the street or in an open-air market rather than at a traditional store.

30. Can You Get Rich Selling Food?

Absolutely yes, you can make a good living providing people with delicious, nutritious, and safe homemade food.

31. Do Street Vendors Make Money?

Street vendors earn 25% less than similar careers. On average, they make less than advertising sales agents but more than retail salespeople.

32. Can You Bake At Home And Sell To Public?

Yes, you can. However, if you decide to do this as a business, you need to meet certain requirements as ultimately the public – your customers– need to be kept safe from harm.

33. What Do You Need To Open A Mobile Food Vendor Business In Florida?

You need a vending license! This license is required by Florida to allow you to operate a business within the state. However, if you want to do business with the state directly, you need to register for a vendor account. To register your account, go to the Florida Department of Management Services website.

34. What Food Can You Sell To Make Money?
  • Pizza
  • Donuts
  • Ice cream
  • Oreo cookies
  • French fries
  • Potato chips
  • Chicken tenders
  • Soft drinks/soda
35. How Much Does It Cost To Build A Commercial Kitchen?

Establishing a commercial kitchen can cost anywhere around $15,000 to $100,000 or more. This actually depends on the size of your kitchen, the menu, and your overall needs.

36. What Are The Types Of Vendors?

The following are the types of vendors;

  • Retailers
  • Wholesalers
  • Manufacturers
37. How Can You Sell Food Without A Restaurant?

Simply obtain a business license. No matter what you sell, where you sell it, and what form your business takes, you almost certainly need a business license or vendor’s permit to legally sell your food outside a restaurant.

38. Can You Sell Food Without A Hygiene Rating?

The short answer is no! Food premises do not need to display a food hygiene rating sticker, however, they are encouraged to do so.