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Is It Illegal to Cook While Driving a Food Truck?

Yes. Cooking while driving a food truck is illegal in most parts of the United States! Mobile food vendors are mandated to register with a commercial kitchen due to local statutes and regulations. A food truck will have to utilize a commissary since it is not a commercial kitchen.

A commissary is a well-known commercial kitchen. Food truck operators use a commissary to make food preparations before setting out. As previously stated, cooking food in a vehicle is prohibited in some states. It essentially implies that food truck owners cannot cook food inside their trucks; rather, the food must be prepped somewhere else and then sold from the truck.

Food trucks are outfitted with a mobile kitchen and are constructed to be as efficient as possible. A faucet, cooking surface (cookers, deep fryers, ovens, and propane stoves), preparation area, refrigerator/storage area, serving area, and sweep-up station are all present in a food truck.

All local, district and fire codes are met by food trucks, which are certified, planned, and allowed by law. This implies that your food will fulfill the very same guidelines as a traditional restaurant.

When it comes to cooking, all food preparations must be completed in the commissary. When it comes to food truck events, trucks will use the commissary to prepare their food items, which they will then put in a refrigerator or appropriate storage container and transport to the event venue.

Different Places Where Food Truck Operators Can Cook Their Meals

Cooking while driving a food truck is illegal in most parts of the United States, so here are basic places food trucks operators can cook or prepare their meals;

  1. Private Commercial Kitchen

Food truck operators can establish their own privately owned kitchen space, which is the best alternative for a food truck business with massive ambitions. The advantages of having your own kitchen are numerous. You wouldn’t be concerned about kitchen access, and you can buy or rent your own equipment to make sure you have all you need to cook.

  1. Shared Use Commercial Kitchen

A shared-use commercial kitchen is probably the most feasible alternative, especially for most new food truck owners. A shared-use kitchen is leased to numerous business owners or chefs at the same time.

Aside from being a specialist foodservice group kitchen, you will save a huge amount of money since you share the rent with other business owners. However, you may encounter issues or delays if for any reason you and a co-renter want to use the space at the same time.

  1. Restaurant’s Kitchen

One of the most feasible alternatives for most food trucks is to rent a restaurant’s kitchen. You can lease a restaurant’s kitchen during off-hours and have the entire area to yourselves without needing to pay for a private commissary.

A few restaurants are incorporating virtual franchising possibilities and creating a menu for a ghost kitchen together with their own. Leasing a restaurant kitchen, however, might not be ideal for food trucks because they will certainly not provide parking.

  1. Unconventional Commercial Kitchens

Religious institutions, private clubs, colleges, and retirement communities all have up-to-date kitchens with commercial-grade equipment that can be rented out.

These unconventional places are an excellent method of saving money on rent while obtaining access to a fully-equipped commercial kitchen. Non-traditional commercial kitchens, on the other hand, will not have as numerous features and niche cooking tools as a conventional commissary kitchen, and they are more difficult to come by.

Tips to Consider When Choosing the Best Places to Cook Your Meals

Finding a suitable location for meal preparation is an essential part of running a successful mobile food business. Here are some pointers to help you make your decision.

1. Location: This is the place you and your team will devote the majority of your time away from the truck. It is inevitably where you and your employees will get around, so you may want this to be pretty close to home or closer to your place of business.

2. Storage: Getting a ton of storage space enables food truck operators to purchase products and supplies in mass, which saves them a lot of money. Search for cabinets, refrigeration space, and freezer space for storage.

3. Direct access to experienced food service experts: A helpful community is one of the things that enable business owners to survive in a difficult environment. Choose a kitchen that guarantees direct connections to food service professionals capable of providing assistance, industry insight, and support to food truck operators.

4. Your truck is clearly connected to your commissary. If it is sealed owing to safety violations, your food truck business may be sealed until the violations are remedied.

5. Locate a food truck commissary where you can store your truck if it is not in use. If you work in colder climates, you should locate an indoor parking space to keep your truck away from the elements.

6. Licenses: Food trucks will have a registered, food-safe facility where products and food can be stored. This ensures that they are complying with all health applicable regulations and keeping patrons safe.

7. Supply availability: Many commissaries provide food trucks with a variety of frequently used supplies and ingredients. Water, ice, cleaning supplies, and propane are common examples.

Commissary kitchens that also have a commercial kitchen may provide cooking supplies such as industrial-scale appliances and utensils, plates, napkins, gloves, and other items. They can also provide you with special equipment.


Cooking while driving a food truck is illegal in most parts of the US, so you’ll need to register with a commissary kitchen. Collaborating with a commissary kitchen makes it possible for food trucks to avert ownership obligations. A building’s overhead and upkeep can cost more than what a small food truck can manage.

Collaborating with a commissary kitchen relieves you of the burden of worrying about broken equipment, utilities, contractors, safety, piping, licensures, pest management, building regulations, specialty cleaning, and a lot more.