The definition of food truck is “a large vehicle equipped with facilities for cooking and selling food,” but what exactly does that entail?
There are two types of food trucks, the MFPV, or mobile food preparation vehicle, which actually prepares and cooks food by the customer (like Dave’s Dogs), and the ICV, or industrial catering vehicle, which sells pre-made food (like the Mobile Cafe). A MFPV has a small kitchen that varies depending on what is being sold from the truck; if they’re scooping ice cream then they’ll have a freezer, if they’re all about churros, then they’ll most likely have a fryer in their truck. A ICV on the other hand might have just a freezer or something to keep food warm or heat it up.
Of course, not all mobile food services work out of trucks either. There are carts and other vehicles, called mobile food devices. These have similar qualifications as an ICV, with no full oven or cooking device, but just devices to keep food warm or cool.
Of course, to have any mobile food device officially recognized and legally accepted as a place that can sell goods and wares, you must have quite a few licenses and permits, at least in the state of California.
You must have a business license, a mobile food facility permit, a health permit, a food safety certification, and a food handler permit, and those are simply for owning and selling food from a mobile unit. There are other permits and registrations needed, but those are for opening a business in general (such as workers comp).
With all of these legal regulations and physical requirements dealt with, there are only a few other legal requirements to meet until you have a running and successful food truck. These requirements include having a trash can (that you have provided) near your truck to prevent littering and excessive amounts of trash, you have to work in conjunction with a food facility, for storage, and possibly production, and you have to secure a place to sell your food that is not affecting traffic or possibly on specific streets, according to your town’s own laws about food trucks.
This may not be true for all people, as all of these laws and regulations are based off of California standards.
Thank you and remember, Keep Truckin’ On!