How to Sell Tacos on the Streets of Los Angeles

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Pick a popular spot with a lot of foot traffic to set up your taco stand.
Pick a popular spot with a lot of foot traffic to set up your taco stand. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Los Angeles is famous for its street food culture, and tacos are no exception. However, before you open up a taco stand, you will need to prepare a menu, plan your stand and apply for a permits to sell street food. Though many vendors in Los Angeles operate without approval from the city, this can put you at risk for big fines. At worst, the city will confiscate your stand and materials, leaving you without your investment.

Design your stand. You will need a flat surface to prepare your tacos, a place to collect money and a spot to sit or rest. Additionally, you will need serving utensils and plates or napkins. A folding table with an umbrella or covering works well.

Come up with a menu. Stick with a handful of items you know how to make well. Develop a price list and create a menu that can be displayed prominently.

Make a plan for how you will prepare your tacos and keep them warm. Prepare as much food as you can in advance, and consider using trays you can eat with bunson burners or insulated packs to keep food warm. You can also purchase a battery-powered hot plate.

Pick a location. You will want an area with heavy, regular foot traffic like a park or sidewalk near a busy downtown office building.

Apply for a business license from the Office of Finance (see Resources). You will need to include information about your business along with your profits, location and product information. Before you apply, review the regulations for street food vendors (see Resources), which lay out how your stand must be set up.

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