How to Open a Food Cart Business


There are different types of food cart businesses. Some people sell hot dogs, some sell hamburgers. Others sell ice cream or tacos. Many things can be sold from a food cart.

There are also different types of food carts, such as concession trailers and vending carts. Bikes carry freezers for frozen items, and lunch trucks can provide many foods, both hot and cold.

No matter what type of cart you choose and the foods you will sell from it, it is possible to create a successful business selling foods.

Things You'll Need

  • Permit
  • Food cart
  • Insurance
  • Record-keeping system
  • Suppliers
  • Supplies
  • Signs
  • Food price list
  • Refrigeration unit
  • Freezer unit
  • Cooking unit
  • Cupboards or drawers
  • Trash can
  • Recycling unit
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Cleaning equipment

Start the Business

Begin my understanding the requirements to obtain a food sales permit, then apply for, and obtain, a food service license from your local licensing agency, typically a branch of the county or city health departments

Be sure you know exactly where you are allowed to sell food, such as throughout the city or just in the park.

Obtain liability and theft insurance on the cart and the business. Determine the coverage you need, then shop for the best rates.

Set up a record keeping system for your financial records and obligations.

Decide where you will get the food and other supplies from.

Begin purchasing items for the business. Have a sign panted on the cart with the business name etc. Print and laminate a food list and prices to hang next to each window, or on the side of the cart.

Be sure the food cart is equipped with everything you need to sell the items on your menu. Acquire such things as refrigerator or freezer units, or cooking units, if needed. Be sure equipment is in working order before your purchase it.

Install items in or on the cart, such as small cupboards or drawers, as necessary. Have a trash receptacle, as well as an area for returnables.

Begin purchasing items for the business. Have a sign panted on the cart with the business name , slogan if you have one, and other pertinent information. Print and laminate a few menus to hang next to each window, or on the side of the cart.

Clean the entire cart. Disinfect surface areas, as well as refrigeration and freezer units. Have a place to store cleaning needs. Keep your supplies well-stocked to ensure that you do not run out of anything. Post health inspection certificates within the area as required by law.

Begin stocking the cart as items start arriving. Place the frozen foods into the freezer, the condiments and drinks into the refrigeration unit, and the napkins and plates in the best places for convenience. Put the cooking tools near the stove area, and make sure things are as neat as possible.

Find ways to market your business. Be sure that friends and family in the area know you are starting this business. Have them tell their friends, family members, and coworkers as word of mouth is important. Find out if you can set up a sign nearby the cart in order to drive foot traffic your way.

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