San Francisco Mobile Permitting can best be divided into three categories:
1) Mobile Truck Vendors:
In San Francisco you’ll need a Mobile Foodservice Facility permit to sell food from public property legally out of a truck. The application is found through the Department of Public Works. You’ll need to setup a list of locations and notify businesses within 300 feet and residents if serving at night.. This permit also requires Health and Fire Inspection of the Mobile Catering vehicle.
2) Private Property Vendors:
You’ll need a Sanitation Certificate issued through the San Francisco Health Department. This permit also requires Property Owner, Health, Fire and Zoning department approval. In addition, if you are staying at this location for more than 2 hours, you’ll need access to a bathroom for your employees as well.
3) Food Peddling Carts:
If your cart is located in Private Property, please refer to #2. If you’re cart is based on Public Property it must have at minimum: Mechanical refrigeration to maintain a constant temperature of 38-42 degrees F (for the duration of your service period) and a hand washing sink. As a standard rule, the typical Hot Dog cart must (generally) not exceed 3x4x5 dimensions. If you are cooking raw protein, your cart will also require a ventilation system and a 3 part sink. You are not allowed multiple sites with this permit and you must be 2 blocks, or 600 feet, from the next closest vendor (or similar brick and mortar restaurant).
All mobile vending vehicles in California are required to operate out of a Commissary where you can store inventory, prep food, (legally) dump water and store your vending unit. Check here for more information regarding commissaries.
For more information on Instrucktional (the getting started guide on permitting, business planning and more) please click here:
If you need immediate assistance with permitting please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for consulting information. Our rate is $150/hr and we currently have very limited availability. We can, however, assist with Health & Fire permit expediting and can help prepare documentation for the new public MFF Permit process through DPW.