FAQ for soon to be vendors:
Will the SoCal Mobile Food Vendors’ Association help me start my food truck business?
No. The SoCalMFVA is, first and foremost, an advocacy group for trucks currently on the road or close to launch. We focus our attention on the regulatory issues that trucks are facing on a day to day basis. But, we will try and answer some preliminary questions you may have. If you are interested in attending a food truck Q & A session, please fill out this form.
How much does it cost to start a truck?
Every food truck business is different, so it’s important that you get quotes from every truck manufacturer/renter, commissary and truck wrapping (the design on the outside) place you can find.
Do you need a business license for every City you do business in? Yes.
How much do business licenses cost?
LA – free
Culver City – $370
Santa Monica – $270
El Segundo – $190
Arcadia – $170
Manhattan Beach – $250
Alhambra – $300
Which County is harder to get permitted in, Orange, or Los Angeles?
Los Angeles County has stricter rules for getting your truck approved. If you want to operate in both counties, it’s best to get your truck permitted in Los Angeles. However, Orange County requires that you have your commissary in Orange County. We’re working on getting that restriction removed.
Will the Los Angeles County Health Permit work for all 88 municipalities in LA County.
No. Pasadena, Long Beach, and the City of Vernon all have their own health departments and therefore do not come under the jurisdiction of the LA County Heath Department.
What is the bathroom letter all about?
In order to operate anywhere for over an hour, you must have permission to use a bathroom within 200ft travel distance of where you’ll be doing business. The bathroom must have hot water, single use dispensing soap, and be kept in clean working order.
Who do you recommend that I talk to about: Trucks, PR, Insurance, Commissary (place you have to park your truck every night)?
Trucks Sales/Rentals: AA CATER TRUCK MFG has been building trucks for over 35 years. The SoCalMFVA has a very good relationship with this company and we highly recommend them. Give them a call at 323-235-6650. Be sure to let them know that you heard about them from the SoCalMFVA.
Dan Fein, CIC –
Whorton Insurance – California
Phone: 310.410-0070 x260
Fax: 310.410-0080 –
6033 W. Century Blvd #1280
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Commissary: Slauson Commissary has agreed to provide the SoCalMFVA with our own commissary space. Rates are competitive and the lot is brand new. It will be opening mid October. The number is the same as the AA CATER TRUCK MFG, as they are sister companies: 323-235-6650
PR: Linh Ho of Ideation is our preferred PR person. She does a lot of work with the trucks. (424) 227-9498 or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org http://ideationagency.com
What are some of the regulations I’m going to be dealing with in Los Angeles/Santa Monica
• You must obey the posted parking restrictions, including, but not limited to, restrictions on stopping, loading, and parking from either posted signs or painted curbs [ LAMC 80.73(b)2(B)].
• You must dispense food from the sidewalk side of the street. No truck may dispense food street side [ LAMC 80.73(b)2(C)]
• You must have a CONSPICUOUS litter receptacle which is clearly marked with a sign requesting its use by patrons [ LAMC 80.73(b)2(D)]. In-truck hatch receptacles are NOT sufficient.
• Trash shall be removed from all areas VISIBLE around the truck. The truck shall take all bags with them when vacating an area. Trash is to include all materials originally dispensed from the truck as well as any other items left by patrons, such as cigarette butts[ LAMC 80.73(b)2(E)].
• The “hatch” of a truck shall be at least 7 feet above the sidewalk in order to avoid patron collisions [LAMC 56.08(e) disputed]
• Trucks must be parked at a Commissary every night. [Cal Code: 114295(c)]
• Trucks must have a bathroom letter from an accessible bathroom with hot water (103-108 degrees), single serving soap, paper towels, kept in clean working order, if vending for over an hour (Cal Code: 114315)
• Trucks must have current and valid registration clearly marked on their plates while vending on the street.
• Trucks should have all their permits readily accessible while doing business.
• You must have a business license for the municipality you are doing business in (even if it’s a private catering event).
• You must have a health permit for the municipality you are doing business in.
• Long Beach, Pasadena and the City of Vernon are not covered under the Los Angeles County Health Permit and require a separate permit and approval process.
Santa Monica Codes:
• SMMC: 6.36.010
• SM: You must be 35 feet from the closest truck
• SM: On a sidewalk of less than 8 feet you must keep 4 feet of the sidewalk clear
• SM: You must be more than 10 feet from the entrance to the front door of a business or 4 feet from a building
• SM: You must be more than 10 feet from any street corner
• Every employee must have a seat with a working seatbelt while moving [Cal Code 27315]
• Trucks shall be cleaned and serviced at least once per day [Cal Code: 114297]
• Employee entrance doors to food preparation areas shall be self-closing and kept closed when not in use [Cal Code: 114303]
• The exterior of a mobile food facility and the surrounding area, as relating to the operation of food service, shall be maintained in a sanitary condition. [Cal code 114317]
• Preparation kitchens must be approved by the Health Department.
• A properly charged and maintained minimum 10 BC-rated fire extinguisher to combat grease fires shall be properly mounted and readily accessible on the interior of any mobile food facility that is equiped with heating elements or cooking equipment [114323(e)]