Legal tips for starting a food truck business

Val Watson
Authored by Val Watson
Posted Friday, October 15, 2021 - 9:47pm

If you are thinking about starting a food truck business, there is going to be a lot you need to learn before you can open the window. We are not talking about what food and beverages to serve. We mean looking at the laws and regulations in your chosen location.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of advantages to having a food truck business. From being able to move around to lowering your bills and outgoings, if you work hard, it can be a very profitable business. But, let’s start by looking at some legal tips that are going to help your new venture take off.

Keep your ideas unique

First of all, when you are starting up your food truck business, you need to keep all of your ideas unique. The last thing you want is to get into any legal trouble when you start serving customers. Thus, when you are creating a name or choosing a menu, you want to ensure that all of it is individual and you are not copying anyone else. You want to stand out from the competition and ensure that you have something unique to offer. While you can offer similar cuisines, you do not want to find that you have a lawsuit against you. This could cost you a lot of money and mean you have to shut down your business.

Get funding

Starting a business is something that requires a lot of work. But, it also requires a lot of money too. You will need to consider how you are going to fund your new food truck business. First of all, you want to estimate your costs so that you know the amount of capital you are going to need. Check out to gain a better idea of the cost of running a food truck business. Once you know these numbers, you can have a better idea of how much funding you will require. Perhaps you have your own savings you are going to use. Alternatively, you may be prepared to get a loan and work that. No matter what route you decide to go down, make sure that you crunch the numbers and have the amount of capital you need to get started.

Register Your business

One thing you are going to have to do before you start serving from your food truck is to register your new business. For example, you can become a limited liability company or LLC or choose a sole proprietor option. This decision is going to be up to you and you will have to weigh up your options. For example, being a sole proprietor means that you are going to have paperwork to worry about. But, if things go wrong, your personal assets might be at risk. Alternatively, an LLC can mean that you enjoy legal separation from your personal assets but there are going to be more formalities you are obligated to follow.

Find out about city zones and parking

This is a common misconception that when you have a food truck, you can just park up anywhere you want and start to serve customers. Indeed, there is a lot of freedom on where you can have a food truck. You do have the ability to move around and enjoy different parts of the city. But, you need to ensure that you have permission to do this first.

In particular, you will need to find out about zoning in the city of your choice. Often, there are location restrictions and certain areas of the city are put into different zones. For example, there can be commercial and non-commercial zones. In addition, there are going to be some areas where you are allowed to park on the street and others where it is prohibited. Again, every city is going to be different and have various rules. So, the best thing you can do is research the city first. You can also contact your local county clerk and they might be able to give you information.

Apply for the right licenses

There are going to be several licensing requirements you need to consider before you can begin operating your food truck. Every state can be different so you will need to do your research to ensure you comply with all of the regulations.  For example, some states are going to require you to have a retail food license and others will need a food handlers permit approved. You may also need to get a fire certificate and a sales tax permit. There are a lot of resources online that can help you find all of the relevant licenses you need. In particular, there will be government official websites.

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