Open a Food Truck Today!

Interested in opening a food truck in NYC? Here’s how!

Step 1: Research the NYC Food Truck Scene
See what’s already out there and identify trends, popular cuisines, and any gaps in the market. This will help you develop a unique and competitive concept.

Step 2: Choose Your Food Truck Concept
What kind of food will you serve? NYC is a melting pot, so the options are endless. But remember, your concept needs to be delicious and commercially viable.

Step 3: Create a Business and Obtain a Business License
In order to open a food truck, you need to create a business. To do so, you should first write out a business plan. Do this by outlining your concept, identifying your target audience, creating a marketing strategy, summarizing your financial projections, and determining how you’ll navigate the permitting process. This will be your roadmap to success.

Next, you need to file either a certificate of incorporation or apply for authority to conduct business in NYC. This is necessary because part of the application requires a Certificate of Authority to collect sales tax, which may only be obtained after a business has been created.

Step 4: Prepare to Open
To get ready to open, you will first need to obtain a “Food Protection Certificate.” There are two ways to obtain this certificate:

1. In-person at the NYC Health Academy or
2. Online

The in-person course and final exam cost $114. The online course is free but there is a $24 fee to take the final exam.

Next, you will have to complete and sign the mobile food vendor application:

You must then be cleared by the New York City Environmental Control Board to ensure you owe no outstanding fines. To do this, you must submit a Food Vendor Request for an Invoice (linked here) to the Office of Administrative Tribunal and Hearings. The office will notify you if you owe any fines. If you do, you must pay said fines prior to submitting for a permit.

Step 5: Submit the Application
Once the application is complete and you have obtained all the required documentation, you must submit the application, your Certificate of Authority
to collect sales tax, all additional documentation, and payment to the DCWP Citywide Licensing Center via email or by mail. New application fees cost $50.
You may also submit the application in person by making an appointment with the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) to submit your license application in person.

Please note, that once the application is submitted, it will be added to a waitlist for approval. The number of permits and licenses issued per year is limited. As such, wait times for approval may take up to 2-3 months. This wait time can be longer and depends on your place on the list. Step 6: Obtain a Supervisory License

Mobile food vendors are required to obtain a supervisory license. Once you receive your mobile food vendor permit, you can apply to be on the supervisory
license waiting list. Mobile food vendor license holders will be notified when new waiting list opportunities become available.

You may only apply for this permit if you have been contacted by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Instructions on how to apply for this permit will be issued after you have been contacted.

The waitlist for a supervisor license is different than that for the mobile food vender permit. Licensed vendors will be notified when the waiting list application period is open.

Additional Considerations:
Finding a Food Truck: Decide if you’ll buy a new or used truck, and factor in any necessary modifications for your food prep needs.

Securing a Commissary Kitchen: Most food trucks require a separate kitchen space for prepping food in advance.

Developing Your Menu: Create a menu that’s both delicious and affordable for your target audience.

Marketing Your Food Truck: Utilize social media, online ordering platforms, and participate in food truck events to spread the word.

Hiring Staff: Find reliable and enthusiastic employees who share your passion for food!

Opening a food truck in NYC can be a rewarding adventure. To bring your delicious concept to the streets of New York City, contact Pierce & Kwok LLP today.

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