How Do I Start a Food Vendor Business?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2019
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Starting a food vendor business can allow you to start earning money with a lower overhead cost than starting a restaurant. The best way to start your food vendor business is to write down all the items you will need to make the food you intend to sell, including all foods, oils, seasonings, condiments, and so on, as well as equipment such as a grill, food vendor cart, propane tanks, napkins, forks, and more. You will need to determine your budget as well, and if you need to obtain start up money, you may need to consider a visit to a bank or credit union.

Do a bit of research to find out what types of permits you will need to serve food from your vendor cart. Visit your local city hall to find out this information, and apply for all necessary permits. Do not start your food vendor business without these permits, as selling food without the permits can lead to fines or even confiscation of your cart and other supplies. It is wise to check into the tax laws that will apply to your business as well. You may need to register as a business, and you will more than likely need to charge sales tax on the food you sell. Be sure to research how to do this properly, and if possible, invest in a cash register that will make tracking your sales much easier.


Write out a menu and take note of all the food items you will need to prepare the dishes on the menu. This will help with your budget as well as your shopping list. If you are just starting out, you may want to limit your menu to just a few items to cut costs. As your business begins to take off, you can expand your menu and invest in more food and equipment. Don't forget to consider storage methods for foods: refrigeration will be necessary for many foods, so when choosing your food vendor cart, make sure it has refrigeration capabilities and the other features necessary to prepare the foods.

Think about how you will transport the food vendor cart as well. Smaller carts can be pushed or pulled easily, but if you will need to transport that cart a long distance, you may want to consider a hitch-mounted cart that can be towed by a car or truck. Otherwise, you may need to transport the cart in the bed of a truck, which can be difficult and cumbersome.



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