Frequently Asked Questions:
I want to start a food truck business, where do I start?
A: Research, research, research. Running a Food Truck for Dummies by Richard Myrick is a great resource and so is talking to other local food truck owners. The most important thing you can do is gather information. Start with the “where.” Where will you operate your business? What city and county? Do those cities/counties have extra restrictions/requirements for trucks? Call or visit your local city hall and county health department. We also have a “Getting Started” section for new operators.
Can I buy a truck and drive it all across Washington vending wherever I want?
A: You will need a health permit in each county and a business license in each city. In some places you’ll also need a parking permit from DOT and a fire permit from the fire department. You CAN get temporary permits to vend if you’re a part of a festival.
How much does it cost to start a truck?
A: Every food truck business is different, so it’s important that you get quotes from every truck/trailer/cart manufacturer, commissary and truck wrapping (the design on the outside) place you can find. Remember, regional regulations and permits can dramatically impact the cost of running a mobile food business.
I found a builder to build my food truck. Is there anything I should require?
A: Make sure that your food truck builder understands the requirements for our state’s Labor & Industry (you can find a builder’s checklist in the member’s resources section.) Ask to see other food trucks the builder has done. Talk with those vendors if you can.
Does my menu matter?
A: Yes! If your truck kitchen (or your rented commissary kitchen) cannot support your menu, the Health Department won’t give you a health permit. Make sure your truck kitchen can support the food processes you are planning to follow. If you’re ordering food to cook on your truck, make sure it’s from an approved source (meaning a licensed food facility). For example, if you plan on serving sausages but you have no way to make sausages, the health department is going to want to know where you’re sourcing your product.
Am I required to rent a commissary kitchen?
A. It depends. If your mobile can meet the new commissary kitchen exemption guidelines, then you can request to be exempt from this state food code.
Can I sell beer, wine, liquor from my mobile?
A. Yes, but with conditions. You must first have your “catering” health permit (this is in addition to your food truck health permit). Then you need to add on a liquor addendum to your state business license. You can contact us for the details.