Mobile food trucks are popping up all across America, dishing up everything from burgers to tacos. If you’re a Maryland-based cook or restaurant owner and thinking of starting one, you need to understand the strict health and business codes regulating this industry. Before you start serving food, you need a mobile food truck license. Here’s how the process works.
What Qualifies as a Mobile Food Truck?
Maryland defines a food truck as a mobile food service facility that is propelled mechanically, electrically, or manually with the purpose of regularly changing locations to sell food. Even a small pushcart or bicycle-driven vehicle qualifies under this definition.
The state differentiates between food service vehicles that regularly change locations and so-called "semi-permanent" food service facilities, which technically have the ability to move but don't routinely do so. These typically include carnival and fair vendors.
How Can You Get a Mobile Food Truck License?
To operate a food truck in Maryland, your application must go through the county in which you want to run the business. For example, the food truck DMV sets out different requirements for Montgomery County than it does for Prince George's County. However, the application process will be similar regardless of location.
The first step is to pass the licensing exam to become a certified food manager. You must then provide a plan of your mobile food truck's equipment and layout to the Department of Health and Human Services for review. You will have to pay a fee for this process—for example, $300 in Prince George's County and $600 in Montgomery County.
Assuming this is approved, you can then apply for your mobile food license. A representative from the Department of Health and Human Services will inspect the facilities before issuing the permit. Depending on the location, you may also need to apply for a separate vendor's permit. Once all these licensing steps are complete, you are ready to start selling your goods.
To pass inspection, your mobile food truck must meet stringent requirements in terms of layout, hygiene facilities, and safety equipment. Let Shanghai Mobile Kitchen Solutions of Brooklyn, NY, create a food truck plan that will pass the test. In business since 1979, they have helped countless vendors along the East Coast get their businesses started. They serve clients from New Jersey to North Carolina. Visit their website to view their full range of services, from custom kitchen design to food truck repair. To discuss your needs, call (800) 253-4815.