A mobile food vendor is a person who sells food — or distributes it free of charge — from a mobile food vending unit in any public, private or restricted space.
A mobile food vending unit is a food service establishment within a pushcart or vehicle that is used to store, prepare, display, serve or sell food — or distribute it free of charge — for consumption in a place other than in or on the unit. Any such pushcart or vehicle is considered a mobile food vending unit, whether it's operated indoors or outdoors on public, private or restricted space.
To sell food on the street, you must have a food vendor license, and your unit must have a permit.
Permit holders and licensed vendors must keep their mailing address current with the NYC Health Department. You can update your address or make an appointment to visit the Citywide Licensing Center at 42 Broadway, Manhattan, First Floor. The center is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mobile Food Vendor Waiting List Lookup
If you have a Mobile Food Vending license and are on a waiting list, you can now check your up-to-date position on the waiting list online. Search our new look-up tool by using the eight-digit license number that is on your license ID card.
Mobile Food Vendor License
There is no limit on the total number of mobile food vendor licenses granted by the City, but each vendor can get only one license.
If you want to operate or work on a mobile food cart in NYC, you must take the Food Protection Course for Mobile Vendors and get a mobile food vending license.
Mobile Food Vendor Permit
The number of mobile food vendor permits available for issuance is restricted by law, with the following limits:
Under a new law enacted this year, there will be an additional 445 mobile food vending permits available each year between July 2022 and July 2023. People who are already on a mobile food vending waiting list and have held a mobile food vending license since March 1, 2017, will be eligible first.
There are waiting lists for each category of permits. Vendors on a waiting list may only apply for a permit after they have been contacted by the Health Department. New lists will be created based on the turnover rate of the existing lists.
Mobile Food Vending Permits must be renewed. A renewal application form will be mailed to each permit holder at the last known address of record. You must complete and return the form with updated supporting documentation and the appropriate permit fee (if applicable).
Mobile Food Vending Streets Map
This interactive map shows where you are allowed to vend food from a cart or truck. It also provides information on specific location restrictions.
The NYC Health Department assigns mobile food vending units letter grades based on the total violation points found during sanitary inspections.
Before a unit can receive a grade, it will need a new permit decal and a location-sharing device affixed to the unit at its next pre-permit inspection. Once assigned a letter grade, each food truck and cart will have its letter grade posted on the unit's permit decal.
For more information, see:
Mobile Food Vending Units: Cleaning, Servicing and Storage
All mobile food vending units (pushcarts, trailers and vehicles) must operate out of a facility (commissary) permitted by the NYC Health Department, or another facility approved by the Health Department. Vendors must store their units at a mobile food vending commissary when not in use. Units must be returned to the commissary at least once each day for cleaning and maintenance.
Mobile Food Vending Unit Permit holders must provide to the Health Department a Commissary Agreement at their pre-permit inspection. They must subsequently notify the Health Department within 10 days of any change in the agreement. Commissary operators must have a Non-Retail Food Establishment Permit.
Commissary operators are required to maintain a Daily Service Log that tracks every mobile food vending unit that is cleaned, serviced or stored at their facility. The log must include the dates and times each unit returns to and leaves from the commissary. It must be available to inspectors upon request.
Health Code Regulations
Additional Resources and Guidance