How to Get a Food Vendor's License in California

By Adam Raphael ; Updated April 08, 2017
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Working as a street vendor requires a license for selling food and a license for your mobile food unit as well. A food vending business is a versatile and mobile business that can grow and develop like any other venture.

Corn on the cob food booth at fair

Choose what type of a food vendor license you want to apply for. There are different requirements for fixed location vendors and transient vendors. You should decide whether you want a fixed location or whether you want to be able to move around California to be able to follow various events.

Man calling city hall

Contact your local city hall to see whether the area you want to work in is zoned for food vending. You will need a zoning permit, a public health permit from your county and a business license from your city.

Man researching website

Visit the website of California’s Department of Taxation: State of California Franchise Tax Board (see references) and print out an application form or fill it out online. Send the complete application to the department with the other additional documents that may be required.

Man applying for business license

Apply for a business license. Go to your city’s official website and go to the business licenses section. There is either an application form to download and print or an online application. Fill out the application form online or print out the form and send it to your local government office. Pay the licensing fee.

Man filling out form

Fill out a Food Vendor Commissary Authorization form that is requested by the Public Health Department of California. Submit the form to the Environmental Health Services in order to get an approval and to receive a public health permit.

Taco stand

Post your food vendor license in your place of business where the public can see it. Information such as your contact information and the name of your business has to be stated clearly in the license.

Food stand at fair

Renew your food vendor license every year. You will notified through mail when it is time to renew.

About the Author

Adam Raphael has been writing technical and health-related articles for a variety of online sources for five years. His articles have appeared on a variety of popular blogs and other websites.