Food Truck FAQs

Vancouver food trucksThis FAQ page is intended to answer a lot of the common questions we receive from readers of the site. We hope this helps you in your quest for food truck glory.

What exactly is Vancouver Food Trucks?

We’re all about the Vancouver food truck scene. Our goal is to promote a vibrant and sustainable food truck culture in this city by listing all the local trucks, food truck locations and keeping everyone informed of the latest food truck news and events. In addition to this web site we also have an Android and iPhone app and are active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

How does a truck get listed on this site?

If you own a truck and aren’t already listed, please contact us and we’ll make arrangements to have you added as soon as possible.

Where can food trucks park?

Trucks are allowed to park and operate at the exact location and times specified on their vending permit.

What sort of licenses and permits do I need?

There are several permits and requirements a food truck must meet in order to legally operate on the streets of Vancouver:

  • Legally able to work in Canada
  • Have a current City of Vancouver business license
  • Have valid liability insurance
  • Have a valid health permit
  • Have a current City of Vancouver vending permit
  • Follow all requirements set out in National Fire Protection Association Standard 96 for ventilation control and protection.

How long does a vending permit last?

Permits are issued on May 1st and are valid for exactly one year until April 30th. Within the year you must operate for a minimum of 90 days.

What fees are involved to obtaining a permit?

To apply for a permit it will cost $50. Once granted a permit it will cost $1160.99 for the year.

What rules and requirements do permit holders need to be aware of?

Once a permit is obtained you must obey the following conditions:

  • Permits remain the property of the City of Vancouver
  • Permits must be displayed at all times
  • Permits must be given immediately upon request to any city official or police member
  • Permits cannot be rented or transferred
  • Permits must include list of employees
  • You are required to cooperate with any city official or police member
  • You must get approval before changing food menus by the Engineering Department and Vancouver Coastal Health
  • You must ensure the truck is attended to at all times when in operation
  • You must ensure that the location is kept clean

Permit holders that do not follow these conditions are at risk to have their goods confiscated and their permit being suspended, cancelled or not renewed.

What sort of insurance do I need?

Once granted a vending permit you must show proof of liability insurance that has a minimum inclusive limit of $2,000,000, a cross liability clause and finally the City of Vancouver named as insured. A permit will not be issued until proof of insurance has been confirmed.

Can anyone start a food truck?

Not exactly. The City uses a scoring system to award new permits to street food vendors. Top scoring applicants will be issued new permits. Due to bylaw and regulatory updates the City is not accepting new applications in 2015.

Approximately how much does retrofitting a food truck cost?

Trucks can be retrofitted for anywhere between $30,000-$50,000 before appliances which will be additional.

What kind of generators should be used for food trucks?

As the generators will need to be used for extended periods of time, food truck vendors recommend Onan or Generac generators as they are silent (very important), high watt generators that are equipped to run continuously.

What other tips do you have for me?

  • Don’t get into the industry looking for a cheap, used Purolator truck. Instead, look for something that’s between $15k-20k, or else you’ll be spending more time and money repairing it than operating on the streets.
  • Anticipate paying 15%-20% of sales to event organizers in fees.
  • Consider diesel trucks vs. gas trucks when purchasing. Diesel trucks are more expensive up front but will typically last longer and use less fuel.

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