Mobile food service business permit
Follow the 3-Step Plan Review process to get a permit
Mobile Food Establishments include food carts, trailers, and trucks as well as food kiosks. Before constructing, remodeling, or changing ownership; mobile food establishment owners must submit plans for review and approval.
Select a tab below to display information about the 3-Step Plan Review process:
Step 1: Mobile food service plan guide
Checklists covering every area of your business.
- Plan review process for mobile food service operation
The Mobile Food Service Plan Guide is tailored for establishments which serve food from food vehicles, espresso carts and kiosks. It includes a checklist of items you will need to review and include in your final plans to ensure that you've covered every area of your food business.
Step 2: Mobile plan review application
Submit an application for a Plans Examiner to review the proposed plan for your business.
Once you complete your final plans of how your establishment will be set up for business according to the Plan Guide in Step 1, you will need to submit them for review along with the Plan Review Application.
- Plan review submittal cover sheet for mobile food service establishments
- Plan review application for mobile food establishment
- Go to Environmental Health's online services portal.
- If you are a new user, click on "First-time users register here."
- Click on “Register if you are an individual or a food establishment plan review applicant”
- Once you get your account name and password, click on "Registered users log in here."
- If you have previously created an account, click on "Registered users log in here."
- Once you are logged in, from the left side menu, click on "Permanent Food Plan Review or Mobile Food Plan Review."
- Click on "Add Permanent Food Plan Review or add Mobile Food Plan Review " and complete the application form, attach your application document, and pay the fee.
- After you have paid the application fee successfully, you will be able to print the application for your records, you will receive a confirmation email, and you can check the status of your application at https://www.skcconnect.com/ezsearch.
Please note that you must complete an application in its entirety. Therefore, please make sure that you have all the necessary information and application documents before you start an application. You can review:
Mobile Food Plan Review Application documents checklist
Mobile Food Unit Design—detailed drawings of mobile food unit, Photos of mobile food unit, and Photo of L&I sticker (if occupied vehicle)
Limited Food Service—detailed drawings of limited food service
Water System Design—detailed drawings of water system design
Commissary Information—Permission Letter, and drawing of commissary
Site/Itinerary Information—restroom use agreement, and site or route information form. Include all locations for multiple operating locations
Menu and Food Preparation Steps—list of food and beverage items to be prepared and served, food preparation flow chart
Operating Procedures—hours of operation, water & waste water tank maintenance, and cleaning schedule
Restroom availability letter for each stop that lasts longer than 1 hour
Locations of all sites and route if the mobile unit will operate in multiple locations
Application for Exemption from Commissary:
- For those applying for both a new mobile food service plan review and commissary exemption concurrently, you will be charged a base fee of $888 for up to 4 hours of plan review at the time of plan submittal (plus $222 for each hour after 4 hours).
- For those who currently hold a mobile food unit permit and are applying for commissary exemption, you will be charged a base fee of $444 for up to 2 hours of plan review for a change of operation at the time of submittal for such change (plus $222 for each hour after 2 hours).
In order to be considered for approval of a commissary exemption in either case, the application must completely address each of the ten questions that are listed. Draft guidelines are included along with the application for commissary exemption as a useful resource and toolkit designed to help in formulating answers to these questions.
Information contained in the guidelines are intended to advise applicants on the recommended course of action. However, please be advised that this document is a draft and is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is subject to change upon further review by stakeholders, who may have additional ideas for change as more materials are gathered. All recommendations made in these draft guidelines are without guarantee of approval for a commissary exemption. The final version of these guidelines will be published as soon as they are adopted.
Step 3: Mobile food service permit application
After your business plan has been approved by a Plans Examiner in Step 2, the final step is to apply for a mobile food service business permit.
- Application to operate a mobile food unit/commissary
Mobile Food Unit/Commissary businesses use this application. This is the permit that allows you to operate and open for business to the public.
- Information for mobile food establishments within Seattle city limits (external site)
Contact a Plans Examiner for questions about Food Service Plans ONLY. Plans Examiners cannot respond to questions about Temporary Event Permits or Farmers Markets. Contact the Plans Examiner serving the area of King County where your mobile food establishment is located as noted below.
For businesses located within the cities of Burien, Seattle, Mercer Island, Shoreline, Vashon Island, and Unincorporated King County (Skyway and White Center only):
- Pat Murphy: 206-263-8484 or 206-263-9566
- John Shin: 206-263-8531 or 206-263-9566
For businesses located elsewhere in King County (cities not listed above) and in Unincorporated King County, please contact:
- Mike Bratcher: 206-477-8144 or 206-477-8050
- Diane Agasid: 206-263-2157 or 206-477-8050
- Food Worker Card
All employees of a mobile food establishment are required to obtain a Washington State Food Worker Card. You can take the class and test conveniently online or go to any of our in-person classes.
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan applications:
- List of important agency contacts
You may need to contact several local agencies to find out what you need to do to complete your Food Business Plan including the Fire Department, Building Department, business licensing, liquor permits, sewage hookups, etc. Most agencies have an information specialist who can answer your specific questions. Which agencies you need to contact will depend on your particular business.
- Request for variance from the food code (PDF)
- Risk-based inspection program (PDF)
Description of the three different risk type categories that can be assigned to a food service establishment.
- Risk levels and permit classifications
Permits are now based on risk levels determined by type of food and preparation steps. This information will assist you in determining what food permit to apply for and obtain. The more complex the menu and preparation of foods, the higher the risk level, which in turn relates to more frequent inspection of your establishment.
- Risk levels and permit classifications
- King County Board of Health (BOH) food codes
If you wish to reference the detailed Food Codes for King County, click on the link above and view BOH Titles 5, R5, 6 and R6 as they pertain to food service establishments.
- Washington State Retail Food Code
Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/foodsafety/mobile/