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Mobile Food Facilities

Photo of Mexican food truck near Market StreetA Mobile Food Facility is any vehicle or pushcart used in conjunction with a commissary or other permanent food facility upon which food is sold or distributed at retail in static location. Like many major cities across the country, MFFs have become an increasingly significant feature of the streetscape in San Francisco. In order to address this growing trend, the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance regulating Mobile Food Facilities in December of 2010.  followed by approved DPW guidelines in the form of DPW Order No. 179,044, approved February 25, 2011.

On July 28, 2013, the Board of Supervisors amended Public Works Code, Article 5.8 to address various location and noticing requirements concerning mobile food facilities and can be found here. The new legislation streamlines the rules and regulations for mobile food vending, making it assessable and affordable to be a legal street-food vendor in San Francisco under DPW Order 182,101.

The Health and Fire Departments will continue to enforce public safety regulations, while location permitting was transferred from the Police Department to the Department of Public Works. 

Call 311 to report a problem or complete a Request for Service online. 

Quick Links

The Small Business Assistance Center functions as the City's central point of information and referral for entrepreneurs and small businesses located in San Francisco, providing one on one case management. Services are available by phone, walk-in, and by appointment.

DPW will provide each facility (truck/push cart) one 40 minute appointment to answer general questions or review applications. To schedule an appointment call 415-554-5810 or email us at mobilefood@sfdpw.org.  

Application Guidelines

New applicants: 

  •  Fill out a complete Department of Public Works Mobile Food Facility application
  • Two (2) photographs of the permit applicant(s) for ID cards (i.e. passport size)
  • Site plan showing where the pushcart on the sidewalk and food truck in the parking strip with distance dimensions. See Sample Drawing. Drawing do not have to be Auto Cad or to scale, but must be with a ruler and legible.
  • A sample menu or itemized list
  • Frequently Asked Questions for new applicants.

Single Day Use (Issued as Temporary Occupancy Permit)

  • Fill out a Temporary Occupancy permit application at the counter or download a copy here.
  • Must bring in a Certificate of General Liability Insurance with the City and County of San Francisco as an additional insured with a minimum of $1,000,000.00.
  • Minimum 3 Business Days for approval and activation. No exceptions will be allowed.
  • If multiple locations, must bring in a list of locations, times and dates of occupancy and operation, and a written authorization letter from the property owner or manager.
  • Must bring in a copy of DPH Certificate of Sanitation and Current SF Business Certificate for DPW permit issuance

Sample Drawing

Represent dimension between Mobile Food Facility and obstructions including trees, newspaper racks, bike racks signs, parking meters, hydrants, payphones, lights, SFFD Alarms, etc.

Drawing Sample

  • Dimension the length and width of the Mobile Food Facility. 
  •  When choosing a location, please be aware that the majority of trucks provide service on the passenger side of the vehicle. 
  • Truck/ trailers shall be located on the street in a legal parking space.
  • Pushcart: The minimum recommended width of a sidewalk shall be 15 feet.
  • All Mobile Food Facilities must maintain a minimum clearance of 
    • 8’ from Street Artist
    • 5’ from Curb Return 
    • 6’ Path of Travel
    • 6’ from Street Furniture
    • 7’ from Fire Hydrant
    • 8’ from Bus Zones 
    • 12’ from Blue Zone 

Area Maps

Notice of Intent (NOI) – Public Comment

DPW has begun the permit review process for the approval of Mobile Food Facility permits. Within 300 feet of the proposed permit, a Notice of Intent is mailed to businesses, if the facility operates between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., and to all property owners, residential tenants, and businesses if the facility operates between the hours of 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. the following day. Public comment is allowed for 30 days after the notice date.

Letters of Objection or support for Mobile Food Facility permit applications must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the Notice of Intent via email to mobilefood@sfdpw.org by mail to the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Street-Use and Mapping, 1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103, by fax to (415) 554-6161 or submit the Public Comment Form online. Please include the permit number and location, the reasons for your objection, and your contact information.

Permit Applications (Required)

Register your Business

Every person or entity doing business in the City and County of San Francisco must possess a valid Business Registration Certificate from the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, as stated in Article 12A of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code. This code also applies to businesses located outside of San Francisco that perform business transactions or services in San Francisco.

Additional Resources

Final decisions may be appealed to the Board of Appeals within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of an approved or denied permit application. For further information, please contact the Board of Appeals in person at 1650 Mission Street, Suite 304, or call 415-575-6880.

Last updated: 8/20/2014 1:59:24 PM