BusinessBusiness and Legal

Ideas for Mobile Food Service Business

My fiance and I are going to be starting a food service business for fairs and what not. We aren't sure what we want to sell yet.


Does anyone have any advice on getting started or anything regarding this? Any ideas would help. Thank you in advance.

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By Fatcat (Guest Post)
October 25, 20080 found this helpful

Why don't you be the one vendor offering something healthy? Please!

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October 25, 20080 found this helpful

I'm not sure what type booth etc. you plan on renting or such, but my sister considered this at one time so I only know what she found out while trying to go through the process of doing so. She was going to sell at fairs too, and any event where you could pull your trailer up to it and sell. She was going to sell funnel cakes. and she was going to buy or rent one of the small booths like you pull behind your vehicle. the only thing I do know for sure is that she found out that you can use those type booths free if you get them from coca cola or pepsi companies because they want the advertisement so they let you use them free but I think she had to at least put down a deposit for it which was refundable after she was done with it and it had to remain being used in the town and state she got it from.


Not sure what appliances etc. it had on it. They are all different and I think she had to get a vendor's license that was $50 at the time which I think was good for a year.

As long as you get Walmarts permission you can set those up at there stores while they have events going on. Funnel cakes, hot dogs and candied apples do good. Also they were selling sliced apples and caramel as well. Maybe someone eles can tell you what prices to charge on your food items that already have done so. Also call your chamber of commerce for events in your town. They have those planned events way in advance. Hope that helped.

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October 25, 20080 found this helpful

We have a neighbor who makes a small fortune selling cotton candy at fairs and festivals and such. He had to invest in the machine to make it but I don't thing there was any other great outlay of cash.


He also has become a minor celeb tossing peanuts to people at the Houston astros games during baseball season.

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October 27, 20080 found this helpful

You might want to contact your local health department about health rules, laws and permits. I am fairly sure they would help give you other information besides that, too :-) Good Luck :-)

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October 27, 20080 found this helpful

I have some friends that have a mexican mobile food truck and they had to make sure everything is up to par, call the health dept, they will make sure everything is okay and then they will issue you a license. I don't know if you live in a small city, we do and their business has not done well at all. and believe me they have great food.and it is a lot of work. But good luck anyway. Barb

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October 27, 20080 found this helpful

We id this for several years. I would have loved to sell healthy food, but it really doesn't sell here. First, start with the health department. Our annual permit was $65.00, and we paid $14.00 each for a training course that was very valuable. We had to undergo annual inspections while at the county fair. We found that the more variety we had, the more we sold. Our menu included hot dogs, Polish dogs, hamburgers of all kinds, Indian tacos, soft tacos, fries, chicken sandwiches and/or nuggets, taco salads, cold drinks of all flavors including Gatorade, potato chips and corn chips, and caramel apple chips. The water was the best seller of all. We bought it by the 36-pack at Costco, and it came to .17 per bottle. We got a dollar for it. The money was good; the work hard. We served food at horse shows, rodeos, county fairs etc.


Our mobile unit is a remodeled camp trailer with large side windows, a stove, two refrigerators, a hot dog machine, a snowcone machine that we never used, and tons of storage space. We bought our buns at the Wonder Bread outlet. To the north of us there was a mobile teriyaki chicken seller with frozen bottles of water and raspberry iced tea and fountain drinks. To the south of us was a Boy Scout troop selling scones (in Idaho that's a big piece of fried bread and slathered in butter and your choice of maple frosting or honey). All three of us did very well. At least four booths sold burgers. Some folks have been making inroads selling crepes, others candy cotton. We quit two years ago, and I see prices are going up on fast food. If you have more questions, I will try to answer them for you.

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November 1, 20080 found this helpful

I had a 12' by 6' trailer called the Shell-Lee Deli with my friend here in Salem OR.


We set up at auctions, fairs, big yard sales, etc.
We needed power, but you can get permits for generators, too, esp' if your events are rural. We had a microwave, coffee maker, fridge, hot water heater, pump and planned every single inch for space. Imagine two "fluffy" ladies in 72 square feet!!

We sold hogies, salads, taco salads, dogs/chili dogs, chili, soups and sodas/water/coffees and teas.

We sliced things for the food at home the night before, bagged it and loaded it up that morning. We got a lot of our things from Costco, and by trial and error, we found what worked best. Everyone loved the muffins they make, and we sold packages of peanuts, sunflower seeds, small candy bars and small bags of chips.
Example: Instead of getting three sizes of cups that required three sizes of lids, we found a line that had all the same lids on three sizes of cups, just different heigths.


We found that canned soda was cheaper than cups, lids, straws, etc. We always kept a trash can and a recycling can on either side of our window.

As for healthy things, sure, you can have some. Most of what we sold was good, fresh, and not real high in bad things. To save room and work, we got the mini foil packetts of mayo, mustard, relish, etc.
That way, people can fix something like they want it, and we don't have to deal with fly's or waste.

We kept back up supplies in the truck like paper plates, napkins, etc. That left room for almost nothing but food.

Read up on it before you invest. Ask others what they did and what they learned.

Information and planning are key.

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