How to open a food truck in Miami

POR Hispanic Entrepreneurs Apr 11, 2022

Several states have imposed strong regulations on food businesses. Before starting the path of gastronomic entrepreneurship, you must understand how to open a food truck in Miami.

This city recognizes the value of food trucks and therefore gives them space to operate. It has even made available a platform called to be so that entrepreneurs can apply for licenses from a mobile phone or computer. 

The Miami government defines a food truck as a mobile food service in which the preparation, cooking and distribution of food is carried out. This process is carried out from a vehicle or trailer. 

What to know before opening a food truck in Miami

The food truck has to be built according to the specifications of the state of Florida. All preparation and servicing must be done inside the vehicle. They must have refrigeration, storage, electricity, fresh water tank and solid waste. Plus a three-compartment sink.

Another requirement is that trucks obtain and discharge water in an approved non-residential area. If four or more people work, a certified food manager must be present. This must pass the Food Handler Certification required by the city. 

You should know that food trucks are authorized to operate in commercial and industrial districts. As well as in urban centers, provisional areas and districts that are for commercial or industrial use. Likewise, in properties that have a certificate of use such as churches and schools. 

They also require that you have protection against the elements and vermin on walls, ceiling and floor. Have a separate sink, equipment to keep food at a safe temperature.

How to open a food truck in Miami

First register the company with the government to have an employer identification number, that is, on to stay up to date with taxes. If you plan to open a hot dog or burrito cart, for example, you should go to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). 

This is the office that everyone usually goes to to apply for a license to sell food. You have to create an account on the site and follow the steps. It endorses mobile food vehicles that process and prepare potentially hazardous foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers. 

In case you want to sell pre-packaged, non-hazardous bulk foods (popcorn, cotton candy, pastries, coffee, tea and candy). As well as fruit or fish juices that do not require processing, a license is requested from the Department of Florida Agriculture and Consumer Servicesabout DOACS.

To process the mobile food permit, review very carefully the requirements that are requested on the website of this department. Then complete the commissary agreement letter to verify that you have a support facility (commissary).

The other step is to apply for a food establishment inspection, pay the fees and wait for the reply. It usually takes 2 weeks, its renewal must be done before March 31 of each year.

Once the state requirements have been met, the procedures required by Miami legislation are carried out. The city government indicates that food trucks are requested a business tax receipt (BTR) for which they have to present: 

1- Miami Dade County Health Department inspection certificate.

2- Certificate of inspection from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

3- Proof of valid insurance. They usually ask for the general liability one, added to one of commercial personal property.

4- Vehicle identification number.

5- A street vendor BTR issued by Miami Dade County.

Please note that the City does not authorize food trucks to operate within a 500-foot radius of another gas and food service establishment. Nor from other sources of fuel energy and from some areas of natural habitat.

The next thing is to obtain the Certificate of Use for which you will have to give information about the business such as the hours of operation. A copy of the state food service license must also be submitted. It is renewed annually.

To find out what requirements you need to request the Certificate of Use, go to this link: While to request it together with the business tax receipt, go to

Trucks must always show a copy of their city affidavit certifying that they meet the operational requirements. The sale of alcoholic beverages is not authorized and the operation of food trucks is prohibited in District 3.

Projection of food trucks for 2022

Studies suggest that the food truck industry will grow by 2022% in 3.4, its current value is 1.2 billion dollars. Today, some 35 trucks operate in the United States and more than 500 people are working on them. 

It is estimated that to start in this business you spend around 50 thousand and 60 thousand dollars according to Food Truck Nation. Much of the money goes into managing the licenses and permits, the cost varies depending on the state. They have annual income between 250 thousand and 500 thousand. 

Florida has 502 food trucks operating and ranks third nationally, the first place is for California with 753 and the second for Texas with 549. They are the three most visited states in the country, so tourism is considered to be key in the development of the sector. 

40% of food trucks remain in business three years after launch. Those who fail is due to poor planning. For not having an adequate budget, poor marketing implementation or poor customer service. But we must also take into account the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. 

Those who relocated to residential areas or those associated with grocery stores and hospitals survived. In short, the survival rate is closely related to the ability to adapt to customer demand. 

The current trend in the industry is organic products, ingredients of local or sustainable origin. They are more interested in vegan or plant-based menus, as well as gluten-free options and the substitution of refined sugar. Apart follows the popularity of smart trucks that offer advance orders.

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