Mobile food vending vehicles

Mobile food vending vehicles have grown in popularity in recent times but it is important that standards of construction and operation are met and maintained during operation.

A mobile food vending vehicle is defined as 'any means of transport, whether self-propelled or not, or otherwise designed to be movable, which is used for selling food, whether on land, sea or air'. It includes vehicles used for on-site food preparation (eg hamburgers, hot dogs and kebabs), one-step food preparation (eg popcorn, fairy floss, coffee and squeezing juices), and the sale of any type of food including pre-packaged food; but does not include food vending machines or food transport vehicles.

The NSW Food Authority has put together guidelines for mobile food vending vehicles and food businesses at temporary events. The guidelines provide the food safety standards and requirements that need to be met along with a convenient checklist that allows operators to identify any key issues that they may still need to meet prior to operating.


Fees can be charged for inspection of a mobile food van under the Local Government Act 1993. Please refer to Council's Fees and Charges schedule for more information. 



Other councils
It may be necessary to gain approval from other councils that you may wish to trade in. This includes street trading or operating on private land or public roads. A rule applies that the home Council of where the vehicle is garaged is responsible for making necessary inspections but when trading in other council areas they may also conduct inspections. The mobile food van needs to be inspected under operational conditions.

Development Applications
Council may require approval in the form of a development application for the garaging or maintaining of a mobile food vending vehicle if the premise is also used for storing food supplies and equipment connected to the food business operation. Should foods be manufactured from the home to sell in the van, this may also require development consent.

Private land
To operate on private land you may be required to gain development consent which includes owner’s permission. Zoning of the land will need to be checked to ensure permissibility.

A vehicle may be used to deliver food for sale to private land at the request of the owner or occupier.

If the provisions of subdivision 27A mobile food & drink outlets of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 are unable to be complied with, a development application will be required to carry out the activity on private land.

Public land
You may be required to get a section 68 approval and development consent with owner’s permission. Zoning of the land will need to be checked to ensure permissibility.

Special events
To operate at special events, you will be required to gain approval from the event organiser who is responsible for ensuring that the event has appropriate approvals for the event.

On a road
To use the vehicle for street vending, you may require a section 68 approval, development consent with owner’s permission and, depending on the road in which the street trading occurs, a Roads Act approval.

If Council has responsibility of the road then you will need to lodge a Section 138 “Use of Council Road” application with Council. Council may seek comments and/or objections from the Roads Maritime Services (previously RTA). If the road is classified you will need to obtain a Road Occupancy Licence (ROL) from the Roads Maritime Services.

These approvals are required to prevent traffic and safety problems which may occur during street trading. Generally only vehicles selling ice cream are permitted to trade on a road.


The proprietor of a mobile food vending vehicle will be required to notify Council of its existence by filling in a Food business update form. The food business may be required to train and appoint a food safety supervisor.

Please contact Council's Duty Planner for further information on planning requirements.