Mobile Food Service Jobs

Everybody’s got to eat. Why not get a unique kind of cooking job? One of the hottest trends in food right now is cultural, gourmet, mobile, and delicious. It’s working as a mobile food vendor.



Mobile food vendors cook foods in a mobile unit like a truck, a pushcart, or a bus. Check out places like New York, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, or even Boulder, Colorado and you’ll find food vendors serving up delicious, flavorful meals. Think iced coffee, falafel, pot stickers, souvlaki, organic hamburgers, sushi, crepes, roasted chestnuts, gyros, breakfast sandwiches, kebobs, crepes, paninis, crab scrambles, or BBQ. The mobile market is being revolutionized.

Mobile food vendors travel around town and set up shop where they know they will find hungry clients. They visit businesses, schools, concerts, parks, ballgames, events, rush hour, even late night bar scenes. The ability to move locations, plus the benefit of not paying rent, keeps the costs minimal compared to a traditional restaurant that is stuck at one location.

If you’re a people person and can cook, then you might love to work as a mobile food cart vendor. The first steps are to find a food niche that people enjoy, fine-tune your recipes to perfection, and contact wholesale food distributors to lower supply costs. Next, visit your local health department and obtain a mobile food vendor permit. As a business serving food to the public, you and your mobile unit are subject to local health regulations and inspections.

The key ingredient is an efficient, functioning mobile food unit. A pushcart can cost around $7,000 and can be walked around parks or stationed on sidewalks. A food truck, which can cost up to $150,000, gives more cooking and advertising space, but is harder to park. Try to rent the unit at first to see if your mobile menu attracts a loyal clientele. Be sure the food truck comes with what you need to cook – steam pans, ovens, ice bins, storage cabinets, propane or electrical hook-ups, refrigerators, and stoves.

Every successful food vendor has an easily recognizable vehicle. Decorate it so it stands out in the crowd. Keep your truck in working condition – charge the batteries, clean the vehicle, change the propane, get rid of waste. Then get ready for the biggest challenge…finding a place to park.

Establish a route and schedule that works for you. It is key to visit the same places at the same time every day. Be a regular, familiar face that people rely on for beef kebobs or duck tacos. Use Facebook and Twitter to let people know where you’ll be each day. Once you set up your route, establish your clients, and find reliable parking places, you’re good to go.



In order to succeed, your made-to-order burritos or donuts need to be convenient, affordable, and high quality. Besides cooking, there are no formal educational requirements for this gig. You can make $21,000 to $39,000 per year on average. Of course if you really develop a savory niche, you could make more. Or if you happen to win the Street Vendor Project’s annual Vendy Award your business can truly flourish.

If you want your dabbling in the kitchen to become a career, then a mobile food vendor job is ideal. It is also a good idea to check out this food revolution on television shows like the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race or the Cooking Channel’s Food Truck Revolution.

Food is a must. Join the food truck craze and maybe you could be the next mobile food sensation.

Quick Facts About Mobile Food Concessions

Job Title: Food Truck Vendor, Mobile Food Vendor, Pushcart Vendor, Street Cart Vendor
Office: Mobile Kitchen
Description: Prepare a variety of foods in a mobile vehicle
Certifications/Education: No formal education necessary, Mobile food vendor permit, Health Department Certifications
Necessary Skills: Culinary Talent, People Person
Potential Employers: Self-Employed
Pay: $21,000 to $46,000 per year, pay depends on location, food, and quality

Helpful Links:
Vendy Awards
Street Vendor Project
Streetfood
National Restaurant Association
Great Food Truck Race

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