Food Carts (Mobile Food Units)
All food carts (called mobile food units) must be licensed and pass a health inspection prior to construction or operation. This applies to any portable vehicle where food is prepared, sold and/or dispensed to a consumer. Mobile food units include:
- Drive-through espresso carts
- Hotdog carts
- Full-service trailers
You must get a plan review and food service license before:
- Opening a new food cart
- Extensively remodeling a mobile food unit
- Reinstating a mobile food unit that been out of service for 12 consecutive months
You must also notify us when:
- Your menu changes
- Your location or route changes
- Changing ownership
Good to Know
Prior to receiving your license from us, there may be other agencies from which you will be required to obtain approvals. These include, but are not limited to:
- Planning (zoning)
- Building codes (structural, electrical, plumbing, prefabricated structures)
- Fire marshal
- City or county authorities
Food handler cards are required for all persons working in a mobile food unit or base of operation. You can take the test online.
The mobile food unit must:
- Be a vehicle and not require a special permit from the Oregon Department of Transportation to be moved.
- Be on wheels and have the ability to be mobile at all times during operation and have no permanent connection to any utility service (including water, sewer, or electrical).
- Include operations and equipment that are all integral to the unit.
Refer to the plan review packet for additional requirements.
Get a License
If you are opening, remodeling or reinstating a mobile food unit:
You must first obtain a plan review. Submit to Multnomah County Environmental Health:
- A completed plan review application packet
- Detailed plans of the unit
- The plan review fee payment
You must also obtain and pass any other required inspections from local authorities.
Expect to receive a response within 10 business days. After your plan has been approved, you may begin construction. You may then submit your mobile unit license application and fee.
Once construction is complete, call us to arrange a pre-opening inspection. This can usually be scheduled 1 week after you call. You must receive and pass the Health Department pre-opening inspection before you can open.
After a food service license has been acquired, the restaurant will receive its first inspection within a few weeks.
License, Classes I, II, III $370
License, Class IV $425
Plan Review $405
Plan Review Rush $1,215
Commissary servicing mobile units $340
Licenses are good for one calendar year. Renew your license by paying the license fee by January 1 of each year.