Food truck or cart

Learn what you need to know to open a food truck or cart business in Minneapolis.

Create a plan

Learn the steps needed to begin your business.

Research the process

Planning, launching and running a business is a lot of work. Review the necessary steps required to start a business.

View the 10 steps to start your business

Connect with a small business consultant

Building a relationship with a small business consultant can be a crucial step in your journey as an entrepreneur. The Minneapolis Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) is able to connect you to business training, support and advice for opening your business. 

See if you qualify for the Small Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP)

Write a business plan

Starting a business can be expensive. You will need to have enough money to run your business for at least the first several months without relying on a profit. Using calculations from your business plan, determine how much capital you will need to start to ensure your business will start and run successfully.

Learn how to build a better business plan

Secure financing for your business

Connect with a lender from a community bank, credit union or community development financial institution.

Determine if you qualify for any of the City’s financing resources

Lenders will want to see that you have some initial capital invested in your business before underwriting a loan.

See business support programs from the City

Prepare your space

Learn the requirements of your food or truck space to properly operate your business.

Visit the Minneapolis Development Review Customer Service Center

Meet a Development Coordinator (DC) who will provide ongoing guidance on all regulatory requirements for opening your restaurant in Minneapolis.

Learn more about Minneapolis Development Review services

Decide what kind of mobile food unit you need

Food trucks and carts have different requirements for the types of food that can be served and where they can operate in the City of Minneapolis.

Note: To operate in Minneapolis, mobile food vendors must use a facility located within the City.

Learn the City food truck and food cart requirements

Purchase your vehicle and equipment

Review the vehicle plan standards on the business license application for the requirements of a mobile food vehicle. 

Read the food truck vehicle standards

If you plan to do remodeling or conversion of an existing vehicle to a mobile food unit, you must submit a plan review and receive approval from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) before you begin construction. 

Read the MDH mobile food unit requirements

Register your business

All businesses in Minnesota must be registered with the Secretary of State. Make sure you follow every step so your business is registered properly.

Verify your business name

You can use the Secretary of State Online Business Services page to check name availability. 

Check business name availability

Choose a business structure

Decide what type of business structure is right for your business. 

Organize your business

Register your business with the MN Secretary of State

Businesses must register with the State of Minnesota:

  • Limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • Corporations
  • Nonprofits
  • Limited Partnerships

Register your business

File a Certificate of Assumed Name

You will need to file a Certificate of Assumed Name if you will be using a business name other than:

  • Your given name
  • The names of your partners
  • The officially registered name of your LLC or corporation

See the types of Minnesota businesses

Apply for a MN Tax ID and a Federal Employer ID Number

Before you begin withholding state taxes, you must register for a Minnesota tax ID number. If you fail to register prior to withholding Minnesota taxes, you may be subject to a $100 penalty. A Minnesota Tax ID and a Federal Employer ID Number are used to identify your business. If you are a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your Social Security Number instead. 

Register for a Minnesota tax ID and a Federal employer ID number

Research the insurance you will need

New businesses often need insurance, such as:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Liability
  • Disability insurance

If you will have employees besides yourself and members of your immediate family, you need workers compensation insurance. Your policy number is required to complete your business license application. If you register your business before choosing a final location, you will have to update your registration with the new address.

Read about required insurance

Get your license

Review the steps to receive and maintain a license.

Meet with your Development Coordinator

Your business cannot open, operate or serve the public prior to receiving your business license. Meet with a Development Coordinator at the Minneapolis Development Review Customer Service Center to go over the requirements for the business license type you will need.

Review the business license application for your business type

There are different license applications for food truck, limited food truck, and food cart. 

View the food truck and cart requirements

Complete Food Plan Review application

All new food businesses need a food plan review approved by the City. 

Complete a Food Plan Review application

Prepare for site and vehicle plan review

You will need to draw out your site plan for a food cart and floor plan for a food truck. Photos may also be needed.

Check the business license application for details

If you are found operating without a license, your food sales will be immediately suspended. Your equipment may be impounded and a citation may be issued.

Gather documents you will need for your license application

The application may require documents, such as:

  • A proposed menu
  • A floor plan for your space
  • Your food plan review

Submit all required documents and fees to your Development Coordinator

Upon document submittal, your Development Coordinator will forward your documents to the appropriate City departments for review and approval. They will be your main point of contact throughout the regulatory process.

Schedule final environmental health inspection

A final inspection will be required prior to approval of the permit to operate. Call 311 or 612-673-3000 and request a “Food Safety Call Back Request.”

Upon document submittal, your Development Coordinator will forward your documents to the appropriate City departments for review and approval.

Obtain a MNDOT Number

Your food truck must have a vehicle inspection by a mechanic that is certified to issue a DOT number.

Additional information

Review and consider all requirements when starting your business.

Food truck operation

Review the map of the public streets you are able to operate on within the City of Minneapolis. 

Approved Mobile Food Vehicle Vendor locations

Food cart operation

You are only allowed to operate at pre-approved locations on commercial corridors.

Contact Business Licensing at 612-673-2080 for a list of approved locations.

If you plan to operate on private property/parking lot, you will need written consent from the property owner for your license application.

Employee hiring

Be sure to follow all wage and employment guidelines. 

Customer base expansion

Creating a marketing plan is a great first step to identify who your potential customers are and how to connect with them. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of resources to help you think through what you should include in your marketing plan. 

Get marketing and sales tips

Bus lane use

You will need to obtain a right of way permit. 

See how to apply for a right of way permit

Changes to your business

To add a piece of equipment or additional seating to your business, meet with your Development Coordinator. You may need to:

  • Update your SAC determination
  • Submit a new food plan
  • Get an additional license

Call 311 if you have questions. They will connect you with the right person at the City.

Contact 311

Connect with the Minnesota Food Truck Association

Find networking opportunities and more tips on how to successfully run your food truck. 

See the MN Food Truck Association resources

After opening

Review the steps you need to complete once your business is open and running.

Post all required posters and permits

Your business license, occupant load, and required state labor law permits and posters need to be posted in your business. 

Download free posters

Mark your calendar

Schedule equipment maintenance and set reminders to renew your permits and licenses as needed.

Renew your business license

Your business license must be renewed annually.

View the City of Minneapolis Business Licensing Renewal Process video

Pay pollution control annual billing

Your business is required to pay an annual fee for any equipment that has an impact on the environment. 

Pollution Control Annual Registration

Be prepared for health inspections

Your first routine inspection will be scheduled within 60 days of opening. Inspectors will arrive unannounced. Be sure you are always following food safety practices by regularly completing a self-inspection. 

Lookup a health inspection report

Prepare and pay your local, state, and federal taxes

Businesses must meet federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. Your business structure and location will influence taxes your business has to pay.

Learn more about business taxes

Expand your business

The City offers financing that can be used to help you cover costs of expansion, such as equipment. If you plan to expand, make sure to connect with your Development Coordinator who can guide you through any regulatory steps.

Contact us

Small Business Team

Community Planning & Economic Development

Phone

612-673-2499

Address

Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415