How to Become a Steet Food Vendor in Los Angeles

It's hard to pass a street corner without seeing those street food vendors in Los Angeles. From hot dogs to tacos and barbecue, you'll be in good company when you start your street food vending business. Spend your days cooking savory dishes while enjoying the balmy L.A. weather and meeting new people, all the while raking in the dough. Before you strike out on your new venture, there are a few things that you need to know about becoming a Los Angeles street food vendor.

  1. Here it comes, the red tape. The bureaucracy. Before you join the throngs of street food vendors competing for the appetites of pedestrians all over the city, you'll have to pay your dues, both literally and figuratively.
  2. The first step is acquire a business license and tax certificate. As a new vendor, you are required to be a registered business and to collect tax on all products sold. You can get your new license at the Office of Finance. After obtaining this license, you will have to meet zoning requirements. Determine whether your intended location permits your type of business, and what regulations need to be followed. You can get zoning information at the City Planning Department.
  3. The next hurdle that you will have to clear is the County of Los Angeles requirements. If your business uses a name other than your own, you will be required to file a Fictitious Name certificate, or a DBA (Doing Business As) certificate. Your local Business Name Filing and Registration office will be able to assist you with this. The fee for the first fictitious name is $10 and $2 for each additional name. Next, you will be required to obtain a Public Health Operating License. This is required of any establishment that deals in the sale of food, beverage or ice for public consumption.
  4. The next step on your journey to becoming a bona fide street food vendor in Los Angeles is to fulfill the state's requirements. The State of California requires that all vendors must file state income taxes. These forms are available through the Franchise Tax Board in Burbank. All sellers are required to collect sales tax and to report them quarterly or annually.
  5. Finally, after much paperwork and preparation, you're one step closer to starting your own street food vending business in Los Angeles. Scout out your location, fire up the grill and watch the profits roll in.


Office of Finance, Tax Registration Certificate, 200 N. Spring St. Room 101, Los Angeles, CA 90012. (213) 473-5901

Planning Department, Los Angeles Office, 201 North Figueroa Street, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012. (866) 452-2489

Business Name Filing and Registration, 12400 East Imperial Highway, Room 1007, Norwalk, CA 90650. (800) 815-2666

Health Department/Environmental Health, Food & Milk Program, 5050 Commerce Drive, Baldwin Park, CA 91706. (626) 430-5200  

Franchise Tax Board, 333 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Room 200, Burbank, CA 91502-1170. (800) 852-5711


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