Mobile food vendors have grown in popularity and have become a routine attraction at special events and local venues. Our goal is to ensure these operations are conducted safely to ensure the continued operation of the business while reducing potential hazards that may threaten public safety. Routine inspections will be conducted for mobile food vendors to identify and eliminate basic fire hazards and educate vendors on potential dangers while promoting a safe and livable community.
Effective May 1, 2023, a Category “A” Mobile Food Vending Unit no longer requires an operational permit from the North Charleston Fire Department; however, you will still need to obtain a business license from the City.
Mobile Food Vending Units classified as Category “A” found operating with a generator, propane, natural gas, or other cooking operations will not be able to operate within the City until a proper operational permit is obtained.
Category of Mobile Food Vendors:
|A||Mobile Food Vendors operating from a cart, trailer, vehicle, or similar who are not cooking or warming food and do not utilize any portable power, propane, or natural gas.|
|B||Mobile Food Vendors operating from a cart, trailer, vehicle, or similar who only warm or reheat food and/or utilize portable power or fuel systems.|
|C||Mobile Food Vendors who conduct Mobile Food Preparation and cook food (produces grease-laden vapors) and/or portable power or fuel systems.|
Mobile food vendor permits are authorized for one calendar year and will expire on April 30 of each year. The permit must be renewed every year to continue operating in the City of North Charleston.
New Operational Permits
Mobile food vendors who want to operate in the City of North Charleston should complete a Mobile Food Vendor (MFV) Fire Permit Application.
Part One of the MVF Fire Permit Application requests details regarding the mobile food operation and contact information.
Part Two of the MVF Fire Permit Application includes attaching the required documents.
Required documents include:
- City of North Charleston Business License
- DHEC Inspection Documentation
- Professional Hood Cleaning Report (if equipped)
- Hood Suppression Semi-annual Inspection or Maintenance Report (if equipped)
- Fire extinguisher annual maintenance documentation
- Photos of all exterior sides of the vehicle
- Photos of the interior cooking area
- Mobile Food Vending Pre-Check List 2023 – 2024
- LP-Gas certification paperwork (Annual Inspection)
Operational permits will expire on April 30 of each year and may be revoked prior to expiration for a fire code violation. The mobile food truck operator is responsible for renewing the permit before the expiration date. To renew, follow the same process as a new application by completing the fire permit application for Mobile Food Vendors online at the website listed below and attaching the requested documentation for renewal to the online application.
Only two documents must be submitted for an application renewal, the City of North Charleston Business License and the completed self-survey. The Fire Inspector will check all other Inspection, testing, and maintenance documents during the inspection. Improper or missing documents will result in a failed inspection.
Once the application is complete and submitted, the MFV application will be processed within ten business days. The MFV applicant will be contacted to schedule a final inspection and receive the MFV fire permit decal. All Mobile Food Vending Unit inspections will be conducted at City Hall, 2500 City Hall Lane, by appointment only.