Food Truck Vending in Cambridge
Food trucks are an important and growing part of the Cambridge food businesses economy. Like farmers markets and open air festivals, food trucks offer new food businesses a relatively low-cost opportunity for testing menu items, building brand awareness, and growing a loyal customer base. Additionally, their “pop-up” style of operation introduces a playful element to public spaces that residents, workers, and visitors enjoy and appreciate as part of a high quality of life in Cambridge.
Where & How to Vend
Food truck operators can now do business in the City of Cambridge in a variety of ways:
- Seasonal vending at select public locations through the City of Cambridge Food Truck Pilot Program.
- Occasional one-time vending at Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department approved public locations. One-time vending events must be open to the public.
- Regular or one-time vending at private locations supported by a landlord agreement.
Permitting & Licensing
The following steps are required for food truck operators to secure the necessary permits and licenses for food truck vending in the City of Cambridge. It is recommended to move through the process in chronological order since later items (like permits) are dependent on earlier items (like business certificates).
Step 1: Identify, and get permission for, a vending location
- Seasonal vending at select public locations through the Food Truck Pilot: See related guidelines and a listing of available locations and shifts on the Food Truck Pilot application. Staff from the following City departments, and/or other City staff if the City Manager chooses to appoint others, will review applications for the Food Truck Pilot and approve the schedule of food trucks: CDD, Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking & Transportation, License Commission, and the City Manager's office.
- Regular or one-time vending at private locations supported by a landlord agreement (e.g. business or private parcel of land): Obtain a letter of permission from landlord of private property, noting the date, time, the property owner's contact information, and the name of the food truck.
Step 2: Protect and Certify Your Food Truck Business
- Obtain a Business Certificate from the municipality where your business is based (if based in City of Cambridge, see City Clerk’s Office)
- Obtain active Insurance (third party sources)
- Obtain ServSafe Certification (third party sources)
- Obtain a valid License or Permit for restaurant or commissary kitchen where food is prepared (see respective municipality regulations, if City of Cambridge, see Inspectional Services)
- Obtain valid Massachusetts vehicle registration (see MA Department of Motor Vehicles)
Step 3: Permit and License Your Truck
A: Schedule an Inspection (with both agencies below)
- Cambridge Inspectional Services: (617/349-6100)
- Cambridge Fire Department (617/349-4990)
*Note: Print out and bring the Peddler Truck Inspection form to your inspection
B: License and Permit your truck(s) for vending in Cambridge
- Obtain a State of Massachusetts Hawkers & Peddlers License (MA Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations)
- Seasonal vending at select public locations (Food Truck Pilot):
- One-time vending on either private or public property:
- Obtain a City of Cambridge One-Day Hawkers & Peddlers License (License Commission)
- Obtain a City of Cambridge Temporary Food Service Permit (Inspectional Services)
- Regular vending on private property (e.g. a business or private parcel of land):
City of Cambridge Food Truck Pilot Program
Frequently Asked Questions for Food Truck Owners and Operators
Frequently Asked Questions for Residents and Area Businesses
For More Information
If you are a food truck operator and would like to learn more about vending in Cambridge or a community member interested in learning more about food trucks, contact Christina DiLisio at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617/349-4601.