Mobile Vending

Office

Address
111 Soledad, Suite 1000
San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone
210.207.8780

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Mobile Vending Requirements

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Get a City Mobile Vending License

 

Mobile Vending inspections are done on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment.  Appointments may be made by calling 210-207-8853. Inspections will be conducted at a site designated by the vendor (must be in City of San Antonio limits and not residential property).

For a complete list of all mobile vending regulations, refer to City of San Antonio Ordinance Chapter 13

Background checks are only required for food vendors and food handlers vending frozen or refrigerated confections, including but not limited to ice cream cones, frozen ice cream novelties, raspas or paletas directly to consumers on a public street, sidewalk, or right of way.

  1. Request your background check at SAPD Records Unit at 214 W. Nueva (8 am - 4 pm.) The fees for local, state and national background checks are $59.25, only cash or money orders are accepted as payment. You will receive a response BY MAIL after the local and DPS background checks are completed (4 - 6 weeks.) This statement will remain valid for 90 days from the issue date. Metro Health cannot provide results over the phone.
  2. Bring your letter of clearance and your unit to the One Stop Center at 1901 S. Alamo for inspection.
  3. Once your unit has been inspected and approved by the City of San Antonio and you paid your mobile vending license fee, you may start vending in the City of San Antonio.
  4. Your FBI background check will take a minimum of 45 business days to clear. If the FBI background check shows you were not convicted of any sexual offense or related offense against a child, you will be mailed a final statement of clearance valid for two years from the date you filed your request for the background check. If the FBI background check shows you were convicted of one of these offenses, you will be notified and you will no longer be allowed to be a mobile food vendor in the City of San Antonio. If you also hold a mobile food vending license, your license also may be subject to revocation without reimbursement.
  5. If you hire or allow someone 17 years of age or older to vend under your permit, that person must first obtain a background check and statement of clearance as outlined above.
  6. Food handlers/vendors who are at least 10 years of age and under the age of 17 will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian to the SAPD Record Unit at 214 W. Nueva between 8 am and 4 pm to obtain an applicable background check. No fee will be charged for this service for minors. The results will be available immediately. A photo ID or birth certificate is required.

Please remember that you are required to carry your written statement of clearance from the SAPD on you at all times while vending. The Background Check letter must be renewed every two years.

After approval, your mobile vending sticker will be located:

  1. Inside the vehicle at the top of the passenger side windshield
  2. On an open or flat bed trailer above the license plate or brake light
  3. Next to the serving window of an enclosed trailer
  4. At the top right hand corner of a pushcart, bicycle or tricycle
  5. On the two-compartment sink on a Corn Roasting Unit
  • Mobile vendors in residential areas can only operate from 7 am to one half-hour after sunset. In the months of June, July and August, those units may extend their hours of operation to 10 pm.
  • All vehicles when stopped on City streets must vend from either curbside of the vehicle or the rear of the vehicle. No vending from the driver’s side will be allowed when stopped on City streets.
  • Hazard lights are required on the vehicle visible from the front and rear of the unit, and must be on when stopped to vend.
  • Mobile vending units that set up at a specific location are not allowed to have awnings, tables or chairs at that location.
  • The mobile food-vending unit must turn off all music and recorded messages when stationary except when stopped at controlled intersections.
  • No person who is convicted of a sex offense or an offense against a child can work in a mobile food-vending unit. The persons working in the unit must carry with them a letter from the San Antonio Police Department that they have submitted to and been cleared of a background check for these offenses.
Specific requirements by type of operation

Foot Peddler: Individuals selling pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods and drinks on foot. Foot peddlers vending whole, farm fresh products are no longer required to obtain a foot peddlers permit.

Simple Sno-cone – Individuals selling sno-cones from a vehicle or pushcart where the ice and syrups are purchased from an approved, licensed food operation and the individual puts the two items together in their unit. No grinding of ice or reconstituting of syrups is allowed. The requirements for the unit are listed below.

  • Unit is a truck with a cover over the back, van, station wagon or hatchback, i.e. facility where persons can vend from the rear of the vehicle in a clean environment. Regular passenger cars cannot be licensed. Pushcarts must have an umbrella.
  • A gravity feed hand wash facility is provided in the unit with water, soap and paper towels.
  • Ice chests (for sodas and ice) that are in good repair, clean, easily cleanable and non-absorbent.
  • If shelving is provided, it must be easily cleanable and non-absorbent.

Ice Cream Vendor: Individuals selling pre-packaged novelty ice cream from a vehicle or pushcart. The requirements for the unit are listed below.

  • Unit is a truck with a cover over the back, van, station wagon or hatchback, i.e. facility where persons can vend from the rear of the vehicle in a clean environment. Regular passenger cars cannot be licensed.
  • Mechanical freezer utilizing electricity or dry ice to maintain ice cream in frozen state is provided and in good repair.
  • If shelving is provided, it must be easily cleanable and non-absorbent.
  • Open food handling (such as nachos, frito pies, grinding ice, or bulk pickles) are NOT allowed to be made inside vehicle.

Shrimp/Whole Fish Vendor: Individuals selling whole shrimp or fish from a vehicle. The requirements for the unit are listed below.

  • Unit is a closed vehicle, i.e. truck with camper shell, van, hatchback or station wagon.
  • Gravity feet hand washing station is provided with water, soap and paper towels
  • Clean, easily cleanable, self-draining ice chests in good condition with plenty ice for shrimp or fish.
  • If utensils (scoop) are provided, three five-gallon containers provided to wash, rinse and sanitize. Sanitizer provided on unit.
  • If shelving is provided, it must be easily cleanable and non-absorbent.

Sandwich Truck: Vehicle or pushcart selling pre-packaged, potentially hazardous foods and drinks. The requirements for the unit are listed below.

  • All potentially hazardous and non-potentially hazardous foods and drinks are pre-packaged.
  • Potentially hazardous foods are prepared in a licensed commissary and properly labeled (see commissary details below).
  • Unit has facilities to maintain potentially hazardous foods below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Unit has facilities to maintain potentially hazardous foods at 135F or above.
  • Unit is smooth, easily cleanable construction in good repair.
  • Garbage can provided for customers to discard trash when they stop.

Kitchen On Wheels: Vehicle or trailer that is selling approved open food products. Requirements are:

  • Enclosed room with walls, floors and ceilings that are smooth, easily cleanable, and non-absorbent.
  • Doors are tight-fitting and self-closing.
  • Windows that can open and have minimum 16 mesh per inch screening wire to protect from insects and rodents.
  • A three-compartment sink with hot and cold running water available to all three compartments. All three compartments are large enough to immerse largest piece of equipment for washing, rinsing and sanitizing.
  • Separate hand washing sink with hot and cold running water by mixer faucet and properly plumbed to waste water tank.
  • Unit has a minimum ten gallon water heater or an instantaneous (on demand) water heater.
  • If you have a ten gallon water heater, then the unit should have minimum a 15-gallon fresh water tank. If you have an instantaneous water heater, then the unit should have minimum 25-gallon fresh water tank.
  • Unit has minimum 30-gallon wastewater holding tank. In all cases, the wastewater tank must be 15% larger than the total volume of fresh water (hot and cold together).

Waste Water Tank Equation for any size fresh water tank

    25 gallons 30 gallons .15 x fresh water tank size = additional amount    
    additional amount + fresh water tank size = waste tank size

    For Example: for A 36 gallon fresh water tank    
    .15 x 36 =5.4
    5.4 + 36 = 41.40 gallons waste tank    
    30 gallons 34.5 gallons
    35 gallons 40.25 gallons    
    40 gallons 46 gallons    
    45 gallons 51.75 gallons
  • Facilities provided to maintain hot holding temperatures of 135F.
  • Facilities provided to maintain cold holding at 41F or below.
  • Facilities provided to reheat potentially hazardous foods to 165F.
  • All equipment is smooth, easily cleanable, and non-absorbent.
  • Unit is constructed of corrosion-resistant, durable materials.
  • Liquid waste servicing connection is of different size than water connection.
  • Liquid waste servicing connection is lower than water inlet.
  • Potable water inlet is equipped with a transition connection of size and type that will prevent its use for any other service.
  • Solid waste storage facilities provided.
  • Adequate counter and/or worktables are provided.
  • Equipment is clean and in good repair.
  • Single Service items are used and stored properly.
  • Ice is stored in proper facility and handled properly.
  • Operates from an approved Commissary (see commissary details below).

Hot Dog or Sausage Pushcart: Pushcart that has hot dog or sausage, non-potentially hazardous foods and assorted condiments. Requirements are:

  • Operates from an approved Commissary (see commissary details below).
  • Unit has a waterproof roof over food and drink area.
  • Unit has a two-compartment sink with hot and cold running water by mixer faucet.
  • Unit has sufficient fresh water for daily operation.
  • Unit has wastewater-holding tank that is 15% larger than water holding tank.
  • Unit is smooth, easily cleanable, non-absorbent construction.

Corn Roaster: These units are considered as pushcarts and must meet these requirements:

  • Unit has waterproof roof over the food and drink area.
  • Operates from an approved Commissary (see commissary details below).
  • Unit has a two-compartment sink with hot and cold running water by mixer faucet. (Note: cold water holding tank and pipes need to be insulated to provide cool water when corn burner is operable).
  • Unit has sufficient fresh water for daily operation.
  • Unit has wastewater-holding tank that is 15% larger than water holding tank.
  • Unit is smooth, easily cleanable, non-absorbent construction.

Commissary Requirement: Pushcarts that distribute hot dogs or sausage, sandwich trucks and kitchen on wheels units must operate from an approved commissary. This commissary is a licensed food establishment that fully meets the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER), and has a current license. The unit must be returned to that commissary daily for replenishing of supplies, and servicing of the mobile vending unit.

The Commissary servicing Kitchen on Wheels must have the following facilities in addition to the licensed kitchen:

  • Overhead protection for supplying, cleaning and servicing the mobile unit.
  • Areas for flushing and cleaning liquid waste storage facility on mobile unit that is separate from water servicing area.
  • Surface of servicing area is constructed of smooth, non-absorbent material.
  • Time/date device to record when a mobile vending unit is serviced.

There are currently seven approved commissaries in San Antonio that can issue Notarized Commissary Letters that will be honored by Metro Health. Those facilities are listed:

  • B & S Mobile Catering and Vending Supplies · 2805 Commercial Ave 78221 · 210.924.5323
  • Best Foods of San Antonio · 5312 Rittiman Road 78218 · 210.662.7204
  • Pinky’s Shaved Ice · 1301 E. Elmira St. 78212· 210.385.6209
  • Myrna’s Catering · 161 Ward Ave. 78223 · 210.609.8585
  • TBS Foods · 1910 Arvie 78253 · 210.767.2222
  • Potranco Commissary · 12135 FM 1957 / 78253 · 210.858.8124
  • Cheesy Jane's · 4200 Broadway @Hildebrand 78209 · 210.826.0800
    Mission Trail Mobile Vendor, Waste Management & Services . 3500 Orkney Ave 78223 . 210.928.8285

To set up your own commissary, call 3-1-1.

To obtain a mobile vending license, the vendor must take the unit to the Development Services Center at 1901 S. Alamo and request to purchase a mobile vending license. A Sanitarian will inspect your unit and tell you what you need if the unit does not meet standards. If you need a Commissary letter, bring the completed document with you when you are ready for inspection. You will be asked for your driver’s license and background check letter.

When approved, you will pay for your license, and receive a receipt that you may use to operate your unit while you are waiting for the computer-generated license to be mailed to you. A sticker will be placed on your unit noting the date when your license expires.

With this license you may move through the public streets of San Antonio or Bexar County and distribute the foods that your license allows. If you want to operate in any of the incorporated cities in Bexar County, you need to check with the authorities in those cities to see what they require. Listed below are additional parking and other restrictions on your unit:

  • Parking a mobile vending unit on private property is permitted with written, notarized, permission from the owner and toilet facilities are available and convenient. The property must be commercially zoned and you must move the unit daily.
  • When you are parked on a commercial property, you may not vend within 300 feet of any licensed food establishment in any direction unless you have written, notarized permission to do so from all food license holders. Failure to receive permission from any food license holder will deny you permission to vend from that location, even if you have the location owner’s permission.
  • You may not vend from the mobile vending unit within 300 feet of elementary, middle or high school grounds from 1 hour before school starts, during the time school is in session, and not vend until 1 hour after school is out.
  • All food vending from a mobile food vending unit must be done ON THE VEHICLE. It is not permitted to remove food items from the vehicle to sell from a table under a free standing canopy. Mobile food vendors that sell whole, uncut produce are exempt from this rule.
  • Parking your mobile vending unit is prohibited within 50 feet of an intersection.
  • Pushcarts may not be operated in the street. Mobile vending units may not be operated in the “Downtown Business District” unless you have a special permit issued by the Downtown Operations Department. Their phone number is 210.207.3677.
  • If you were required to have a commissary, you are to return the unit to that location every day you operate for servicing and cleaning.

Renewing Your License: Pushcart vendors selling potentially hazardous foods, sandwich trucks, and Kitchen on Wheel units must have a new commissary letter prepared and notarized prior to license renewal. These vendors will need to bring the unit, fully functional, with their commissary letter and a valid driver's license to the Development Services Center at 1901 S. Alamo. You will be inspected, and if the unit meets all the standards, your new receipt will be issued. Within a month, your computer generated license should arrive. If you do not receive this license, call 3-1-1. Mobile Food Vendors must call 210 207-8410 to schedule a fire inspection and 3-1-1 to schedule a health inspection 

Questions? Call 3-1-1.