A plan review is part of getting your mobile food business up and running. You should submit your plan review application to the Office of Food Protection before installing new food equipment or making any changes to an already approved mobile food vending unit. You may be charged an extra fee if you begin installation or make changes before your plan review has been approved.
Mobile food vending units include trucks, trailer hitch units, pushcarts, stands, and foot peddlers. There is a different plan review process for stationary food businesses.
Anyone opening a mobile food business must submit a plan review for approval.
Where and when
You may submit the Mobile Food Business Plan Review Application in person or by mail.
Office of Food Protection
Philadelphia Department of Public Health
321 University Ave., 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (3 p.m.–4 p.m. by appointment only)
The standard plan review fee is $150 and the standard inspection fee is $190.
If you want to request an expedited review and inspection, bring your application and all required materials to the Office of Food Protection. There is an expediting fee of $380 in addition to the standard plan review and inspection fees. You must have all required materials and pay by cashier’s check, money order, or credit card before the review can begin. Your review and inspection will be completed within 10 business days.
For your plan review, you will provide general information about your business. Your application must also contain:
- Support facility information
Describing your base of operations, including its most recent inspection report and food license.
- Food supply information
Describing the prepared food suppliers you will use and any prepared food items (if applicable).
- Facility plan for mobile vending unit
Accurately scaled, showing all areas.
- Surface information
Describing the floors, walls, and ceiling and protections from airborne contaminants and vermin.
- Hand washing information
Showing availability of a hand washing station with a water supply and waste water collection container.
- Water supply information
Showing details of the water supply system, including any hoses and their connections, storage tank capacities, and backflow/back-siphonage installation.
- Waste water information
Showing waste water collection tank capacity and construction.
- Garbage and recycling information
Showing the number and type of waste containers and recycling method for cooking oil.
- Utensil and equipment washing information
Showing sinks, sanitizers, and sanitizer testing devices.
- Equipment information
Including the manufacturer and model for all food service equipment, along with a copy of the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Food safety certification
Including a copy of a City of Philadelphia Food Safety Certificate. (A food safety certified individual must be present at all hours of operation.)
- Food handling and menu information
Showing a complete menu and description of the foods to be handled, as well as details about the preparation and storage of any food.
After you have submitted your application, the Office of Food Protection will conduct a preliminary review of your application and mail or email (upon request) you a Plan Review Worksheet and Fee Assessment Letter within 30 business days. The worksheet will indicate if additional information is required.
After you submit the completed worksheet and the fee, the Department of Public Health will contact you within 30 business days.
If your application is missing information, you will be notified and have 30 business days in which to respond. If your application is approved, you will receive instructions on how to schedule an inspection. Most inspections can be scheduled within 10 business days.
Inspections take place at select public health offices, and must be scheduled in advance.
For the inspection, bring your:
- Photo identification.
- Vending unit proof of ownership.
- City of Philadelphia Food Safety Certificate. (Your food safety certified staff must attend the inspection and bring their photo identification as well.)
- Food purchase records for the last 30 days, if applicable.
- Copy of the food license for your support facility or a recent inspection report.
- If the proposed facility does not have prior approval or is new, the facility itself may require a separate inspection or application.
- If the support facility is outside the City of Philadelphia, you must provide both a copy of the food license and a recent inspection report.
Following your inspection, the Office of Food Protection will issue a License Eligibility Report and an Operation Eligibility Certificate. You can then contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections to apply for a Retail Food, Non-Permanent Location license.