Licences for mobile food business

Mobile food vehicles are a great way to take your food business on the road to your customers. The best place for mobile food vehicles to operate is at organised markets and events, at parks, and on private property in an itinerant way, meaning arriving at work places, selling and then moving on. This would require a food business licence as a mobile food vehicle. You will require one licence per vehicle.

Have questions?

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133 BNE (133 263)

Types of mobile food business

If you intend to conduct any of the following food activities from a mobile food vehicle, you will need to comply with the Food Act 2006 to ensure that both the vehicle and your processes for food handling meet food safety requirements. These types of activities that will require a licence:

  • preparing and selling food from a motor vehicle
  • ice cream van
  • pie van (smoko truck), where unpackaged food is sold
  • mobile snack trucks
  • mobile food trailers
  • domestic water carriers
  • selling unpackaged food from a vending machine.

The Food Act 2006 enables an operator of a mobile food vehicle to take the vehicle into any local government in Queensland. 

This table provides information on what is or isn't considered a mobile food vehicle
What is considered 'mobile'Not defined as 'mobile'
  • A food vending machine
  • A vehicle where you can stand inside vehicle to prepare and serve food from
  • Bulk water carriers
  • Food transport vehicles to deliver food for catering
  • Food transport vehicles to deliver food from a business to a retail premises for sale or home delivery (e.g. pizza delivery)

Who needs a licence

This table provides details on when a licence is or is not needed
Licence neededLicence not needed

If you are preparing/handling food for retail sale, this includes:

  • preparing and selling food from a
    • motor vehicle
    • ice cream van
    • pie van (smoko truck selling unpackaged food)
    • mobile snack trucks
    • mobile food trailers
    • domestic water carriers
  • selling unpackaged food from a vending machine.

If you are only selling:

  • drinks such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, alcohol
  • slushies/flavoured ice/ice made onsite
  • pre-packaged food (prepared by a licenced business).

The type of mobile food vehicle you plan to use (and its sanitation and temperature control facilities) may influence the type of foods you can provide. This is due to a higher chance of contamination to food preparation surfaces. 

Charities and religious organisations who need a licence and are listed in Council's register of Type 1 organisations are exempt from the application fees.

Non-profits do not need a licence unless they are selling meals 12 or more times a year. A meal is food served with cutlery and requires seating. For example, a sausage sizzle is not considered a meal that requires seating and use of cutlery.

Download Council's register of type 1 organisations (Word 38.67kb)

Application fees for mobile food business licence

Your food business licence is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

This table provides information on mobile food vehicle licence fees
Based on size of area used for handling or storing  foodFees
Minor < 250m2$889.15

After that, your renewal fee will be based on the lowest Eat Safe star rating you receive within the renewal period. The higher your Eat Safe star rating, the higher discount you get on your renewal fees. Learn how to increase your star rating.

Before you apply

If you have already checked that you need this type of licence, these can help you with your application:

Gourmet food trucks

Once you are approved as a mobile food business, you may then apply for a gourmet food truck approval if you offer a creative food experience and meet the following criteria:

  • all cooking and serving activity must be conducted from within the confines of the gourmet food truck, not under awnings or marquees
  • offer high-quality freshly prepared food that offers a unique food experience
  • not serve coffee
  • have a distinctive visual presentation that displays a creative edge, with high quality finishes and/or innovative technology
  • have sustainable business operations to reduce impact on the environment, including waste reduction, energy efficient practices, and packaging that fits Council’s recycling requirements
  • dimensions must not exceed a length of eight metres and a width of 2.5 metres when the vehicle is self propelled. For food trailers, the maximum dimension is 10 metres, inclusive of the towing vehicle
  • must be self-sufficient (i.e. own power and water supply) and able to arrive fully-equipped at locations
  • must achieve and maintain a three stars or greater rating with Eat Safe Brisbane and have opted in to display their rating.


  • Have a profile on the Brisbane Food Trucks website
  • Have access to premium sites on Council land which require pre-booking
  • Have access to drive-up sites on Council road reserves with no pre-booking required

Approvals are issued on a per vehicle basis for a period of 12 months and must be renewed six weeks prior to the expiry date.

Fees for gourmet food truck applications

This table provides information on gourmet food truck fees
Stage 1: Design assessment$422.85
Stage 2: Application fee for consent (for businesses that have received design approval)$220.45
Occupation fee$177.45/month

Roadside 'standing vehicle' consent

Specific consent is required for any commercial activity on a Council road. This applies if you want to set up your vehicle as a 'standing vehicle' near roads or Council footpaths or verges, or near colonnaded area, for commercial or promotional purposes, using any of these:

  • stationary vehicle (e.g. a parked mobile food van, which has its own food business licence)
  • stall
  • booth
  • stand
  • tables and/or chairs.

You will need to apply for separate consent for each location you intend to operate from.

Note: if you get approval as a Gourmet Food Truck, you will already be granted access to specific Council locations. You will only require consent for locations you want to operate at that are not covered under the Brisbane Food Truck Initiative.

Fees for roadside 'standing vehicle' consent

This table provides information on roadside standing vehicle consent fees
Design requirement assessment$433.40
Standing stall application fee$357.65
Occupation fee(see below)

Successful applications pay an occupation fee based on the zone location and floor area used. This applies to each square metre of space occupied under the permit each year:

This table provides information on roadside standing vehicle occupation fees based on zone
ZoneLocationFee per m2
Zone ABrisbane City (not including Queen Street Mall or Valley Malls)$1345.50/m2
Zone B

Fortitude Valley and Spring Hill
Racecourse Road, Hamilton
Given Terrace, Paddington
Oxford Street, Bulimba
Jephson Street, High Street and Sherwood Road, Toowong
Park Road, Milton
Logan Road, Stones Corner
Kedron Brook Road, Wilston
Boundary Street, West End

Zone Cother areas$672.05/m2

How to apply for standing vehicle consent

Prepare supporting documents for your online application, including:

  • plans to scale showing dimensions and distances to neighbouring properties and street furniture (maximum A3)
  • photograph/plan of standing vehicle/stall/booth/stand/tables or chairs to be used
  • photograph of proposed area
  • information on how pedestrian safety will be managed
  • information on how customer queuing will be managed.

Apply with the online form and select the “Commercial activity on a Council road” application type to apply for standing vehicle/stall/booth/stand/tables/chairs consent. Note that your proposal does not need to relate to a food business.

Successful applicants then pay an occupation fee based on the area and use.

Applications for a consent will be subject to the following considerations

  • Vehicle must be located where it is unlikely for traffic hazards or interruption to free traffic movement to occur
  • If a site on a state controlled road, should have an approval letter from the Department of Main Roads
  • Any permit will be issued to a single individual at a single specified location only.

Applications will not be approved if

  • The site is located on a road to which abutting property is permitted access.
  • The site is near a school, shop, other approved standing vehicle or other approved outlet selling similar goods.
  • The use will create hazardous and/or nuisance situations.
  • The vehicle is located on a site where or at a time when standing of a vehicle would be unlawful.
  • The site is outside the Central Traffic Area and the vehicle cannot be located within the road reserve, at least 10 metres clear of the nearest traffic running lane and at least 50 metres clear of the nearest intersection.

Additional approvals to consider

In addition to your food business licence, you may need the following depending on your planned activities:

  • Commercial activities in a park
    If you are part of a market or event, the event organiser should have a permit for commercial activity in a park which already covers you. If you are operating at a park outside of any organised event, then you should apply to have your own permit for commercial activity in a park.
  • Roadside locations - State controlled road
    If you will set up your mobile food vehicle near a state controlled road, you should have an approval letter from the Department of Main Roads as part of your application for consent for Commercial activity on a Council road.
  • Liquor licence
    If you will be serving alcohol, you may need a liquor licence from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.

Frequently asked questions

I bought a mobile van from outside of Brisbane – can I operate it within Brisbane?

A mobile food business that has a food business licence with any local government in Queensland can operate anywhere across the state.

What do I need to operate at parks and markets?

Your mobile food business licence would already allow you to operate within approved markets and events.

If you are approved as a Gourmet Food Truck, you get additional access to premium sites on Council Land and drive-up sites on Council road reserves.

If you are not a Gourmet Food Truck, and you want to set up at a park outside of an organised event, you can apply for consent as commercial activity in a park.

Can I set up next to roads?

Yes, if you apply for a separate consent for commercial activity on a Council road, to set up as a 'standing vehicle' near roads or Council footpaths or verges, or near colonnaded areas.

You would need to apply for separate consent for each road that you intend to set up at.

What if I am preparing the food at another location?

If you prepare ingredients or food at another location, the preparation location must have a food business licence. For example, if you want to use your home kitchen to bake cakes to sell out of your mobile food vehicle, your home kitchen must have a food business licence as fixed premises.

What if I want to permanently set up my mobile food vehicle on private property?

A mobile food vehicle based permanently on private property is considered a “restaurant” under the City Plan and may require planning approval.

In this instance the food business would require a food business licence for a fixed premises.

Do I need a food safety program?

If you will be serving vulnerable customers at care facilities such as hospitals, child care, or aged care, then yes you would need an accredited food safety program.

If you will only be serving customers at markets or events, then no it is not mandatory.

Under the Food Act 2006, licensed food businesses required to have an accredited food safety program include:

  • off-site caterers – businesses that cater for functions, other than at their principle place of operation, such as charter boats
  • on-site caterers – wedding venues, function halls, hotels, clubs etc and you operate more than 11 occasions in any 12 month period and for 200 or more persons on each occasion
  • private hospitals, aged care facilities, day care facilities and other businesses that serve potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable people.

I did some training a while ago – what skills do I need for my food business?

We recommend you look at the 'I’m Alert' free online training modules. This will give you the basic skills or refresher training you need to establish safe food handling practices.

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