Mobile food vehicle | Brisbane City Council

Mobile food vehicle

Mobile food vehicles are a great way to take your food business on the road to your customers. The Food Act 2006 enables an operator of a mobile food vehicle to take the vehicle into any local government in Queensland. You only require one licence to operate.

A mobile food vehicle is defined as a vehicle propelled by a motor or a food vending machine. A mobile food vehicle cannot be a converted bicycle or push cart.

Mobile food vehicles do not include food transport vehicles to deliver food:

  • for catering, or
  • from a business to a retail premises for sale or home delivery (e.g. pizza delivery).

Find out about the Brisbane food trucks initiative.

When you need a licence

A mobile food business that conducts the following activities requires a licence from Brisbane City Council:

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

The type of mobile food vehicle you plan to use may influence the type of foods you can provide. For example, a pie van (smoko truck) handling food outside the van, may limit the foods you can provide. This is due to a higher chance of contamination to food preparation surfaces. Council may not permit making sandwiches from the smoko truck.

If you are a non-profit organisation, there may be different rules that apply.

When a licence is not required

Mobile food businesses that sell only the following do not require a licence:

  • coffee or tea
  • slushies
  • pre-packaged food.

Permitted locations

Markets and events

The best place for mobile food vehicles to operate is at organised markets and events.

Council parks

Operating an approved mobile food business in a park activates green spaces. Council encourages this operation. Find out more about operating a commercial activity in a park and how this can help grow your business.

Private property

Mobile vehicles can operate on private property in an itinerant way. This means arriving at work places, selling and then moving on. Mobile vehicles based permanently on private property are considered a restaurant under the City Plan. These vehicles may require planning approval. Find out the preferred locations and approvals required for a restaurant.

Other locations


Mobile food vehicles operating on the roadside or colonnaded area (columns support part of a building or roof) require an additional licence. The required licence is a roadside vending (standing vehicle licence).

Preparing food at other locations

If you prepare ingredients or food at another location, the preparation location must be licensed as a food manufacturer.

For example, if you want to use your home kitchen to bake cakes to sell, your home kitchen must have a licence. Find out more about getting a food licence for a home based food business.


As a general guide, for new mobile food vehicles, fees that may apply for the 2018-19 financial year include:

Type Fee
Food Business Design Application $380.85
Food Business Licence Application $770.30

These fees do not attract GST.

How to apply

The application process has a number of steps. You can complete them all online using the application for food business approvals online form.

Before submitting an application, review helpful hints about preparing an application and common application problems to avoid.

The food business licence roadmap (PDF - 61kb) follows two stages. Stage 1 is a design assessment and stage 2 is the food business licence assessment.

Stage 1: Design Assessment

Application for design assessment

  • you must lodge this application first (assessment takes 20 working days)
  • ensure you have design plans ready
  • then lodge a design assessment using the application for food business approvals online form (pay with Visa or MasterCard)
  • further requirements for a licenced kitchen are available on the Local Government Toolbox website. These are detailed in the design and fit-out guide for food businesses on the application process and assessment page
  • if you are taking over an existing food business with a licence, this design application will not be required. That is unless you are renovating or making changes to the fit-out.

Stage 2: Food Business Licence Assessment

Application for food business licence

  • after you receive design assessment approval and fit-out has started, you must submit an application for a food business licence (no more than 30 days before the desired start date of operation)
  • you can lodge the food business licence using the application for food business approvals online form (pay with Visa or MasterCard)
  • before you can start operating, an Environmental Health Officer will conduct a final site inspection
  • you will be issued the Food Business Licence when you receive approval for the completed fit-out.

Food Safety Program Accreditation

Food Safety Supervisor Notification

  • all licensable food businesses in Queensland must have a Food Safety Supervisor. You can nominate this person when you make your licence application using the application for food business approvals online form
  • otherwise you can nominate a Food Safety Supervisor by phoning the Business Hotline team on 133 BNE (133 263) within 30 days of the permit being issued
  • find out more about Food Safety Supervisors.

Alternatively, you can apply by completing the hard copy forms.

Application Assessment

Prior to Council issuing the food business licence, a full Eat Safe audit of the mobile food vehicle will be conducted. Find out more information about Eat Safe Brisbane.


To surrender a mobile food vehicle licence, complete the licence or permit surrender application online form.

More information

The Local Government Toolbox provides helpful tools and resources for mobile food vehicles.

To find out more information or to check your approval requirements:

14 November 2018