Mobile Food Vendor Permit

This information is a work in progress and may be subject to changes.

The Town is pleased to announce that the fee structure for a 2020 Mobile Food Vendor permit remains the same as it was in 2019. One fee covers permits by the Board of Health, Fire Department and the Select Board. 

Mobile food vendors who were approved by the Board of Health in 2019 to be a food vendor in Needham have an even more streamlined application process for 2020 by skipping the Physical Plan and Specification Review form (unless there have been modifications or changes in your food vehicle).

There are three departments involved in the permitting of Mobile Food Vendors:

  1. Select Board (administration and final permit) 
  2. Health Department (food plan review and inspection of vehicle) 
  3. Fire Department (inspection of vehicle) 

Mobile Food Vendors invited to serve at a private residence/party are not subject to permitting by the Select Board, Health Department or Fire Department - at this time.

Step 1:

Read the Board of Selectmen Mobile Food Vendor Policy (PDF) to learn about the various options for Mobile Food Vendor permits.

Currently, there are four types of Mobile Food Vendor Permits: 

  1. Public Right of Way (seasonal or one day on authorized public ways); 
  2. School Buildings, Parking Lots and Adjacent Fields (requires invitation by a person or organization with a valid permit to use the school parking lot or adjacent play areas/fields); 
  3. Public Parks and Adjacent Parking Lots by Invitation of Permitted Organizations (requires invitation by person or organization with a valid permit for use of the park or any portion thereof)
  4. Public Parks and Adjacent Parking Lots by Direct Permit (managed through Office ofthe Town Manager for specific locations, as described on Appendix 4 of the Select Board’s Policy).

Mobile Food Vendors having already secured a Seasonal permit within the current year may also apply for one day special event or Direct Permit. The fee for permitting the additional days would be limited to the nominal permit fee. Additional inspections from the Health and Fire Departments would not be needed.

Step 2.

Complete the online application. Additionally, there are attachments that are required by the Select Board, Health Department and Fire Department in order to complete the Mobile Food Vendor process. These attachments can be uploaded at the time of form submission. We strongly advise you to print out the attachment checklist and prepare them for uploading at the time of your application. For questions, call (781) 455-7940 extension 220.

Step 3.

Contact the Public Health Department to schedule your vehicle inspection, which typically needs two weeks notice to schedule. The Public Health Department will try to schedule your inspection in a timely manner, but be aware that it could take up to 30 days. Call (781) 455-7940 extension 220 or 211.  

Trans Fat Ban

: The Needham Board of Health has a trans fat regulation. "No food service establishment, vending machine, or mobile food vendor shall store, prepare, distribute, hold for service, or serve any food or beverage containing artificial trans fat in the Town of Needham". View the full text of the regulation (PDF).

Step 4.

Download Fire Prevention Form FP-006 (PDF) to complete and bring with you for your vehicle’s Fire Inspection. Clearly state the type of fuel, number of tanks and pounds on the form. Tanks that have not had an inspection within the last 12 months will require a Fire Department Inspection.

Contact the Fire Department for an inspection - this can arrange to be done at the same time as the Health Department Inspection. Call (781) 455-7580.

Step 5.

Once you have provided all of the required documentation and have had successful Public Health and Fire Department inspections, your final permit will be issued from the Select Board’s office.