What kind of cart should I get?
Knowing your budget and menu in advance will help you choose a food cart that's right for you. First, decide what you will serve. Your menu will determine which class your cart should be.
Here’s a quick overview of what you can serve under each class. See the plan review packet for a complete list of requirements.
Class 1 - Pre-packaged sandwiches, non-perishable sealed beverages, no ice soda without ice, canned and bottled beverages. Example: pre-wrapped hot dogs or sandwiches
Class 2 - Unpackaged food items, but cannot assemble, prepare, cook or warm any foods. Example: hot food items held in warmers that were prepared at an approved commissary.
Class 3 - Can prepare and serve a full menu with the exception of raw meat and eggs. Example: burritos or bento made with pre-cooked meat.
Class 4 - Full menu with no special processes. Examples: Sushi, hamburgers, Thai food.
You may also need . . .
In addition to your cart, there may be other services and specialized equipment you’ll need depending on its class. See the plan review packet for details. Here are the major ones:
Commissaries are commercial kitchens that you may need to have in addition to your cart. This is where you will cook and prepare food, and clean utensils and equipment. Unless your food cart has a 3-compartment sink or dishwasher, you will need a licensed commissary.
You will need a warehouse if you don’t have enough room to store your equipment and food in the cart. You can’t store food in your house.
If your cart has a sink, the wastewater must be disposed of at an approved disposal site. Never drain your wastewater into the street or parking lot! It’s against the law and you’ll get a big fine.
Where will you go? Your cart must have access to a nearby restroom with a proper handwashing sink. You can ask a nearby business to sign an agreement letting you use theirs.
Thinking of buying a used cart?
Call or email us first. We can save you time by telling you whether or not it meets code. Not all carts do, and if you buy one that isn’t you could be stuck paying a lot of money to modify it.
Get a license
Got it all figured out? When you're ready to apply for your license, you'll start by going through the plan review process»
Multnomah County Environmental Health
847 NE 19th Ave, Ste 350
Portland, Oregon (Map)
Business hours: Monday-Friday, 8am - 4:30pm