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Environmental Health

Food Safety Program: Mobile Food Facilities

Mobile food facilities may operate their business on private property (i.e. private parking lot, BART, etc.) or public right-of-ways (i.e. sidewalks, streets, or alleys). Mobile food facilities can be classified into five categories (pdf). All mobile food facilities must obtain approval from the Department of Public Health to operate.

Obtaining a Permit

Before you begin the application process, review the mobile food facility flowchart (pdf) for a better understanding of the different requirements based on the location of your mobile food facility. Refer to the Fee Schedule in the Helpful Links for information on application and plan check fees. Send all application forms and documents to:

  • Environmental Health Section
  • Attn: Food Safety Program
  • 1390 Market Street, Suite 210
  • San Francisco, CA 94102
Mobile Food Facilities (MFF) on Private Property

MFFs permitted on private property have the capacity to move around the city in an unlimited number of private locations without having to apply for an additional health permit, so long as the operator notifies the San Francisco Department of Public Health of each additional location. The Planning Department's Temporary Use Authorization Form must also be completed and approved for every additional private location, with some exceptions.

To obtain a MFF permit on private property, you must first obtain approval from the Planning Department. See below for more details. Following approval from the Planning Department, operators must apply for a Permit to Operate from the Department of Public Health. To obtain a Permit to Operate, complete the following forms and instructions. For more detailed instructions, see the Related Documents in the Helpful Links.

  1. Plan Check Application Form (pdf) - Submit the following items with the form:
    1. A list of all foods to be served with information on how, when and where each food item is prepared and cooked.
    2. Two copies of the schematic design.
    3. Plan check fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
  2. Health Permit Application Packet (pdf) - Includes the Health Permit Application Form, Fire Marshal Referral Form, Labor Law Checklist for San Francisco Business Owners, Declaration of Healthy and Safe Working Conditions, and Workers Compensation Declaration Form.
  3. Verification Forms (pdf) - Must complete the Commissary Verification, Restroom Verification and Private Property Owner Verification.
  4. Written Operational Procedure Form (pdf)
  5. Proof of Food Safety Certification
  6. Include a nonrefundable application fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

An approved application shall include San Francisco Fire Department clearance, a completed plan check and final inspection. At this stage, you must go to the City Tax Collector's Office to pay a pro-rated annual license fee. Upon proof of payment, you will receive the Health Permit to Operate and the yearly decal sticker.

MFFs on Public Right-of-Way

MFFs on public property must first complete a permit application with the Department of Public Works followed by a plan check approval process with the Department of Public Health. Approved MFFs on public property will receive a Certificate of Sanitation from the Department of Public Health. To receive the Certificate of Sanitation, you must complete the following forms and instructions. For more detailed instructions, see the Related Documents in the Helpful Links.

  1. Plan Check Application Form (pdf). Submit the following items with the form.
    1. A list of all foods to be served with information on how, when and where each food item is prepared and cooked.
    2. Two copies of the schematic design.
    3. Plan check fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
  2. MFF Health Permit Application (pdf) - This is to be completed and signed for record purposes only.
  3. Verification Forms (pdf) - Must complete the Commissary and Restroom Verification forms only. Not required to complete the private property verification for MFFs on public right-of-way.
  4. Written Operational Procedure Form (pdf)
  5. Proof of Food Safety Certification

Once your application materials have been received, reviewed and approved, you will need to make an appointment for a final inspection. The Department of Public Works will be notified that the MFF is approved and in compliance with the requirements. At this stage, you must go to the City Tax Collector's Office to pay a pro-rated annual license fee. Upon proof of payment, the operator will receive the SFDPH Certificate of Sanitation and the yearly decal. It is the responsibility of the operator to provide a copy of the Certificate of Sanitation to the Department of Public Works.

Related Agencies

Department of Public Works - Mobile food facilities operating on public right-of-ways are required to complete an application with the Department of Public Works before completing the plan check approval process with the Department of Public Health.

Planning Department - Mobile food facilities operating on private property are required to complete a Preliminary Zoning Screening Form. Once approved, an applicant must also complete the Temporary Use Application form. Once the Temporary Use Application form is approved, applicants can proceed with the application process with the Department of Public Health.

State Department of Housing and Community Development - If you are operating certain types of mobile food facilities (classification 4 and 5), appliances, plumbing and other structural items may require certification by the State Department of Housing and Community Development. Contact them at (916) 225-2501 for more information.