Guidance for mobile caterers and market traders

Mobile catering involves using catering vehicles, marquees, stalls and other temporary structures for food preparation and serving food (including drinks).

Mobile caterers operate on land owned by the council or privately owned land on a temporary or regular basis.

Locations include: street/public highway, markets, community events, retail parks, car parks, fairs, parks and green spaces, outdoor shows, charitable events, established/permanent venues, sporting and entertainment venues, school events, music festivals and private functions.

Your responsibilities

As a mobile caterer you must ensure that the food you provide does not become contaminated during storage or preparation as this can cause food poisoning.

Setting up a mobile business

In order to set up a mobile business in Liverpool you will need to:

1. Obtain a street trading licence

You need to apply for a street trading licence or consent if you are going to sell goods or food in any street, or any public area within 10 metres of the street. 

2. Register your food business

Before you register your food business, please note:

Where a mobile catering vehicle or unit is kept or stored overnight at property within Liverpool, it is that address that must be registered with Liverpool City Council.

If the vehicle or unit is kept or stored overnight at a property outside Liverpool, then you must register that address with the relevant local authority for that area.

This is regardless of whether you are trading in Liverpool or another local authority area.

3. Obtain a premises licence

You need a premises licence if you are planning to serve hot food or hot drinks between 11pm and 5am or if you intend to sell alcohol.

4. Check if you need planning permission

You may need planning permission if you do not keep the vehicle at your own property or if you intend to use your property for the preparation of food as part of the catering business.

5. Comply with all the relevant food hygiene and safety legislation

You should operate in accordance with the standards specified in The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) national guidance for outdoor and mobile catering.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) website also has useful information about starting a catering business.

6. Comply with all relevant health and safety legislation

You can find a wealth of information on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.