Food Trucks & Mobile Food Vendors
Urbana has a long-standing history of encouraging and promoting business, including the proliferation of mobile food vendors. Residents and visitors alike have frequented mobile food vendors in various Urbana locations for many, many years. With the recent rise in popularity, mobile food vendors are becoming more mainstream and the push to gather information on how to open and operate a cart has increased.
The City of Urbana Finance Department and Community Development Services created the following information to help direct businesses on how to open and operate a mobile food vendor in Urbana and where to go for the appropriate licensing and permitting.
Definition of a Mobile Food Vendor
A mobile food vendor is a self-contained food service operation, located in a readily movable motorized wheeled or towed vehicle, used to store, prepare, display or serve food intended for individual portion service.
How do I get Started?
Mobile food vendors planning to operate in Urbana must obtain a health permit from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD). Upon completion of the application process, a health permit and city license will be issued. Fees for an Urbana Food License are collected by CUPHD. For more information, please contact CUPHD:
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
Environmental Health Division
201 W. Kenyon Rd.
Champaign, IL 61820
After a health permit and city license is issued, a mobile food vendor should contact the city to make arrangements for operating in Urbana. Proof of a Mobile Food License is required. Licensed mobile food vendors can operate in Urbana in any of the following ways:
Fixed location on private property
Licensed mobile food vendors operating on private property will need to register at a fixed location. The registration process for a fixed location on private property for merchant/vendor operations is handled through the Urbana City Clerk’s Office. Applicants are required to complete:
- Complete the Application for Registration of Fixed Location Private Property Merchant/Vendor Operations, and return it to the City Clerk's Office
- Provide proof from the property owner giving permission for the vendor to operate on the property
- Obtain approval from Community Development ensuring the property is properly zoned for this type of business
The registration for a fixed location on private property is valid for three (3) months. At the end of the three (3) month period, a vendor may complete the registration process again. The registration cost is free. For more information contact the City Clerk’s Office at 217/384-2362 and Community Development at 217/384-2444.
Fixed location on public property “metered street”
The City of Urbana is excited to allow food trucks on the City’s streets and in the neighborhoods. In order to do this, licensed food vendors operating mobile units on metered streets during enforcement hours will need to:
- Complete the Meter Bag Rental Agreement, and return it to the Finance Department
- Provide the term in which the parking meter(s) is to be reserved
- Provide the location of the parking meter(s) and payment
- Follow the On-Street Parking Guidelines for Mobile Food Vendors
Meters are enforced in the Campus and Hospital Districts, Monday - Saturday, 7am - 6pm and in the Downtown Business District, Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm.
Each day during the period of the agreement, except on Sunday’s and Official City Holiday’s, the fee to reserve a parking meter on campus and at the hospital is $17.00 per day, per meter. A twenty-four (24) hour notice is required in order to avoid a $22.00 initial day, per meter charge. Downtown is $10.00 per day, per meter. A twenty-four (24) hour notice is required in order to avoid a $15.00 initial day, per meter charge. Payment for reserving meters must be made at the time of reservation.
Mobile food vendors can choose to park on a metered street without reserving a parking meter; however, expired meters will be subject to fines during the hours of enforcement and metered spaces will not be guaranteed. For more information contact the Finance Department at 217/ 384-2346.
Licensed mobile food vendors engaged in the business of selling food from a motored vehicle, while traveling from place to place, will need to apply for a Solicitor/Peddler/Itinerant Merchants License at the Urbana City Clerk’s Office. Applicants are required to:
- Complete the Application for the Licensing of Itinerant Merchants and return it to the City Clerk's Office
- Comply with all licensing requirements (General Information and Instructions for Intinerat Merchants, Peddlers and Canvassers/Solicitors), prior to a license being issued
Mobility is limited to certain residential streets and license holders are expected to move every five (5) minutes without returning to the same spot on any such block for the immediate preceding period of three (3) hours. The license fee per year is $50.00 and $10.00 for each additional sponsor per year. For more information contact the City Clerk’s Office at 217/384-2362.