Establishing a food truck and its user rights

A food truck is a mobile food establishment that has been registered as a motor vehicle or cart. You can apply for an operational licence for the City of Helsinki's designated sales spots. Read how to make a Food Truck Agreement and what you should keep in mind when establishing a food truck.

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A food truck is a mobile food establishment that has been registered as a motor vehicle or cart. A food truck does not have its own, permanent sales spot. Instead, it always needs a user licence from the city for a trading spot. Signing a Food Truck Agreement gives you the right to sell your goods in the City of Helsinki's public areas. The Food Truck system comprises designated sales spots and you have to make an agreement with the city to use these areas as an entrepreneur. Explore the topic further to see what other things you should keep in mind when setting up a food truck.

How can I make an agreement?

  • Make an appointment with the inspector via email: ulkoilma@hel.fi(Link opens default mail program). Bring with you a certificate of tax debt, a trade register extract (no older than 3 months) and the certificate of a food premises notification, which you will receive after registration through the Ilppa.fi service.
  • You can make the agreement for one month or 12 months at the longest.
  • The agreement can be renewed at the Urban Environment Division’s Customer Service Department.

Where can I sell my goods?

  • The city centre area has designated sales spots. See the maps (PDF in Finnish) for the sales spots and times in the centre area, Hakaniemi Market Square and Säästöpankinranta.
  • If you want to sign up for the turn list for the sales spots in Asema-aukio Plaza, Kansalaistori Square and Simonpuistikko, send an email to ulkoilma@hel.fi(Link opens default mail program).
  • Outside of the city centre, you can operate your food truck in nearly all of the city's streets and squares. These areas can be used for food truck operations as long as you do not disrupt the traffic or disturb the residents in the area. Your operations must not endanger anyone’s safety or damage the environment.
  • Food trucks are allowed on the following public beaches: Furuvik, Hevossalmi, Iso Kallahti, Pakila, Porvariskuninkaanpuisto, Tapaninvainio, Veijarivuori, Rastila, Puotila.

Restrictions on sales operations

  • Please do not get too close to other food trucks, kiosks or restaurants.
  • Reserve at least two metres of street space for pedestrians on all sides of the food truck.
  • You cannot operate your food truck in park areas.
  • Cook and sell all food inside the vehicle; you cannot set up an external space for this.

How much does the agreement cost?

  • The agreement for food truck operations costs either EUR 200 (+ VAT 24 %) per month or EUR 1500 (+ VAT 24 %) for 12 months.
  • The security for the agreement, EUR 1,000, is paid upon signing the agreement.

Frequently asked questions

A permit is not necessarily always needed. You can sell foodstuffs from a bicycle, cart or moped (registered in class L1e or L2e) without a separate permit under certain conditions. See the more detailed instructions: Mobile sales and distribution from a bicycle, cart or moped

Unfortunately, water or sewage system connections are not allowed for food trucks.

If you want to operate your food truck in an event area, you need a permit from the event organiser. You can find the upcoming events via Helsinki’s Map Service(Link leads to external service).

Sales spots can be temporarily out of use during periods of heavy snowfall. No refunds will be paid for a signed Food Truck Agreement due to obstacles caused by heavy snowfall.

The user right to a designated sales spot primarily belongs to the operator whose name is on the turn list during that week. If the area only has one sales spot according to the turn list, only one food truck is allowed in the area at a time. If the designated sales spot in the turn list is free, however, any entrepreneur with a valid agreement can use the spot.

Check list for establishing a food truck

The process of establishing a food truck has many stages. This list will help you check whether you have remembered to complete all the necessary actions. Please bring the following documents with you when you come in to sign a Food Truck Agreement.

  1. Enter your business in the Trade Register and obtain a trade register extract.

  2. Register the motor vehicle or cart you plan to use for food sales under your company’s name.

  3. Register your vehicle or cart as a food establishment and obtain a certificate of your registration via the Ilppa.fi service.

  4. Make sure that all food preparation and sales activities take place inside the vehicle.

    Food preparation and sales must take place inside your vehicle. This means that you cannot set up a grill, a point of sale or a canopy outside your food truck as an extension to it.

  5. Get a certificate of tax debt from the Tax Administration.

    If your company has tax debts, a payment plan of the debt must be delivered to the Urban Environment Division’s customer service.

    Go to the Tax Administration's website.(Link leads to external service)

  6. Book an appointment for an initial meeting of obtaining user rights to a food truck.