Purchasing and operating your own mobile barbecue food trailer is an easy way to start your own small business. The mobility of these food trailers allow the owner to travel to their clientele rather then waiting for the business to come to them. Mobile barbecue trailers can visit carnivals, parades, and sporting events. However, before you start your business, there are a few regulations your mobile barbecue trailer must follow.


Local governments may limit where and when a mobile barbecue trailer can operate. For example, the government may restrict the trailer from operating outside of a child’s sporting event. Other locations may require a permit to be issued by the government, such as a peddler’s permit. (see reference 1, page 11) There may be one time, or annual fees associated with these permits.

Business information

State regulations may require that the owner or operator of the trailer place a sign on their stand indicating the official business name, a permanent address for the business, and a phone number. There may also be regulations for the size requirements of these signs. For example, the City of Columbus’ Department of Health requires a sign measuring at least three inches high and one inch wide stating the company’s name and contact information. (see reference 1, page 9)

Food must be prepared on site

Depending on the state where you are operating, you may be required to cook all of your food on site. Some local governments prohibit mobile barbecue operators from preparing food at their home or business and selling it later on their mobile cart. (see reference 1, page 11)

Cleaning and refrigeration facilities

Generally, a mobile barbecue trailer must have the ability to properly clean and sanitize dishes and cookware. Typically, this consists of a sink with a separate section for hand washing. The trailer is required to have a refrigerator for storing perishable items. (see reference 1, page 6)

Inclement weather preparation

A few local governments will require that any mobile cooking device is prepared for the event of sudden inclement weather, such as heavy rain. This requirement can be met by installing a roof over the area where food will be cooked. (see reference 1, page 6)

Pass Health Inspection

Some areas require that a mobile BBQ trailer pass a health inspection. For example, the city of Houston requires all mobile food vendors to bring their trailers to an inspection site where they must pay a $50 fee and reviewed health inspector before they can operate. (See reference 2)