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Food truck rules and regulations

Food truck rules and regulations

Learn about the rules you must follow as a food truck vendor.

The City of Boston passed an ordinance in 2011 to allow food trucks. You must follow the rules and regulations in this ordinance if you want to work as a food truck vendor.

Learn how to get a food truck permit

Still have questions? Contact:
Economic Development
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201
United States

Scheduling rules and regulations

Zone 1 sites

Zone 1 sites are put into a lottery each year. We can't guarantee that any food truck will have a Zone 1 site for more than one year. New sites are considered Zone 2 sites for their first year.

Zone 2 and 3 sites

If you want a Zone 2 or Zone 3 site that is already taken, you have to wait until the site opens up. Zone 2 and 3 sites are put into a lottery every three years. You can renew a spot for up to three years.

Site lotteries

We award all public spots through a lottery system. There is an annual lottery before each vending season and three mini-lotteries for dropped shifts. Annual lottery spots are available for the whole year, but need to be renewed every three months. New vendors can join before any lottery deadline:

Lottery type application deadlines Lottery dates
Annual live lottery March 1, 2017 March 14, 2017
Mini-Lottery 1 June 1, 2017 June 14, 2017
Mini-Lottery 2 September 1, 2017 September 14, 2017
Mini-Lottery 3 December 1, 2017 December 14, 2017

Adding and dropping shifts

Each quarter, food trucks have an opportunity to drop a site without a penalty. We make the dropped sites available for other food trucks to add during the mini-lottery.

However, if a shift is dropped outside of the deadline, we still apply quarterly fees.

HOW THE DROP SYSTEM WORKS

You must submit the drop form by the drop deadline for the specific site and shift. After you drop your site, we make the site available for other food trucks. We also let applicants know about the mini-lottery. After we complete the mini-lottery, you'll have two weeks to pick up your site permit at Public Works.

If you don't pick up your permit within two weeks, the permit will become invalid.

Shift add and drop deadlines
Quarter Drop deadline Add deadline New schedule starts
1 N/A March 14, 2017 April 1 - June 30, 2017
2 June 1, 2017 June 14, 2017 July 1 - September 30, 2017
3 September 1, 2017 September 14, 2017 October 1 - December 31, 2017
4 December 1, 2017 December 14, 2017 January 1 - March 31, 2017