What is a Mobile Food Dispensing Vehicle license? continued…

With a Mobile Food Dispensing Vehicle (MFDV) license operators are fully able to drive place to place throughout the state. The menu items are limited to what the equipment on the vehicle can prepare. MFDV license holders can also offer catering services and may operate at a 1-3 day temporary event without paying additional temporary event fees.

What is a Self-sufficient MFDV?

A Mobile Food Dispensing Vehicle operator that can perform all food activities inside the vehicle, like storing food, preparing food and dishwashing, is self-sufficient. If later the operator were to expand operations beyond the unit’s capacity then they may need a commissary for storage or to conduct additional food preparation.

What is a Commissary?

The word ‘commissary’ has a lot of different meanings in common use. For Hotel & Restaurants (H&R) though ‘Commissary’ has a specific meaning.

Commissary Definition: A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) permitted or H&R licensed food service.

Any FDACS permitted or H&R licensed food service can provide commissary services for an MFDV.

Do I Need a Commissary?

Generally a commissary is used to store bulk foods, conduct food preparation and store and wash utensils. Self-sufficient MFDVs may choose not to utilize a commissary if all food activities are performed inside the vehicle. The requirements are that MFDV operators will use the commissary as needed to perform routine food service activities.

What is a water/sewer location?

If the vehicle is Self-sufficient, the one thing it won’t have is a permanent connection to utilities (if it did it would no longer be mobile). A location to properly fill and empty the holding tanks is required. In general, just about any commercial location (not a private home) that has municipal water and sewer can accept restaurant wastewater. For example, it is common for truck stops to be used.

Exception – If the water/sewer location is permitted by DOH, such as a school or fraternal organization or bar, then the Department of Health would be the permitting agency for the mobile unit.

Exception – If the location is on a septic system the county Department of Health (DOH) would have to approve the system for increased use. This also applies to any other water/sewer locations used by an MFDV. For this reason we recommend using a location that is on municipal water/sewer.

Steps to acquiring an MFDV License

There are generally four steps to acquiring a food service license with the division:

  • Create a DBPR online account
  • Apply for and complete plan review (only if required)
  • Apply for a license and pay the license fee
  • Schedule and pass the licensing Inspection

Note: Steps 1 – 3 can be completed online.

Acquiring an existing licensed vehicle and no changes are made:

No plan review is required if the vehicle is already licensed by the division and no changes were made. Get the license number of the mobile and verify it’s licensed by searching here. Save the license number as it will be needed for the change of ownership application.

Licensing a new vehicle or acquiring a vehicle and changes are made:

Plan review is required if the vehicle has never been licensed by the division, has been closed for more than one year, or has been remodeled.  Get together a plan of the vehicle that shows all of the food service related equipment/fixtures, include at least one side view of the vehicle showing the wheels and service window, and a sample menu ready to submit as part of the application. For more details about plan review visit the plan review page.

Application Tips

  • For faster turnaround apply online.
  • All DBPR food service licenses have a 7 digit numerical license number. Before purchasing a food service business, making an agreement with a commissary, or sharing a kitchen verify the license by searching here. Keep the number handy, it will be needed for the application.
  • If a plan review is required check the plan review page before submitting your application. Remember that plan review applications can be submitted via email.
  • For any plan review or water/sewer questions feel free to email dhr.planreview@myfloridalicense.com for advice and clarification.


Payment can be made by credit card when submitting an online application or by check if applying by mail. To estimate license fees prior to applying use our fee calculator. Detailed food service license fees are listed on the food service fee web page.

Opening Inspection

All new licensees are required to pass a sanitation and safety inspection prior to opening. After meeting all requirements of the plan review and submitting your license application and fees, check your approved plan review packet for Inspector contact information or contact the department at 850.487.1395 to schedule an opening inspection. For more information about inspections view the inspections page.


Once licensed, operators must meet and maintain all applicable standards of a public food service establishment as provided in rule, code and statute. Conduct all food storage and food preparation operations in an approved, licensed food service establishment. You may not conduct food operations in a private residence.

Division personnel inspect as often as necessary for enforcement of the provisions of law and rule, and the protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare. MFDV operators must permit division personnel right of entry at any reasonable time to observe food preparation and service. If necessary, division personnel may examine records of the unit to obtain pertinent information regarding food and supplies purchased, received or used.

Need Help?

All requests for public records, complaints, forms, and applications for licenses can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.

Steven von Bodungen, Director

Division of Hotels and Restaurants
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1011

Telephone: 850.487.1395
Email: dhr.info@myfloridalicense.com