Trucks? Carts? Trailers? Pods? Mobile Food Unit?

A truck is self propelled, most often a stepvan, but you see semis, vans, and even buses.   A Cart may be a pushcart or a pretty big trailer. A Pod is a group of carts/trucks that are gonna be there for a while.  A Mobile Food Unit is what the regulatory bodies call all of the above.

We usually call them all Trucks  Or sometime Carts.  We mean them all.

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Eating at Trucks

What kind of food carts are there in Salem?

There are over a dozen trucks and carts operating in the Salem Area, and several more in nearby communities.  Many are seasonal.  This page lists all of the current members of the Salem Food Truck Association.

This post lists many of the other trucks and carts in the area.


Why isn't my favorite cart ______ Listed?

Not on purpose.  If you have a cart, or know of one, even if it does not operate that often, please let us know about it by filling out this form.


How do I find out where the carts are?

We will be bringing an interactive map that will show where the trucks are, for now check out our Facebook Feed and the FaceBook pages of individual trucks for the most current info.


Owning a Food truck

How much does it cost to build a truck?

Estimates range from $10,000 to $250,000.  It depends on so many factors, including

  • Size
  • Menu (drives the equipment list)
  • Cart, Trailer, Truck? New or Used
  • New or Used Equipment?
  • Build it yourself or hire a firm?
  • Cost of the graphics
  • Smallwares
  • POS

You can be certain that it will cost you more than you expect.


What are the kinds of things I can serve?

In Oregon there are 4 classes of mobile food unit, Class I -IV.  Only Class III & Class IV can cook food.  Class III cannot cook raw meats, eggs, etc.  Most carts are Class IV,  a few are class III. With a licensed Class IV cart you can cook and serve anything you wish.  Check the Oregon Rules for more info


I want to build a cart or a truck. What do I have do do?

Step One: Figure out what kind of food you want to make.

Step Two:  Talk to the health department in your county to understand their requirements.

People that skip step two are almost always sorry as most things are cheaper to build in than to add on if you don’t meet code (and you probably won’t if you build first and ask second).

Step three: Talk to the fire department, the planning commission, the property owners and your potential suppliers.

Step Four — look at lots of carts!

Step Five – start writing those checks!


I am looking for a used cart or truck to purchase. What should I do?

The same kinds of things if you were buying a used car or an older home.  Get it inspected by someone that knows the equipment.  Check out the title.  Check out the health department license.  If that licensed has lapsed, be prepared for upgrades as the code gets tougher every year.  For example, gravity water systems on push carts are no longer allowed on new trucks or trucks with a lapsed license.  That can cost hundreds of dollars to fix.  Not such a bargain any more,  right?


I found this cart/truck for sale on craigslist/at a garage sale/in the newspaper. Should I buy it?

Perhaps.  Read all of the above.


 Operating a Food Truck

Where can I sell?

Not as many places as you think.  Read through the Government Resources sections

What insurance do I need?

Big Topic  – at a minimum Liability insurance, Product Liability Insurance, auto insurance.


What is a commissary and here do I find one?

If you need a commissary it has to be a licensed kitchen There are some for rent here and there around Oregon.  See Craigslist, the  Resources Pages and the Classifieds


Where can I find equipment for a truck?

See the Resources Pages and the Classifieds


Where can I find food supplies for a truck?

See the Resources Pages and the Classifieds