How to Start a Burger Van Business – What Do You Need?

Starting up a burger van business is an exciting venture and being the owner definitely has its advantages. When you own a burger van or any type of food truck, you need to understand business licensing and safety requirements for your van.

Of key importance is understanding how to keep your food service safe for customers. It must be of a standard that is suitable to sell and safe to eat. Even if you don’t offer seating around your van, you are still responsible for keeping your food hygiene to a high standard.

Do I Need a Hygiene Certificate For My Burger Van?

Under food safety law, burger van owners must make sure that they and any staff are trained to safely handle, cook, and serve food. There’s no legal obligation to obtain hygiene certificates.

However, getting a food hygiene certificate is an easy way to meet your training obligations. You’ll also be able to show your local EHO and customers that the business has good standards of food safety.

Getting the right food hygiene certificates also provides evidence if you need to prove due diligence. This can help protect your business against legal action.

A good reputation is everything when it comes to mobile food businesses, including burger vans. You will be responsible for buying, storing, and cooking raw meat and other food items and therefore must be aware of how to do all this safely.

Why You Need a Hygiene Certificate For Burger Vans

Running your own burger van can be rewarding and financially successful but it is also hard work and you must show compliance with all mobile catering regulations.

You ideally should obtain a hygiene certificate for your burger van so that:

  • You and your staff understand food safety laws.
  • You are all on the same page when it comes to keeping food safe.
  • Everyone maintains a high standard of personal hygiene.
  • There is a collective understanding of the importance of hygiene.
  • You can raise awareness of all the food risks.
  • Allergens can be learned and recited if needed.
  • All equipment and surfaces are cleaned appropriately.
  • The 4’cs are understood and followed.

Starting a Burger Van Business – What You Need

There’s a number of key steps you need to follow when starting up your mobile food business. It’s important to make sure you’re fully compliant for your new burger van adventure. Missing out something could cause issues down the line..

  1. You need to register your business through HMRC and decide if you are going to be a sole trader or a limited company.
  2. Register your food business through your local authority. If you intend to have more than one van then you must register each of them.
  3. You also need to have a licence for selling food on the street which your local authority will talk you through.
  4. You will need to show you have a food safety management system in place, often referred to as HACCP.
  5. Have risk assessments in place and then you can add to these as and when required.
  6. Equipment should only be used if it has been certified and staff have been trained on how to use it.
  7. Be sure of the insurance(s) you need to operate your burger van legally. There may well be more than one.
  8. Be prepared for regular food safety inspections.
  9. Understand how to achieve a high food safety rating as this will be available to the public online.
  10. Know which written records you need to have and keep on top of the paperwork.

What Licence do I need for a Burger Van?

To operate a burger van on the right side of the law, you need to make sure you get the correct trading licenses.

Where you will be operating from will determine the type of licence you need. For instance, if you will be in the streets and on the roadsides you will need a street trading licence.

Should you be used solely for events then the paperwork you require may be different. Your council will be able to assist you with the paperwork you need to take your van out on the roads.

Check out the UK GOV Food Business Registration page for further advice.

Which Food Hygiene Certificate Do I Need for My Burger Van?

As a burger van owner and manager, it will be appropriate for you to do the Level 3 Food Hygiene course as this is aimed at the senior staff.

This then means you are equipped with the skills and knowledge you require to support your staff. Any individuals you hire to help run your business should have at least Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificates.

Level 2 Food Hygiene Course For Catering

This course is suited to those working directly with food such as burger van workers. It will cover:

  • The Food Rating Hygiene Scheme and what this entails
  • The laws surrounding food hygiene
  • Food safety responsibilities
  • Microbiological hazards
  • How to handle and store raw products
  • All other hazards surrounding food
  • Importance of food labelling and appropriate storage
  • Fridge and freezer temperatures
  • All aspects of food preparation
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Keeping the premises clean

Level 3 Food Hygiene Course For Catering

This course is aimed at those in a management position or senior kitchen staff who manage a team below them. It is the one burger van owners and managers should enrol in.  It will cover:

  • Food safety regulations
  • Responsibilities of the staff
  • Due diligence
  • Responsibilities of the senior staff
  • Contamination and the 6 P’s
  • Food allergies
  • 14 Food Allergens
  • Labelling allergens
  • How bacteria grow in food
  • Food poisoning
  • Food deliveries and storage
  • Fridge, freezer, and cooking temperatures
  • Appropriate kitchen spaces
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cleaning
  • Pest control
  • Supporting staff

Other Training Courses to Consider

There are a variety of other courses that can be undertaken by anyone in the mobile catering business. We share a few of the popular ones below:

  • Food Allergen Awareness Training: With so many allergies in existence today, it is imperative that anyone in the catering industry knows the main allergens. This means they will be in the position to help with customer queries and ensure their safety.
  • Basic Health and Safety Training: This course will cover all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and will help ensure all employees follow any rules put in place. It will help them with risk assessments and day-to-day routines.
  • Level 2 HACCP Training For Catering and Retail: A course suitable for anyone who needs knowledge in putting together an effective food safety management system.


Can you run a burger van on a driveway?

You would need to contact your local council and most likely ask for planning permission to run a burger van from your driveway. This planning permission can be turned down as often the other residents are asked for their views and the council will take into account the street layout and any other businesses in the vicinity.

Do you need COSHH on a burger van?

It is a legal requirement to take all the necessary steps to ensure your staff are kept safe so the best way to demonstrate this is to risk assess. Taking part in such a course will mean you are clued up about the control of substances hazardous to health.

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