Checklist for starting a food truck business

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
Statistics Netherlands, CBS

You have some great ideas for unique street food recipes. And you want to start your own food truck. What rules apply to you and what permits do you need? And how will you finance your food truck? Here you can read what steps to take when starting a food truck.

1. Residence in the Netherlands

If you are from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you may need to apply for a residence permit before you come to the Netherlands and start your food truck business. Or, if you plan to come here for a short period, you may need a short-stay visa. Find out which permits you need using our interactive guide Coming to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur.

2. Bank account

If you plan to start doing business in the Netherlands, you will also need to have or apply for a Dutch (business) bank account. You can opt for a private or business account. Find out how to open a bank account in the Netherlands.

3. Register at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK

You have to register your food truck in the KVK Business Register. KVK will pass on your details to the Netherlands Tax Administration (Belastingdienst). Within 2 weeks you will receive your VAT identification number and VAT number from the Tax Administration by post.

4. Arrange your permits

Which permits you need may vary from one municipality to another. Each place of business has different rules, because each municipality decides for itself which regulations apply. Therefore, contact your municipality to find out exactly what permits you need for your food truck.

Permits and licences that you may have to deal with are:

Market trader’s licence

In the Netherlands, if you want to trade from a stall or a van, on or along a public road or public space, you need a market trader's licence (standplaatsvergunning). You can obtain this licence from the municipal authorities.

Buma/Stemra

If you play music to your customers, you may have to deal with music rights. At Buma/Stemra you can find more information about the costs.

Dispensation from Licensing and Catering Act

Do you want to serve alcohol at an event? You must apply for a dispensation from the Licensing and Catering Act (Alcoholwet).

Serving alcohol

In the Netherlands, it is prohibited to serve alcohol to youths under the age of 18. You also must prevent the sale of alcohol to underaged youths through persons who are aged 18 years or older (proxy sales). You must ask young people for proof of identity to check their age.

5. Follow an approved hygiene code

You must work according to an approved hygiene code. This is how you meet the HACCP requirements for food safety. A hygiene code sets out how you monitor food safety and hygiene. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Waren Autoriteit, NVWA) checks if you are working safely and hygienically. Order an approved HACCP code from the Dutch sector organisation for the hospitality industry, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN).

6. Pay income tax and VAT

You must file tax returns on your income. You must also pay VAT. If you have a small turnover (maximum €20,000 per calendar year) you may be eligible for the small businesses scheme (KOR). You must meet the conditions. As a starter, you may also be eligible for the tax relief for new companies (startersaftrek) on top of the regular private business ownership allowance (zelfstandigenaftrek). You can benefit from the starter's tax relief at most 3 times in your first 5 years as an entrepreneur. Conditions also apply to this. For example, you must spend a minimum of 1,225 hours each year on your food truck business.

7. Keep your business records in order

You are required to keep records of your income and expenses. Make sure that you include the right data in your records, such as how much tax you need to pay or how much VAT you may redeem.

8. Organise your insurance

Starting your own business is not without risks. It is not mandatory, but you would be wise to insure your food truck and inventory. The risk of fire in a food truck is relatively high. Food trucks are also vulnerable to damage from burglary or storms. Learn what risks you can insure your business for.

Number of restaurants and mobile food serving services

The graph shows the number of restaurants and mobile food serving services, such as food trucks, that have started each quarter. On average the 3rd quarter shows the highest number of businesses that have started.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact theNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK