Permits and visa
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.
If you plan to start doing business in the Netherlands, you will also need to have or apply for a business bank account (IBAN). The Dutch Banking Association has created a Quick Scan to help you find out if you are eligible. Read how it works.
HACCP principles and hygiene codes
As with all restaurants, you are obliged to work according to the latest hygiene code. By doing so, you comply with the HACCP principles (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). This is an analysis of risks involved and procedures for controlling these risks throughout the entire food production process. From time to time, the NVWA inspectors will come to inspect to see if you meet the hygiene codes. At Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), you can order an approved hygiene code.
Which licences do you need for your food truck business?
The licences that are required for your food truck business may depend on which town you are in. Each city council decides which regulations apply. Make sure that you contact the municipal authorities to find out which licences you need. These may include:
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.
Check the requirements for event organisations
Event organisations often impose demands on participating food trucks, for instance:
- Payment type (cash, card or coins)
Check with the event organisation whether all licences are covered for you or if you need to apply for it yourself.
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
If you serve beer, wine, port or sherry, you must apply for a dispensation from the Licensing and Catering Act.
In the Netherlands it is prohibited to serve alcohol to youths under the age of 18. You also have a duty to prevent the sale of alcohol to underaged youths through persons who are aged 18 years or older (proxy sales). You must always ask young people to produce proof of their age. The application process for your licence may take up to 8-12 weeks. Therefore, always make sure that you apply ahead of time.
Write a food truck business plan
It is not mandatory to write a business plan, however, it is recommended. In this way you force yourself to describe in detail what you intend to sell with your food truck business. A unique recipe or product may be an opportunity in the market. Your business plan includes factors such as the price you set and the profit you wish to make. You must also take into account whether you are willing to stay at a fixed location or if you want to move between multiple locations. Also, keep your competitors in mind while writing your business plan. It may be helpful to conduct market research to find out whether your plans are achievable and if there is a market for your product.
Write a marketing plan
To stand out from your competitors, you must think about how you want to present yourself by making a marketing plan. Find out what your target group is and make sure to tailor your presentation about the products you sell your target group from your food truck. This also applies to your social media marketing. Come up with engaging campaigns to win over potential customers and attract them to your food truck.
Do I buy or rent? Financing your food truck
The costs of a foodtruck may differ enormously. This has to do with the type of food truck you intend to buy. For example, if you wish to start your food truck business in a trailer, this may lead to higher costs than a delivery van. Also keep in mind additional costs, such as:
- Storage (in case you are not planning to use your food truck the entire year)
- Purchasing products
- Refrigerator for fresh products
- Water connection
An alternative solution is renting your food truck, but this may turn out to be more expensive in the long run. Identify and map the costs for the first two or three years, and include them in your financial plan. This may help you find out whether your plans are achievable. It is also important to have a financial plan in case you are seeking finance for your food truck business. Financiers want to see your financial plan and business plan.
Ensure you hold the right driving licence
If your food truck weighs over 3500 kg or if you own a trailer or supporter, you must hold a BE, C or C1 driving licence. C and C1 are tractor driving licences. Be aware that a B-driving licence is not sufficient.
Come up with a food truck name, logo and website
When you start your food truck business, you have to come up with a company name. This name has to be unique in the sector and region in which you operate. Most companies also start a website. If you want to start a website for your food truck business, you must first choose a domain name (Internet address). You cannot choose a domain name that is already in use, and your domain name must respect the trademark rights and trade name rights of other companies. And think about your logo: an instantly recognisable feature for your food truck business will help you stand out among the many suppliers at festivals.
Register at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK)
When you are finished with the preparation of your food truck business, you have to register at the Chamber of Commerce. The KVK will pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Within two weeks you will receive your VAT identification number and VAT number from the Tax and Customs Administration by post. The registration fee is 50 euros.
Income tax and VAT
If you register as a sole proprietor, you need to pay income tax. If you register as a private limited company (bv), you will have to pay corporate income tax. Either way, you'll be liable for VAT. If you are making a small profit, you may be eligible for a SME profit exemption if you meet the 4 conditions. As a starter, you may also be eligible for the tax relief for new companies as well as the private business ownership allowance. You may deduct this extra tax relief for new companies from your profit for the first 3 years. In order to be eligible, you also need to meet certain conditions. For example, spending at least 1225 hours per year on working on your food truck business.
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 redeem.
Do I need insurance?
Starting your own company is not without risks. It is recommended to take out an insurance to cover your food truck and inventory, however, it is not required. The risk of a fire, burglary, road accident, or storm that may damage your food truck is relatively high.
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.