Mobile Food Facilities


Mobile Food Facilities: What you need to know.

On May 21, 2024, the City of Desert Hot Springs City Council amended the regulations concerning  Mobile Food Facilities. The new regulations were amended to:

  • Comply with SB 972.
  • Align Desert Hot Springs regulations related to Sidewalk Vendors and Mobile Food Facilities with State law and County regulations and procedures.
  • Re-define Mobile Food Facilities definitions to align with Riverside County’s Environmental Health.
  • Establish new regulations for roaming sidewalk vendors that meet the definition of a Compact Mobile Food Operator.
  • Establish Category 3 Mobile Food Facilities (Ice Cream Trucks) to be regulated as a Mobile Food Facility with specific exemptions.
  • Amend regulations for Peddlers to limit the sale of food to Sidewalk Vendors and Mobile Food Facilities.
  • Establish a less burdensome process for Mobile Food Facilities to vend from private properties.
  • Establish that Temporary Food Facilities are prohibited in the City other than at duly approved Community Events or Special Events.

These new regulations will go into effect on July 4, 2024.

Review the ordinance and full regulations HERE

Review SB972 HERE or SB946 HERE

The City will hold a workshop with the County of Riverside on July 15, 2024, from 4 pm to 6 pm to educate the public on the City’s permitting processes and regulations.




Mobile Food Facility Definitions

“Mobile food facility” means any Category 3, 4, or 5 mobile food facility as defined by Riverside County Ordinance 580.8, as may be amended, that is equipped or primarily used for the preparation and retail sale of food on any public street, alley, parking lot, or highway within the City. The inventory of these vehicles need not be necessarily limited to produce, food, or confections.

“Temporary Food Facility” means an approved food facility that may be readily disassembled for storage or for transporting, and readily assembled to its original integrity at a different location, is easily movable, and operates at a fixed location for the duration of an approved community event or special event and only as a part of that community event or special event.

“Vend” or “vending” means to sell, offer for sale, display, barter, exchange, or otherwise give food, food products, merchandise, or prepackaged food from a mobile food facility.

“Food Vendor” means a person or entity who:

  1. Conduct or permits or causes the operation of mobile food facility.
  2. Owns, operators, controls, manages, or leases, mobile food facility; or
  3. Contracts with persons to drive and vend from mobile food facility.

Mobile Food Vendor 2

Permit Requirements

  • No mobile food facility may vend in the City without first obtaining and having in his or her possession an annual Mobile Food Facility Permit issued by the City in accordance with Desert Hot Springs Municipal Code Chapter 5.52.
  • All mobile food facilities must hold a current Riverside County Environmental Health Permit.
  • A current City of Desert Hot Springs Business License.


Click HERE to access the online application for a Mobile Food Facility Permit

Click HERE to access the paper application for a Mobile Food Facility Permit

Click HERE to access the paper application for a Mobile Food Facility Permit in SPANISH

Mobile Food Vendor 3

Mobile Food Facilities Rules and Regulations

All mobile food facilities vendor vehicles must comply with all of the following:

  1. The vendor has a valid mobile food facility permit and business license from the City, including insurance as defined in subsection (A)(9).
  2. All food, food products, merchandise, and prepackaged foods that are prepared, stored, cooked, or displayed must be fully enclosed and contained within the mobile food facility. No open-air preparation of food or food products is permitted.
  3. The mobile food facility is in full compliance with all parking and Vehicle Code provisions which apply to the location at which it is parked.
  4. The mobile food facility shall remain parked and immobile while vending.
  5. The food vendor shall not encroach onto a public sidewalk with any part of its mobile food facility or any other equipment or furniture related to the operation of its business.
  6. The mobile food facility has a valid permit, certificate, or other required approval from Riverside County Department of Environmental Health.
  7. All food products sold or provided from the mobile food facility shall comply with all applicable food labeling requirements established by the State of California and the food vendor must obtain all required permits, including, without limitation, health permits, to sell or provide such items.
  8. No alcohol beverage, general merchandise or commercial sales other than food are permitted, other than company merchandise.
  9. The food vendor shall maintain insurance, as deemed acceptable in the reasonable discretion of the City, and provide to the City written certification thereof, against liability for death or injury to any person and damage to property as a result of ownership, operation, or use of its mobile food facilities. In addition, the food vendor shall indemnify, defend and hold the City harmless from any claims arising out of or related to the vendor’s ownership, operation, or use of its mobile food facilities, except as otherwise permitted by applicable law.
  10. The food vendor shall not discharge any liquid (e.g., water, grease, oil, etc.) onto or into any streets, storm drains, catch basins, or sewer facilities. All discharges shall be contained and properly disposed of by the vendor.
  11. The food vendor shall comply with sound amplification regulations in Chapter 8.12 of this Code.
  12. Vending of cannabis products of any kind is prohibited.
  13. Food vendors and mobile food facilities shall comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws.
  14. A food vendor may locate its mobile food facility on a street as long as the vendor adheres to the following standards and conditions: The mobile food facility  does not obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  15. Food vending is prohibited on the exposed street and/or vehicular traffic side of the mobile food facility. The food vendor shall not distribute any item from the mobile food facility in a manner that causes any person to stand in that portion of the street that is between the vehicle and the center of the street. A mobile food facility vending vehicle is limited to two signs excluding exterior graphics. The exterior sign shall be secured at all times that the mobile food facility vending vehicle is moving. No sandwich board or other signs are permitted on the ground in the area or on the mobile food facility.
  16. A mobile food facility may only stand or park in the public right-of- way within a commercial zone between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. In all other zones, mobile food facilities may only stand or park in the public right-of-way between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  17. No food vendor shall engage in vending unless he or she maintains a clearly designated litter receptacle in the immediate vicinity of the mobile food facilities, marked with a sign requesting use by patrons. Prior to leaving the location, the food vendor shall pick up, remove and dispose of all trash generated by the food vendor’s operation located within a 25-foot radius of the mobile food facility’s location. This provision does not require picking up trash in the street in an unsafe manner.

a. The exterior storage of refuse, equipment, or materials associated with the mobile food facility is prohibited.

b. Any mobile food facility licensed by the County of Riverside as a Category 4 (Limited Food Preparation) or Category 5 (Full Food Preparation Unit) mobile food facility shall provide a minimum of one conspicuous trash receptacle within 20 feet of the vehicle. The trash receptacle will serve both employees and customers.

  1. Each food vendor shall affix to the lower right side of the windshield of his or her mobile food facility a current grade card/decal issued by the County of Riverside Department of Environmental Health. Additionally, a current mobile food facility permit must be prominently displayed on the vending side of their mobile food facility.
  2. Each person who drives, operates, or vends from a mobile food facility shall maintain a current, valid California driver’s license and a current Food Handler Certificate issued by the County of Riverside. The driver’s license and Food Handler Certificate shall be presented for inspection upon request by law enforcement officials or code compliance officers upon request.
  3. Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 114315, mobile food facilities shall be operated within 200 feet travel distance of an approved and readily available toilet and handwashing facility, or as otherwise approved by the City Manager, to ensure that restroom facilities are available to vendor employees whenever the mobile food facility is stopped to conduct business for more than a one-hour period.
  4. Exceptions. This section shall not apply to:

a. Food vending at construction sites.

b. Food vending on school property with the consent of school authorities.

c. Food vending on private property with consent of the property owner, lessee, or legal occupant, and with a valid temporary use permit.

  1. No food vendor may engage in vending or otherwise operate a mobile food facility:

1. On any street within a residential zone.

a. Category 3 (Prepackaged Foods) mobile food facilities are exempt from this regulation.

2. On any street designated as part of a Safety Enhancement Zone pursuant to Chapter 12.28 of this Code.

3. Within 50 feet from the outer edge of any entrance of any business which serves food on private property during the hours such business is open to the public. This prohibition may be waived with the written consent of such business.

4. Within 30 feet of any street intersection controlled by a traffic light, crosswalk, or stop sign.

5. Within 30 feet of a bus stop.

6. Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, no mobile food facility may be located within 300 feet of the nearest property line of any property on which a public or private school building is located, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. of any school day.

7. Within 500 feet of the nearest property line of any school serving students 18 years of age or younger unless that school is a college, university, or vocational school that primarily serves students older than 18 years of age, unless the mobile food facility is associated with a certified farmers’ market that is open at the time that the mobile food facility food vending truck is conducting business.

8. When the posted speed limit on the public street, alley or highway is greater than 35 miles per hour.

Permitted Hours

Commercial Zones:

Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.

All Other Zones:

Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Keep In Mind:

  • No mobile food facility may be located within 300 feet of the nearest property line of any property on which a public or private school building is located between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. of any school day.

Mobile Food Facility Vending on Private Property

A mobile food facility may vend on private property if: 

  • The food vendor has permission from the property owner. 
  • An approved Administrative Planning Review. 
  • An agreement to use an approved and readily available toilet and handwashing facility within 200 ft. of the private property. 

Where to Vend Food in the City: 

The maps below are intended to provide guidance on areas prohibited and permissible for mobile food facility vending. They are not intended to accurately reflect zoning, speed limits, residential areas, schools, city facilities, or prohibited/permissible areas from which to vend food. For more information on specific locations where mobile food facilities may vend food, please contact the Code Compliance Division at (760) 328-6411 ext. 269.

Commercial Areas/Palm Drive

MFF Commercial Palm

Two Bunch Palms Trail & Palm Drive

MFF Two Bunch

Industrial Areas

MFF Industrial

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