Legal Requirements

Mobile kiosks

Whether a sausage stand at a Hamburg weekly market or a food truck in a supermarket car park, there are many requirements, laws and regulations you must comply with as a founder of a new company. Often, people founding businesses are faced with the question: What approval do I need?
The complex legal situation means that this question can rarely be answered in a few sentences. We therefore recommend that you promptly make contact with your consumer protection office (district office). This outline is intended to provide you with an initial overview, in which we have summarised a few commercial activities and the requirements and approvals required for them.

Selling at fixed markets

There are what are referred to as fixed markets. These are determined by the relevant public authority at the request of an organiser. This includes for example weekly markets, fairs, flea markets and annual markets. If you would like to serve alcohol-free drinks and meals at a market of this type, you only need

Selling on public paths

For street trading with a kiosk, you need special approval.
Note: In public green and recreational areas, ambulatory trading is prohibited in principle.
If, for example, you use public paths or streets for selling with a car, or set up a sales table there, you need
  • a special use approval. This is applied for from your relevant district office (underground drainage and/or consumer protection office).
  • instruction in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz) from your relevant public health office.
Note: Mobile kiosks on public paths cannot be sufficiently monitored and controlled, and therefore based on the information available to us, it is not possible to provide an approval for them. Based on the information from the relevant public authority, corresponding permissions are currently only issued in connection with special events or markets. No approvals are issued for the inner city. 
Therefore, before further planning, please make contact with your district office.

Selling in private spaces

If your food or drinks truck is on private property such as a supermarket car park, then you will need
  • a hospitality licence (only if you are serving alcohol)
  • a use approval (building authority) if selling at this location takes place over a longer period of time or regularly (e.g. once a week)
Note: Further information on serving alcohol in food service businesses is available in the document “Gründung im Hotel- und Gaststättengewerbe” (Founding businesses in the hotel and hospitality industry)

Short-term selling activities

For short-term selling (with alcohol) at special occasions e.g. at trade fairs or exhibitions, the relevant public authority may permit you to undertake food service subject to less strict requirements. You can apply for this
  • permission in accordance with Section 12 Hospitality Business Act (Gaststättengesetz)
with your relevant consumer protection office (district office).
Please note that these are only the requirements for taking up your business activity. While operating your trade, you as an entrepreneur are generally required to comply with other specifications such as the Industrial Code (Gewerbeordnung)Foodstuffs and Consumer Goods Law (Lebensmittel- und Bedarfsgegenständegesetz), Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch), etc.
Tip: If you are interested, please also take a look at the further information in the documents titled “Reisegewerbe” (Travel trade) and “Gründung eines Cateringunternehmens” (Founding a catering business).