New retail food mobile application - food truck or food cart

Changes coming to food licensing in Denver on June 8. Read here to learn more.

Note: All fabrication of the mobile unit must be complete before submitting application.

Temporary Mobile Food Truck Area of Operations Rules for Downtown Denver(PDF, 807KB)

Mobile Food Truck Map of Restricted Areas in Downtown Denver

Email application

Step 1.Before you apply

  • Read the ordinance for this license under "Municipal Code" on the right side of the page to make sure this license is right for you.

Step 2.Propane permit online application

  • Complete an online propane permit application. You will log in and click on "Fire". You will then click on "Apply for Operational Permits". From the list, select "Fire Prevention Flammable Operational Permit" and click on "Continue Application". You will go through the application. A copy of your registration, driver's license and current fire suppression inspection report will need to be attached to your fire permit application. You will receive an invoice via email to pay online. These documents will also walk you through the online process for the propane permit. How to apply for a propane permit English(PDF, 2MB), How to apply for a propane permit Spanish(PDF, 2MB) and New Process for propane permits(PDF, 157KB).
  • If you do not use propane, please email DFDMobiles@denvergov.org to obtain a propane exemption letter.
  • Do not pay until you receive an invoice for the annual $200 fee. The invoice will be sent to your email from info@denvergov.org. Once the payment has posted to your account you will be able to print, or screen shot your permit. You will need to have a copy with you while open for business. You will also need to provide a copy on inspection day. 
  • For your permit invoice or exemption letter it may take 5-7 business days. Do not apply for the propane permit or exemption letter until you are ready to have the mobile unit inspected.

Step 3.Gather all required documents

Make sure you have everything from the "Required documents" section below. 

Important notes to keep in mind about your documents:
  • All materials must be digital files saved as a .pdf or .jpg. Do not include any other file types. The Department of Excise and Licenses cannot accept other file types.
  • Use numbers or letters but not characters such as symbols (/ ? < > \ : * | “ ^) or spaces that could cause complications.
    • For example:
      • Good filename: drivers-license-name-2022.pdf
      • Bad filename: last name/ id.pdf
  • In some cases, you might need to combine documents and upload them in a single .pdf. You can use a free, online tool to merge documents into a single file. 
  • Legal documents must be signed, dated and executed. All pages of large legal documents (such as a lease) must be included in the application.
  • All materials must be legible. 
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Step 4.Submit an application

Email license applications to EXLSubmit@denvergov.org. Attach all documents to one email. Visit the email application process page for more information.

After applying, you will receive an invoice to pay fees. You cannot pay fees until you have received an invoice. Visit the online payment process page or watch the "How to pay online" video for more information.

  • Make sure that you have a bank account, Mastercard, Visa, or Discover card to pay online. 

For questions, email licenses@denvergov.org or call 311.

Step 5.Pay required fees

Application fee:
$200

License fee:
$125

Step 6.City application review and next steps

Excise and Licenses tries to conduct an initial review of a complete application within seven business days. The review process might take longer if it is incomplete or requires police review (if applicable).
  • All application related communications will be sent through email, from EXLNotifications@denvergov.org. Do not respond to these emails as this inbox is not monitored.
  • If the application is incomplete, the applicant will receive a "notice of deficiency" email. This allows 14 days for corrections. License endorsement requests and incidents on a background check need police review. 
  • All applications will be closed if they are not completed within 12 months.

Once application is approved, Excise and Licenses will notify both the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Fire Department regarding your application.

Your packet will be reviewed by a representative of the Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE). You will be contacted directly by DDPHE within 7-10 business days of submitting the packet to gather additional information or approve the unit for operation. (No physical inspection required by the Department of Public Health and Environment)

Step 7.Required inspections

Starting January 1, 2023, all new applicants are required to schedule and pass a fire safety inspection. A courtesy safety inspection can also be scheduled upon request. You will need to contact the Denver Fire Department (DFD) via email at dfdmobiles@denvergov.org to schedule your in-person fire safety inspection. This can be done simultaneously with DDPHE’s review.

The Denver Fire Mobile Retail Food Vendor Inspection List can be downloaded(PDF, 151KB) for your guidance.

Step 8.Day of inspection

Please review the Denver Fire Food Truck Inspection Checklist(PDF, 155KB) or Denver Fire Food Truck Inspection Checklist Spanish(PDF, 163KB) before scheduling your fire safety inspection. Any questions regarding the checklist can be answered by emailing the food truck inspector at dfdmobiles@denvergov.org.

You will need to bring the record number you were provided for your application.

Step 9.License issuance

Once the unit has been approved by DFD during the physical inspection and remotely by DDPHE, a license will be issued for the mobile unit by Excise and Licenses via email within 5 business days.

Mail application

Step 1.Before you apply

  • Read the ordinance for this license under "Municipal Code" on the right side of the page to make sure this license is right for you.

Step 2.Propane permit online application

  • Complete an online propane permit application. You will log in and click on "Fire". You will then click on "Apply for Operational Permits". From the list, select "Fire Prevention Flammable Operational Permit" and click on "Continue Application". You will go through the application. A copy of your registration, driver's license and current fire suppression inspection report will need to be attached to your fire permit application. You will receive an invoice via email to pay online. These documents will also walk you through the online process for the propane permit. How to apply for a propane permit English(PDF, 2MB), How to apply for a propane permit Spanish(PDF, 2MB) and New Process for propane permits(PDF, 157KB).
  • If you do not use propane, please email DFDMobiles@denvergov.org to obtain a propane exemption letter.
  • Do not pay until you receive an invoice for the annual $200 fee. The invoice will be sent to your email from info@denvergov.org. Once the payment has posted to your account you will be able to print, or screen shot your permit. You will need to have a copy with you while open for business. You will also need to provide a copy on inspection day. 
  • For your permit invoice or exemption letter it may take 5-7 business days. Do not apply for the propane permit or exemption letter until you are ready to have the mobile unit inspected.

Step 3.Gather all required documents

Make sure you have everything from the "Required documents" section below. 

Remember:  
  • All materials must be printed and legible. 
  • Do not use staples in the documents.
  • Legal documents must be signed, dated and executed. All pages of large legal documents (like a lease) must be included in the application.
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Step 4.Submit an application

Applicants can mail their application with fees to:
City and County of Denver
Department of Excise and Licenses
201 W. Colfax Ave., Dept. 206
Denver, CO 80202
  • Make checks payable to: Manager of Finance
  • Include a current email address in case the Department needs to reach out with questions.
  • If renewing, include your business file number.
For questions, email licenses@denvergov.org or call 311.

Step 5.Pay required fees

Application fee:
$200

License fee:
$125

Step 6.City application review and next steps

Excise and Licenses tries to conduct an initial review of a complete application within seven business days. The review process might take longer if it is incomplete or requires police review (if applicable).
  • All application related communications will be sent through email, from EXLNotifications@denvergov.org. Do not respond to these emails as this inbox is not monitored.
  • If the application is incomplete, the applicant will receive a "notice of deficiency" email. This allows 14 days for corrections. License endorsement requests and incidents on a background check need police review. 
  • All applications will be closed if they are not completed within 12 months.

Once application is approved, Excise and Licenses will notify both the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Fire Department regarding your application.

Your packet will be reviewed by a representative of the Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE). You will be contacted directly by DDPHE within 7-10 business days of submitting the packet to gather additional information or approve the unit for operation. (No physical inspection required by the Department of Public Health and Environment)

Step 7.Required inspections

Starting January 1, 2023, all new applicants are required to schedule and pass a fire safety inspection. A courtesy safety inspection can also be scheduled upon request. You will need to contact the Denver Fire Department (DFD) via email at dfdmobiles@denvergov.org to schedule your in-person fire safety inspection. This can be done simultaneously with DDPHE’s review.

The Denver Fire Mobile Retail Food Vendor Inspection List can be downloaded(PDF, 151KB) for your guidance.

Step 8.Day of inspection

Please review the Denver Fire Food Truck Inspection Checklist(PDF, 155KB) or Denver Fire Food Truck Inspection Checklist Spanish(PDF, 163KB) before scheduling your fire safety inspection. Any questions regarding the checklist can be answered by emailing the food truck inspector at dfdmobiles@denvergov.org.

You will need to bring the record number you were provided for your application.

Step 9.License issuance

Once the unit has been approved by DFD during the physical inspection and remotely by DDPHE, a license will be issued for the mobile unit by Excise and Licenses via email within 5 business days.

Apply in person

Step 1.Before you apply

  • Read the ordinance for this license under "Municipal Code" on the right side of the page to make sure this license is right for you.

Step 2.Propane permit online application

  • Complete an online propane permit application. You will log in and click on "Fire". You will then click on "Apply for Operational Permits". From the list, select "Fire Prevention Flammable Operational Permit" and click on "Continue Application". You will go through the application. A copy of your registration, driver's license and current fire suppression inspection report will need to be attached to your fire permit application. You will receive an invoice via email to pay online. These documents will also walk you through the online process for the propane permit. How to apply for a propane permit English(PDF, 2MB), How to apply for a propane permit Spanish(PDF, 2MB) and New Process for propane permits(PDF, 157KB).
  • If you do not use propane, please email DFDMobiles@denvergov.org to obtain a propane exemption letter.
  • Do not pay until you receive an invoice for the annual $200 fee. The invoice will be sent to your email from info@denvergov.org. Once the payment has posted to your account you will be able to print, or screen shot your permit. You will need to have a copy with you while open for business. You will also need to provide a copy on inspection day. 
  • For your permit invoice or exemption letter it may take 5-7 business days. Do not apply for the propane permit or exemption letter until you are ready to have the mobile unit inspected.

Step 3.Gather all required documents

Make sure you have everything from the "Required documents" section below. 

Remember:  
  • All materials must be printed and legible. 
  • Do not use staples in the documents.
  • Legal documents must be signed, dated and executed. All pages of large legal documents (like a lease) must be included in the application.
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Step 4.Submit an application

Applicants can come to the office to submit their documents in person. Customers seeking in-person customer service should make an appointment. To make an appointment, visit the appointments website. The Excise and Licenses office is at 201 W Colfax Ave., on the second floor of the Wellington Webb Municipal Building. 
 
Customers can pay their fees after they receive an invoice. Visit the online payments process page for more information.
  • Make sure that you have a bank account, Mastercard, Visa, or Discover card to pay online. 
Applicants are encouraged to pay their fees online, but in-person payments are available. After receiving an invoice, customers can go to the Community Planning and Development cashier counter on the second floor of the Wellington Webb Municipal Building. Cashiers are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Cash, checks (payable to “Manager of Finance”), Visa, Mastercard, and Discover card are all accepted.
For questions, email licenses@denvergov.org or call 311.

Step 5.Pay required fees

Application fee:
$200

License fee:
$125

Step 6.City application review and next steps

Excise and Licenses tries to conduct an initial review of a complete application within seven business days. The review process might take longer if it is incomplete or requires police review (if applicable).
  • All application related communications will be sent through email, from EXLNotifications@denvergov.org. Do not respond to these emails as this inbox is not monitored.
  • If the application is incomplete, the applicant will receive a "notice of deficiency" email. This allows 14 days for corrections. License endorsement requests and incidents on a background check need police review. 
  • All applications will be closed if they are not completed within 12 months.

Once application is approved, Excise and Licenses will notify both the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Fire Department regarding your application.

Your packet will be reviewed by a representative of the Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE). You will be contacted directly by DDPHE within 7-10 business days of submitting the packet to gather additional information or approve the unit for operation. (No physical inspection required by the Department of Public Health and Environment)

Step 7.Required inspections

Starting January 1, 2023, all new applicants are required to schedule and pass a fire safety inspection. A courtesy safety inspection can also be scheduled upon request. You will need to contact the Denver Fire Department (DFD) via email at dfdmobiles@denvergov.org to schedule your in-person fire safety inspection. This can be done simultaneously with DDPHE’s review.

The Denver Fire Mobile Retail Food Vendor Inspection List can be downloaded(PDF, 151KB) for your guidance.

Step 8.Day of inspection

Please review the Denver Fire Food Truck Inspection Checklist(PDF, 155KB) or Denver Fire Food Truck Inspection Checklist Spanish(PDF, 163KB) before scheduling your fire safety inspection. Any questions regarding the checklist can be answered by emailing the food truck inspector at dfdmobiles@denvergov.org.

You will need to bring the record number you were provided for your application.

Step 9.License issuance

Once the unit has been approved by DFD during the physical inspection and remotely by DDPHE, a license will be issued for the mobile unit by Excise and Licenses via email within 5 business days.

  • All fabrication of mobile unit must be complete before submitting application.
  • You must have a permanent license plate number for your vehicle.
  • Obtain your propane permit or exemption letter from the Denver Fire Department to submit with the application.  
  • Mobile plan review packet(PDF, 905KB). Please make sure all required documents are submitted with application.
  • All pictures submitted must be in color and printed on 8.5" x 11" paper. 1 photo per page.
  • Pictures of all 4 sides of the truck from the outside. Include a picture of the license plate. 2 pictures of the inside.
  • A copy of your registration and driver's license will need to be attached to your online fire permit application.

If you have questions for either of these departments prior to your appointment, you may reach them at:

  • Department of Public Health and Environment - (720) 913-1311
  • Denver Fire Department - (720) 454-6692

Basic Requirements are as follows (contact the Denver Fire Department for applicable requirements):

  1. All food trucks and/or carts shall have an approved fire extinguisher that has been inspected on a yearly basis by a Denver Fire Department licensed fire extinguisher company or,
  2. Fire extinguishers bought from a retail store shall have the receipt showing the date of purchase. This extinguisher is good for one year only, or can be inspected on a yearly basis.
  3. Fire extinguisher shall be a minimum of 2A: 10BC Classification that is mounted to the vehicle in the appropriate bracket.
  4. All hood extinguishing systems shall be inspected every six months by a Denver Fire Department licensed inspection company.
  5. Any cooking or re-heating operations that produces grease laden vapors (Including but not limited to Frying of any type) will be required to have a Class I hood installed with an approved Fire Suppression System and a Class K fire extinguisher will also be required to be mounted to the vehicle in an appropriate Class K bracket.
  6. Any solid fuel cooking (including but not limited to wood or wood pellets) shall have a Class K rated fire extinguisher AND a minimum 2A: 10BC class Dry Chemical extinguisher that is mounted to the vehicle in an appropriate 2A: 10BC bracket.
  7. Propane tanks shall be mounted securely to truck or cart by metal strap and must be protected from vehicle impact. Bungee cords and fabric tie down straps are not acceptable to secure Propane tanks (contact the Denver Fire Department for applicable requirements).
  8. All propane lines must be installed in accordance with Denver Fire Department policy and NFPA requirements (contact the Denver Fire Department for applicable requirements).

Fire Code Inspections draw from the International Fire Code, Denver Fire Code Amendments and applicable NFPA codes.

  • For Questions and information regarding Retail Food Mobile inspections that are conducted by the Denver Fire Department, please call (720) 913-3474 and ask to speak to a Mobile Retail Food inspector.

License must be displayed

Excise and Licenses will email a professional license to all licensees. This license (or a clear picture of it) must always be displayed.

Requirement to keep contact information up to date

Email licenses@denvergov.org to notify the Department of any contact information changes (place of business, onsite manager, etc.). These updates must be submitted within 72 hours of the change. 

Requirement to renew annually

Licenses expire annually. It is unlawful to operate with an expired license. A renewal application must be filed before the license expires.