Food vendor?


Vendors looking to sell food or beverages at the market are required to have a Special Event Food Vending license from the City of Philadelphia, and liability insurance.

Read on to learn about the details of these requirements and how to obtain them.



Does this apply to you?

Yes if you plan to sell or sample:

  • Cooked food
  • Sweets
  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Condiments
  • Any pre-packaged comestible

Can I submit an application anyway, without a license and insurance?

Yes, we will review your application without a license and insurance in place. If your product / concept seems to be a good fit for the market we would schedule a tasting and assist you in getting your license application started.


Do you have, or have you ever applied for, a TEMPORARY or PERMANENT Special Event Food Vending License? 

Special Event Food Vending License

In order for you to legitimately sell, sample, or give away food at our market the City of Philadelphia requires you to obtain a Special Event Food Vending License. We encourage you to apply for the PERMANENT license which is good for one year from the date issued. The total cost to get licensed with a “PERM" can range from $300–$600. i.e. Submitting your PERM application* to the Office of Food Safety for review costs $150. Once approved, the official license is purchased from License & Inspections for another $150. (additional costs vary depending on the hot water hand washing station you choose to purchase. A low cost DIY option is described at the bottom of this page.

* Prior to submitting this application you will need to have your CAL, Food Safety Certificate, and proof of use of a commercially licensed and inspected kitchen — all of which is outlined below.

*** Make a copy of your application prior to submitting ***

Do you have your Commercial Activity License?

Commercial Activity License (CAL)

You can read more about eligibility for the CAL here, or you can begin your registration process here

Keep in mind:

  • Before you can register for the CAL you must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). 
  • If you do not have a City of Philadelphia Tax Account Number you’ll begin with that process here  before you register for the CAL here
  • As of January 2014 the Commercial Activity License is issued free of charge. 
  • The web registration for this can be fickle, but stick with it. When registering online the CAL is issued immediately. Submitting your application by mail or fax could take 2–4 months. Feel free to reach out to us if you have problems submitting the online form.

Do you have a ServSafe certificate? And is it registered with the Health Department?

ServSafe / Food Safety Certificate 

In order to apply for a Philly Food Safety Certificate you must demonstrate that you’ve completed a minimum of 16 hours of training for proper food handling, most people go through ServSafe certification. There are also other resources around the city to complete this requirement. Once you get it, or if you already have your ServSafe, you'll need to submit and pay for your application for a Philadelphia Food Safety Certificate (cost $30) which can now be done online here. The paper version to be submitted in person with a money order can be found here.

Do you have a commercially licensed and inspected kitchen in which you prepare your food?

Commercially Licensed & Inspected Kitchen / Commissary Verification

You’ll either need to arrange to use a kitchen that is inspected by the Philadelphia Health Department, or provide a copy of a recent inspection report for the kitchen you use if outside of the City. One great resource for this is The Center for Culinary Enterprises in West Philadelphia. A number of our vendors use this commissary with great success. 

This also goes for pre-packaged foods outsourced to a third party food processing facility, you’ll need to obtain a proof of inspection from them.

Do you have liability insurance?

Liability Insurance / Certificate of Insurance (COI)

Franklin Flea requires that you obtain an appropriate insurance policy, including general liability, umbrella and workers compensation insurance, with coverage of no less than $2 Million per incident to address food-related claims. Your policy will have to name Fluxus LLC (and the landlord of the market space *) as additional insured, with primary and non-contributory wording and waiver of subrogation in favor of Fluxus LLC. Providing proof of this in the form of a Certificate of Insurance (COI) is required prior to your first day selling at the market. * Please ask for the full list of names needing to be listed as insureds prior to having your COI issued. 



Low-cost DIY Hot Water Hand Washing Stations

This option is accepted as an appropriate solution for hot water hand washing by the Philadelphia Office of Food Protection and used by most of our vendors. 

You'll need

1) The Coleman Hot Water on Demand Portable Water Heater
2) A bus tub (example)
3) A sink basket and strainer (example)
4) A slim jim trash can (example) or some sort of tall container to catch the waste water

The Coleman unit does not require electricity at the event site. The unit contains a battery that is charged in advance, and heats the water with a standard 465 g propane cylinder used for camp stoves. The water is drawn from a 5 gallon collapsable bladder included with the unit.

The Office of Food Protection

We encourage you to drop off your Special Event Food Vending License application in person at the Office of Food Protection (remember to keep a copy for yourself). Once your application is approved you will have to return to this location to have your booth equipment inspected. Either way the office can be hard to find, and it's challenging to get someone there on the phone, so this will help: 

  • GPS this address: 418 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • The office is on the 2nd floor of the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's building, located on the corner of University Ave and Curie Blvd
  • Their office hours are 9am-4pm but the front doors are often locked at 3:30pm. Also, keep in mind their office may be closed for odd city government holidays.

Picking up your license at L&I 

Once you've submitted your Special Event Food Vending License, and have been inspected by the Office of Food Protection, they will notify you that your license is ready to be picked up at L&I. The Philadelphia License & Inspection counter is located in the basement of the Municipal Services Building: 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102 [map]

L&I hours are:  Monday – Friday, 8:00am- 3:30pm
(except for the last Wednesday of each month when the hours are 
8:00am- 12:00 Noon)   

  1. Fill out this form, check the first box “Food Establishment (retail, non-perm)” for $150

  2. Bring it to the L&I counter along with your $150 (any form of check made to “ The City of Philadelphia” is acceptable)

  3. Explain that you've been issued a License Eligibility Report (LER) by the Office of Food protection and should be cleared to pick up your license.

  4. You'll receive your official Permanent Special Event Food Vending License on the spot.

*** Log this date in your calendar one year from now as a reminder to renew ***
Your copy of last year's application paperwork will help you zip through reapplying the following year.