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Money-Making Tips for Mobile Food Vendors on the 4th of July

Take Advantage of Independence Day Celebrations with Your Mobile Food Cart

Independence Day celebrations are some of the biggest outdoor crowd gatherings in the country. From large publicized events like the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular and Ohio’s Red, White, and Boom to small-town festivals, just about every municipality has some sort of fireworks display to commemorate our independence.

As a mobile food cart vendor, you can take advantage of these celebrations to provide concession food to attendees. Consider setting up your street vendor cart in some unexpected locations to make big profits.

man smiles standing in his food truck.

The Importance of Securing Your Street Vendor License

Before you get started, you need to make sure you have the proper food cart business license to sell food, as well as permission from the property owner to sell food in your chosen spot. Check with your local municipality on vendor permits and restrictions. It’s also a good idea to discuss your plans with an attorney to make sure you have all your bases covered.

The last thing you want is to have your food cart shut down due to legal violations. Once you have the regulatory issues taken care of, it’s time to start thinking of where to sell.

family grabs food from a food vendor and smiles.

Profitable Places to Set Up Your Mobile Food Cart for Independence Day

For Fourth of July vendors, it's important to choose a strategic place to set up your food cart. If your city has a designated official fireworks viewing location, such as a city park, that might be the place to start – but remember that there may be laws in place prohibiting street vending in the park, especially if there is an existing city-operated concession stand there.

If those laws do not apply locally, you still might find you run into more competition in the official spot. So consider these other lesser-known spots where people gather to watch the show:

  • Riverbanks and other overlooks
  • Parking lots for nearby businesses
  • Lakes or marinas
  • Private property

a red, white and blue slushie drink on a wooden table.

4th of July Menu Ideas for Mobile Food Carts

Traditional concession foods are likely to perform well with visitors at fireworks events. Think easily portable items both for you and for customers, who will be eating on the go. Hot dogs, French fries, funnel cakes, cotton candy, and popcorn are all excellent options. If you have a warmer/oven, you could even take orders for whole pizzas or pizza by the slice and “deliver” to customers at their lawn chairs or blankets.

Don’t forget about cold treats too, especially if the weather is hot. Sno-Kones®, shave ice, and slush drinks will be appreciated.

One way to fully embrace the holiday and attract more attention is to create special red and blue beverages and treats. It doesn’t take much extra work and adds a fun and surprising experience for customers. Try these ideas:

  • Make patriotic popcorn in a variety of ways. You can use Glaze Pop® or Corn Treats to create rich red, white, and blue colors, or coat popcorn with White Chocolate Wafers and top with red and blue sprinkles.
  • Spin Cherry Berry and Boo Blue Flossugar and combine them into a red and blue treat.
  • Create Patriotic Pop slush with your Frusheez® machine. This recipe calls for three flavors, but if you have a twin bowl machine instead of a triple, simply skip the white citrus and go for red and blue.
  • Use a red and blue flavor of Sno-Kone® syrup or Hawaii’s Finest® flavor concentrates for Sno-Kones and shave ice. For shave ice, in particular, you could add a special touch by topping with condensed milk.

The Fourth of July is a great opportunity for mobile food vendors to turn a profit. Use these suggestions as jumping-off points for your own creativity or browse our Concession Insights to find even more ideas for marketing and selling concession foods.