Food Cart Vendors

Vendor Regulations

  • Vending from the public right-of-way is permitted in 17 designated spaces within the City of Charleston.
  • Vendors are permitted to sell food or drink or reading material sold in conjunction with the sale of food or drink from stationary vehicles, carts, or devices placed entirely within the designated spaces.
  • Vendors are required to comply with all provisions of Article V of Chapter 17 regulating the vending from the public right-of-way and are required to be licensed.

Location Assignments

The designated vending locations are assigned the following ways:

  • Franchise - Once a year, the City of Charleston offers to franchise each of the 17 designated spaces to the highest bidder. Corporation Counsel provides the notice for the solicitation of bids in the early spring and bids are received generally in May. To participate in the bidding process or to receive additional information regarding this process, please contact the Corporation Counsel office at 843-724-3730.
  • Non-Franchised Locations - Licensed vendors are allowed to vend from non-franchised locations during the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Non-franchised spaces may be occupied on a first come first serve basis.
  • Vacant Franchised Locations after 11 a.m. - Licensed vendors are allowed to vend from franchised locations that are vacant after 11 a.m. on a first come first serve basis from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily.

Requirements for Food Cart Vendors Located in the Public Right-Of-Way

  • If employed, credentials establishing the exact relationship between the applicant and his employer.
  • Criminal records check pulled through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) within 30 days of submitting the permit application. This information may be obtained by mailing a $25 money order or business check to:
    South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
    Attention Criminal Records
    P.O. Box 21398
    Columbia, SC 29221
  • You may also make your criminal records request in person at SLED's Central Records Division. Your request should include your full name, date of birth, social security number, current mailing address, and phone number; and a recent photograph of the applicant showing the head and shoulders of the applicant in a clear and distinguishing manner. Make requests in person at:
    4400 Broad River Road
    Columbia, SC 29221


After providing the documentation listed above, applicants will fill out a business license payment form (PDF) and pay street vendor permit fees. Staff in the Revenue Collections Business License Office will help you determine these fees.