How to start a food truck business in Portugal in 7 steps

Food trucks are on the rise! In Portugal, as elsewhere, these small ambulant catering trucks, synonymous with conviviality and greed, have conquered the entire planet, and everyone wants to open his own. Not a single market, not an outdoor event unfolds today without them participating in the party, for our greatest pleasure. There is even a food truck festival in Lisbon. In view of this proven success, you too may imagine you join the family of food truck owners and make it your freelance activity in Portugal. Food, drink, tasting, there are as many ideas to open a food truck as steps to make to get there. How to start a food truck business in Portugal ? What are the steps to start an itinerant catering activity ? Lisbob, the expatriate assistant in Portugal tells you everything to start a food truck business inPortugal in 7 steps. Let’s go !


You will know everything about food truck business in Portugal

You will know everything about food truck business in Portugal


1. Request an authorisation in Town Hall


Did you find the world's best food truck concept idea? Perfect ! Before you can discover your catering offer to your customers, it will take some steps. First of all, you must go to your Town Hall (Câmara Municipal) to ask permission to start a food truck business in your city. In fact, to prevent their streets and sidewalks from turning into a giant terrace, municipalities limit the number of permits for trade and itinerant sale of food and drink. In some big cities like in Lisbon you can thus find yourself with a zone of exploitation limited to certain districts only, each Freguesia managing its space as it wishes it.


2. Be lucky !


Requesting permission to set up your food truck business at the town hall will not necessarily allow you to do it immediately. Because always in order to control the number of street vendors (which include food trucks) that could create too much competition to businesses already established in their city, some municipalities, such as that of Arroios in Lisbon, have set up a draw system. It will take a lot of fate to open your food truck at the perfect place. That luck be with you ! Bob's advice: do not hesitate to apply and try your luck in several places at once, so you will increase the possibilities of being able to open your itinerant catering business in Portugal.


Opening a food truck business in Portugal is quite challenging

Opening a food truck business in Portugal is quite challenging

Download Lisbob : the 1 st mobile app for expats in Portugal !

Download Lisbob : the 1 st mobile app for expats in Portugal !

3. Open business bank account

One of the most important step is to open a business bank account. As an expat in Portugal, it’s not easy to find the best bank. After years of experience and the feedback of many expats, Revolut for Business is the best bank for expats in Portugal.

You can try for free !

With any company plan you receive

  • Instant accounts: send, receive and manage your money in 29 currencies

  • Low cost transfers: send money around the globe, without the rubbish exchange rate

  • Corporate cards: easily track individual expenses

  • Virtual cards: manage payments for Amazon, Google and Facebook ads

  • Revolut Connect: integrate apps like Slack, Xero and more

  • Flexible permissions: manage permissions for unlimited users

  • Open API: build custom integrations that meet your business needs

  • Priority support: dedicated team, open 24/7

You can connect Revolut for Business to many application and software, have a Business credit card and manage all transfer with your mobile. The plan start as low as 6.99 L per month.

Bonus : you can try Revolut for Business for free for 14 days.

4. Go to Finanças to declare and register your activity


Once you have been drawn (and you have celebrated it!), You will have to go declare your new business of food truck operator directly to Finanças, that is to say the tax administration. You will have the status of self-employed, freelancer. You will have to wait for long hours, face an agent not necessarily nice and especially do not go wrong in the information you will communicate to open your food truck in the rules. Here are the CAE activity codes to indicate when completing your opening activity statement:


- CAE Code non-sedimentary sale of drinks : 56304


- CAE Code for non-sedimentary sale of food and drinks : 56107


It will also be important to pay attention to choosing the right accounting system. Between simplified accounting and organized accounting, the differences are mainly in the amount of charge that will be deducted from your turnover when calculating taxes.


5. Register at Balcão unico empresarial


This is the last step before the start of the real adventure. You must now declare your food truck activity in Portugal at the Balcão unico empresarial (BUE) or the contractor's one-stop-shop. It is a specialized public service which concentrates in a single place, delegations or extensions of public administrative services participating in the special procedure of constitution and licensing of micro and small enterprises.


In Lisbon this office is located in Entrecampos, to the right of the Camara Municipal and is open every weekday from 9am to 4pm.


All you need to do is fill out and sign the documents that will be provided to you by the friendly agents who speak very often at least English. It will also provide evidence of authorization of use of the public space by the City Council, as well as the declaration of opening of itinerant catering activity with Finanças. At the end you can start your food truck business in Portugal!



6. Find the motivation!


You just have to start now and open your food truck. Working as your own boss is a thrilling experience full of surprises! You will have the opportunity to offer new flavors to your customers as often as you want and where you want, that's the entrepreneurial freedom and even more having mounted a food truck. And while some mornings will certainly be more difficult than others, do you say that you do all this for yourself, and not for someone else, you'll see, you'll find motivation in no time!


7. Call Lisbob


Entrepreneur in the soul or accompanying spouse wishing to find an activity, the opening of your own food truck like any other trade will be an important step in your life of expatriate. Do not risk deceiving yourself in reporting your activity to the authorities and jeopardizing your dream of Portuguese entrepreneurship. Bob can take care of it for you and guarantee you a properly completed file that is properly sent to all concerned jurisdictions. Do not hesitate to discover how Bob can help you to make the adventure of your food truck in Portugal happen in the best possible way. In addition, Bob can help you to become known to the French speaking community in Portugal.


Lisbob’s advice: Take the time to learn about all the steps you need to take to operate your food truck. And do not miss out on one of the most important projects of your life: live through entrepreneurship and open the best food truck in the world!

Discover Lisbob’s library : books for expats in Portugal !

Lisbob is expats assistant in Portugal. Check out how he can help you !