Scheduling Shifts on a Public Way

The Mobile Food Truck vending year runs from April 1 through the following March 31. Food Truck schedules operate on a quarterly basis; Site Licenses last for three months at time.


Vending Schedule as of April 1

Prime Sites: Live Lottery

The annual Live Lottery is held in mid-January. All returning and new trucks are invited to City Hall to participate in the lottery. At this event, trucks select the Prime site shifts they would like to occupy as of April 1.

  • To participate in the lottery, new trucks must demonstrate their plan to have a fully permitted and licensed truck ready by April 1 of the same year.

  • New and returning trucks must apply for the lottery at Boston City Hall, Room 603.

Timeline for Most Recent Live Lottery (January 2014)

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Non-Prime and Remaining Prime Sites: Mini-Lotteries

In late February, OFI compiles a list of all available shifts, including:

  • Prime site shifts not filled during the lottery;

  • Prime site shifts forfeited by new trucks that participated in the lottery but whose truck won’t be ready to be on the road by April 1;

  • Non-Prime site shifts currently available; and

  • Non-Prime site shifts dropped by trucks (asked to tell OFI by late February).

This list is emailed in early March to all trucks still on track to start the vending season on April 1. Trucks are given a few days to consider the list and tell OFI which shifts are of interest. Shifts of interest to more than one truck are filled by mini-lottery.

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Scheduling Rest of the Year

To add/drop shifts for the upcoming quarter:

At the end of every quarter (schedule detailed below), vendors have the opportunity to add and drop shifts without facing a penalty.

To add/drop shifts for the quarter beginning July 1st, Trucks need to meet the following deadlines:

  • June 15th – all vendors email OFI with shifts they would like to drop by filling out this form: Schedule Changes Worksheet

  • June 17th (or next business day) – OFI emails all vendors with all available shifts, including those previously available and those made available by other vendors dropping on the 15th

  • June 20th – all vendors email OFI with shifts they would like to add by filling out this form: Schedule Changes Worksheet

  • June 21st (or next business day) – OFI holds mini-lotteries for all shifts of interest to more than one vendor and emails results to vendors

  • June 22nd (or next business day) – OFI emails all vendors their updated schedule for upcoming quarter

  • June 23rd (or next business day) – Vendors confirm schedule

  • June 30th – all vendors pick up, and pay for, Site Licenses.

To add/drop shifts for the quarter beginning October 1st, Trucks need to meet the following deadlines:

  • September 15th – all vendors email OFI with shifts they would like to drop by filling out this form: Schedule Changes Worksheet

  • September 17th (or next business day) – OFI emails all vendors with all available shifts, including those previously available and those made available by other vendors dropping on the 15th

  • September 20th– all vendors email OFI with shifts they would like to add by filling out this form: Schedule Changes Worksheet

  • September 21st (or next business day) – OFI holds mini-lotteries for all shifts of interest to more than one vendor and emails results to vendors

  • September 22nd (or next business day) – OFI emails all vendors their updated schedule for upcoming quarter

  • September 23rd (or next business day) – Vendors confirm schedule

  • September 30th – all vendors pick up, and pay for, Site Licenses.

To add/drop shifts for the quarter beginning January 1st, Trucks need to meet the following deadlines:

  • December 15th – all vendors email OFI with shifts they would like to drop by filling out this form: Schedule Changes Worksheet

  • December 17th (or next business day) – OFI emails all vendors with all available shifts, including those previously available and those made available by other vendors dropping on the 15th

  • December 20th– all vendors email OFI with shifts they would like to add by filling out this form: Schedule Changes Worksheet

  • December 21st (or next business day) – OFI holds mini-lotteries for all shifts of interest to more than one vendor and emails results to vendors

  • December 22nd (or next business day) – OFI emails all vendors their updated schedule for upcoming quarter

  • December 23rd (or next business day) – Vendors confirm schedule

  • December 30th – all vendors pick up, and pay for, Site Licenses.

In keeping with the Program’s mission of encouraging new Food Truck vendors, please note that in these mini-lotteries, new vendors (vendors who are new to the program and have not yet received any public sites) will be given priority for the first three sites they list on their add/drop form.

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To add a shift mid-quarter:

Current Available Shifts

The online calendar is edited to reflect schedule changes.

To add a Prime site shift mid-quarter:

  • If interested in an available Prime shift, vendors can email OFI with their shift(s) of interest. OFI will address these requests on the 15th of each month (or the next business day), to be effective on the 1st of the following month. If, by noon on the 15th of the month, more than one vendor has expressed interest in an available shift, OFI will hold a mini-lottery for each Prime shift of interest. If only one vendor has expressed interest, that vendor will get that shift.

  • If a vendor is selected in a mini-lottery for a shift that conflicts with their current schedule, the vendor is able to drop the conflicting shift without penalty (assuming the vendor would not drop the shift if they hadn’t been selected in the mini-lottery).

  • In keeping with the Program’s mission of encouraging new Food Truck vendors, please note that in these mini-lotteries, new vendors (vendors who are new to the program and have not yet received any public sites) will be given priority for the first three sites they list on their add/drop form.

To add a Non-Prime site shift mid-quarter:

  • If interested in an available non-prime shift(s), vendors can email OFI with their shift(s) of interest. Non-prime shifts are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

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To drop a shift mid-quarter:

Food Trucks wishing to drop a shift mid-quarter will forfeit monies already paid: details can be found in the Rules of the Road.

Read the Rules of the Road

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Announcements

  • Info Session for New Vendors

    The Office of Food Initiatives will be hosting info sessions for new vendors in May, August, and November in the Boston City Hall in the BRA Boardroom (9th Floor) starting at 4:00 PM. We will provide a thorough overview of the Mobile Food Truck Program and provide an opportunity for asking specific questions.

    If you are considering a food truck business and have questions about the permitting and licensing process, please RSVP with your name and contact information to the Mobile Food Truck Coordinator, in the Office of Food Initiatives.

    View All Info Sessions

    RSVP Now

  • Want more food trucks in your area?

    Now you can suggest a new food truck location in Boston with our Food Truck Suggest-a-Site map.

    Suggest a Site