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Classifying Mobile Food Vending Operations

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Classifying Mobile Food Vending Operations

March 18, 2015

In this edition: USRP directives for classifying food trucks and other mobile food vendors.

Based on the popularity of food trucks and similar mobile food operations, the WCIRB recently conducted a classification study to determine if a new classification can be established for the food truck industry.  (View the Report on Mobile Food Vending Operations.) 

The study found that mobile food vendors do not comprise a unique and clearly identifiable group of employers for which a unique classification can be established. The study resulted in amendments to the USRP, effective January 1, 2015, that provide guidance as to how mobile food vending operations shall be classified. Part 3, Standard Classification System, Section IV, Special Industry Classification Procedures, Rule 6, Stores, paragraph f, provides the following:

f. Firms that engage in mobile food vending for the retail selling of packaged and cold foods and beverages from food trucks, trailers, carts or temporary booths including the incidental storage of such merchandise, shall be classified as 8017(1), Stores – retail, 8078(1), Sandwich Shops, 8078(2), Beverage Preparation Shops, or 8078(3), Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt Shops, depending on the products sold. The operation of mobile food trucks, trailers, carts or temporary booths wherein hot food is prepared for sale to customers shall be classified as 9079(1), Restaurants or Taverns.

Rule 6.f provides that mobile food vending operations are classified using the same classifications that apply to food sales or food preparation and sales conducted at fixed locations. In many cases mobile food vending is performed by an employer that is also engaged in similar food operations at a fixed location. 

Classifications 8078(1), Sandwich Shops, 8078(2), Beverage Preparation Shops, and 8078(3), Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt Shops, each include a footnote that establishes a minimum gross receipts requirement for each separate location. These gross receipts requirements also apply to each separate truck or mobile food vending location. For example, Classification 8078(1), Sandwich Shops, contains the following requirement:

This classification shall apply to each separate location at which the sale of prepared cold food items for consumption on or away from the premises equals or exceeds 50% of the gross receipts.

Accordingly, if the particular food vendor, e.g., truck, trailer, cart or temporary booth operator primarily sells sandwiches that they prepare, 8078(1) applies. If the food vendor primarily sells purchased products that they do not prepare, Classification 8017(1) applies. However, if the vendor prepares hot food for sale to customers, Rule 6.f and the classifications noted above direct that Classification 9079(1), Restaurants or Taverns, shall apply – notwithstanding the percentage of sales of purchased items. 

Related Information

Classification Research Reports: Report on Mobile Food Vending Operations
California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995
Classification Information