Frequently Asked Questions

sample imageBelow is a list of frequently asked questions related to our mobile food service products and services as well as the industry as a whole.  Please visit our Getting Started page for more information or questions left unanswered and we will be happy to assist you.

Why should I choose your company?

In a word - quality.  You cannot find better built trucks anywhere.  Where others use galvanized steel or aluminum, we forego skimping and use stainless steel.  Where others use vinyl flooring, we utilize seam-welded aluminum tread plate with coved corners. We reinforce all of the framing of our trucks, trailers and carts; use the finest materials and custom build each and every unit from the ground up. We work with each customer every step of the way to ensure ease of use, efficiency and value.   We could use a production line like other manufacturers, but we believe that each client deserves to have equipment ideally suited to their concept and menu, not a cookie-cutter design held to the lowest common denominator of standards.  When you have individuals working hands-on on a unit, building it to your specs, your vision is realized and our quality-control never falters.   No detail is too small to be considered and reconsidered in the scheme of the total design.  We consider your operation and build the most efficient, durable truck, trailer, cart or kiosk possible...and we guarantee health department approval of each and every unit we manufacture!  99% of the units we repair are from other manufacturers while our's are out in the field working.  That says it all.

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How much are your catering trucks?

Pricing of gourmet food trucks, catering trucks, motion picture location catering trucks/trailers, carts and kiosks can vary significantly based upon equipment and specifications chosen, options included and differing health department requirements which entail changes in design and construction, as pricing is provided on an individual basis.  Please call or email us for a quote.

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How much are your hot dog carts/vending carts?

Pricing and specifications of our mobile food carts will also vary based upon design, specifications and health department requirements.  You will find pricing of some common models below:

Hot Dog Cart Price Sheet (Adobe® Acrobat Reader™ Required).

Additionally, we can custom design and manufacture carts based on the needs of our customers and according to their health department requirements; please visit our Getting Started section for more information.

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Are your carts UL-listed?

In 2008 we discontinued UL listings of several of our carts due to changes in local State codes which prevented the use of existing steam-table-based hot dog carts within the State of California. Although such carts were reinstated as being acceptable in 2009, the lack of demand for the same has resulted in individual certification of each unit. Nevertheless, pertinent certification of each cart can and will be obtained on an as-needed and per order basis until such time that the sales volume justifies reinstatement of across the board certifications. In other words, any unit ordered through our company will be furnished with the pertinent certifications for approval in the given state and county of operation.

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How much does delivery cost?

Delivery rates are based on several factors: The dimensions, weight and value of the goods to be delivered; the delivery destination; time of year; etc. At the time of this writing, the average cost of delivery for most of our trucks, trailers and carts can be estimated at approximately $1.50 to $3.50 per mile, depending on the mode of transport (i.e., driven or flat bed delivery), for domestic orders.

Therefore, to calculate the rate which would apply to you, simply click "view larger map" link, click on "driving directions" and type in your delivery address to find the exact mileage. Multiply the mileage by the figures above and you should have a good approximation of the cost. To obtain an exact quote, please contact us and advise us of the product you are interested in and your delivery address; we can often provide you with an exact quote within a few days.

We work with several freight carriers, forwarders and brokers to provide you with the fastest delivery and lowest cost possible. Overseas and international deliveries may incur additional costs such as export/import duties, tariffs and port fees. If seeking a rate for delivery abroad, please advise us of your destination port as well.

We regret that we cannot provide our products and services to customers residing in nations with whom trade restrictions or sanctions apply. For more information about this topic or to determine if any restrictions apply to your country, please visit:

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Your prices exclude taxes and fees.  What are fees?

Our pricing excludes Health Department plan check and annual permit fees as well as Building & Safety Plan Check/Insignia fees (when required); these are not included in the purchase price. Pricing does, however, include plan composition, design and in-house engineering fees.

Other costs not included in our pricing are city business license fees and Department of Motor Vehicle registration, renewal and smog check fees. These costs are the responsibility of the owner-operator and vary from state to state and vehicle to vehicle. Various factors determine the costs of these fees, such as location of operation, gross vehicle weight and city tax and licensing fee schedules.

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How much of a down payment is required?

If financing through a third party lending institution, 20% to 50% of the total price will often be required as a down-payment with the amount determined by the lending institution based upon risk assessment. Of course, the larger your down payment, the lower your monthly payments, interest and overall cost. Finance companies are less likely to have prepayment penalties when compared to commercial lease brokers. In rare instances, 100% financing may be available, in which case no down payment is necessary - subsequently your monthly payments will likely be higher.

Lastly, if paying cash: we require an initial down payment of $5,500.00 to cover plan composition costs. You must also pay the full purchase price of the step-van (this amount varies depending upon whether a new or used step-van is chosen). The next deposit required is 25% of the kitchen purchase price. Finally, the remaining balance must be paid in full upon completion of the truck, trailer or cart and prior to release for delivery.

Please note: the information provided is for convenience only and is no substitute for thorough research and investigation on your part; Armenco is not liable for any omission, errors or inconsistencies in information provided herein. For the most current and accurate information please contact finance/leasing companies directly.

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Do you offer financing?

At present we do not offer in-house financing.

Given the tight lending practices of banks following the recent economic crises, finance and lease options have become scarce and limited. Nevertheless, Financing and leasing services may be available through third-party financial institutions and you are welcome to seek funding through such sources at your discretion.

Approval, interest rates, finance charges and terms are determined by the third-party financial institutions. Armenco Catering Truck Mfg. Co., Inc. does not participate in the review of applications nor determines approval, rate, payment structure or terms and conditions associated with the financing of carts, trailers, kiosks, vehicles and/or any other equipment or service provided by Armenco but financed through other companies or institutions. Questions, comments, appeals and disputes should be directed and addressed to the pertinent financing company using the contact information provided on the applications.

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Do you have distributors or showrooms in my area?

We do not have any showrooms per se. All of our work and service is provided from our North Hollywood, California headquarters and you are welcome to stop by and see units under various stages of manufacture.

We fully understand the concerns of out of state customers. Nevertheless, we work with each and every customer to ensure their peace of mind and to make their purchase as easy as possible. Furthermore, all of our trucks, trailers, carts and kiosks are designed to allow just about anyone to repair or replace components easily. We further our commitment to service by providing full warranty coverage for out of state units via overnight part fulfillment whenever possible and reimbursement of labor costs (certain restrictions apply).

To date our customer base has come to include almost every state in the union, seven countries and countless cities and counties -- attesting to the fact that our unsurpassed individualized attention and service works both locally and abroad.

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I don't live in California.  Can I still buy a truck, trailer or cart from you?

Yes, we provide our products and services throughout the United States, Canada and abroad, with the exception of customers residing in countries with whom trade is restricted (for more information on this topic please visit:

All of our work is based out of our North Hollywood, California facility and items are shipped via traditional carriers, freight or cargo. Our warranty work is also performed on-site at our California plant; however, as we understand that it is not feasible for our out of state and international customers to come to us for such warranty service or repairs, we design and manufacture all of trucks, trailers and carts in such a fashion as to allow our customers to perform routine maintenance and repairs with little or no technical experience and without the need for special tools or equipment. Many of our international and out of state customers rarely experience significant downtime as they know that parts, service and support are simply a telephone call away even after-hours, weekends and holidays when all calls are forwarded to our personal telephones. Parts are usually shipped out and received within one or two business days and the trucks, trailers or carts are often serviced and back to work just as quickly. We take great care to be available to each and every customer long after their purchase. Our relationship with our customers is actively maintained for as long as our assistance is needed... year after year.

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Do you sell used catering trucks, trailers or carts?

No, we do not sell used units.  Used catering trucks, trailers are carts are listed within our site's Used Section and sold by third parties. Again, to reiterate, ALL Used Trucks, Used Carts and Used Trailers available for sale are listed in our Used Section and sold by their respective owners - we do not stock the used trucks listed on our site unless otherwise noted within the listing.

IMPORTANT: Used mobile food units may be ineligible for health permitting once sold.  The cost of refurbishment when added to the purchase price will often be far greater than the purchase price of a brand new unit with guaranteed approval.  Always perform due diligence prior to purchase.  Just because a unit is presently permitted does not mean it will be transferrable. 

The good news is that since we specialize in custom work and refurbishment, a brand new kitchen can easily be manufactured onto an older or used truck chassis with considerable savings. Many customers use this as a cost-effective alternative to purchasing a new truck, often saving many thousands of dollars without sacrificing the quality, workmanship, specifications and warranty furnished with our new truck/kitchen combinations. We can find the vehicle for you or you may provide the same.

When viewing used trucks on our site, please contact the sellers directly with questions. Armenco is not involved in the sale of used trucks listed on our site nor do we have access to the listed vehicles.

Please Note: Armenco Catering Truck Mfg. Co., Inc. assumes no responsibility for claims made by third parties advertising used vehicles, carts, trailers or other equipment via Armenco further assumes no liability for any sales, offers or transactions, financial or otherwise, resulting from third-party advertisements and/or any consequences, direct or indirect, thereof. Armenco does not make any claims nor representations on behalf of advertisers; does not endorse reliability or guarantee performance of vehicles or equipment advertised herein; does not warrant fitness of items listed within the Used Section for a specific purpose; and does not provide any warranties for used trucks, trailers, carts or other such units or equipment unless otherwise explicitly stated in writing of a non-digital format, on official company letterhead. Pricing and specifications subject to change without notification. Additional costs not listed may apply. Inquiries related to specifications, pricing and details of listed items should be made to the individual(s) listing the item(s) in question and whose contact information is typically provided within the given listing. All other inquiries may be forwarded to Armenco Catering Truck Mfg. Co., Inc. via telephone, email or postal mail.

Please view our Cost-Saving Option Page to learn how you can save up to $20,000.00 off the price of a 2011 catering truck...complete with a brand new kitchen, guaranteed health department approval and a limited one-year kitchen warranty!

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Do you rent catering trucks, trailers or carts?

At present we do not offer rentals.  The best way to find a rental is to contact your nearest commissary (commissaries are the facilities where catering trucks and mobile food carts and trailers are stored over-night, cleaned and stocked) and ask them if they or anyone they know rents or leases mobile food units. Please keep in mind that most rentals are minimally equipped and prone to significant downtime due to mechanical and equipment failures; additionally, monthly rental fees are often higher than those associated with an outright purchase.

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I found a used truck/trailer/cart for sale, should I buy it?

Used trucks in suitable, operable condition are a rare find these days. As with all used vehicles, common sense and caution should be exercised before purchasing a used catering truck or trailer. If you find one for sale at a surprisingly low price, there are a few things you should determine before making a purchase. Please read carefully because some of the information provided below is not common knowledge and may not only surprise you but save you thousands of dollars:

  • Ensure that the truck is operable, in good working condition, and that routine maintenance has been performed regularly.

  • If any repairs are necessary, try to determine if they can be performed at a reasonable cost.

  • Always have a competent mechanic look over the truck before making a purchase.

  • Ask if a warranty is furnished with the truck or if it is sold As-Is. If a warranty is provided, ask what is and is not covered. More importantly, ask if having a catering kitchen manufactured onto the step-van will void or alter the vehicular warranty.

Many states do not allow a "cooling off" period during which a vehicle (new or used) can be returned for a refund or exchange. Most sales are final and care must be taken to ensure a wise investment. In lieu of this, some states have enacted protective measures for consumers, commonly referred to as Lemon Laws. Lemon Laws protect consumers in the event that an irreparably defective vehicle is purchased and a fair and reasonable number of attempts at repair or resolution have proved ineffective.

IMPORTANT: If you purchase a used truck you must determine if it is up to current standards, both mechanically (weight classification, appropriate title registration, state emission requirements, etc.) as well as in terms of the catering kitchen. Just because a truck is currently permitted does NOT mean it will be permitted for use after it is sold!

Determine if the truck will meet and pass your local health department requirements and inspection for approval and issuance of a license to operate without the need for further refurbishment, repair or customization. If additional work is required, get an estimate to calculate your final cost so that you do not end up paying more for the refurnished catering truck than you would for a brand new one.

If a truck is not up to current codes it will NOT receive health department approval for operation and will be practically worthless since it cannot be operated.

Please Note: Armenco Catering Truck Mfg. Co., Inc. assumes no responsibility for claims made by third parties advertising used vehicles, carts, trailers or other equipment via Armenco further assumes no liability for any sales, offers or transactions, financial or otherwise, resulting from third-party advertisements and/or any consequences, direct or indirect, thereof. Armenco does not make any claims nor representations on behalf of advertisers; does not endorse reliability or guarantee performance of vehicles or equipment advertised herein; does not warrant fitness of items listed within the Used Section for a specific purpose; and does not provide any warranties for used trucks, trailers, carts or other such units or equipment unless otherwise explicitly stated in writing of a non-digital format, on official company letterhead. Pricing and specifications subject to change without notification. Additional costs not listed may apply. Inquiries related to specifications, pricing and details of listed items should be made to the individual(s) listing the item(s) in question and whose contact information is typically provided within the given listing. All other inquiries may be forwarded to Armenco Catering Truck Mfg. Co., Inc. via telephone, email or postal mail.

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I regularly see old trucks operating.  How can they be permitted?

Older, outdated trucks which are not up to current codes can continue to be licensed under what is commonly referred to as a "Grandfather Clause". Basically the first time a truck is issued a health department permit, it MUST be up to the codes and standards of that time. Many health departments update, revise and add codes frequently. Since it would not be feasible for owners to refurbish their trucks each time the codes change, the trucks can continue to be licensed and operated as long as the original bearer of the permit/vehicle-owner continually renews the permit every year without any lapse in renewal.

However, once the truck is sold, the title transferred or the license renewal lapsed, the truck will no longer be approved unless it is refurbished and brought up to code. Additionally, the original owner may face the same potential problem if the truck is moved to another state (or in some cases even a different county); under such circumstances the truck would again have to be brought up to code to be issued a permit. It may sometimes cost more to refurbish a truck and bring it up to code than to purchase a new truck or kitchen, depending upon the nature of work to be performed and how extensive the refurbishment will be. Therefore always check with your local health department before purchasing a used catering truck or trailer.

PLEASE NOTE: We take great care to ensure that any and all information we provide is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge. The advice and precautions noted are general statements and have been found to apply to most county health departments. Your health department may have different requirements not noted here or the restrictions noted may not apply to you. The statements herein are for informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as legal advice or fully accurate in every circumstance; please contact your health department for the most current information.

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What are the plans for?

Most cities/counties require detailed plans of trucks, trailers and carts prior to issuing approval for either construction and manufacture of a given mobile food unit or licensing of a used or out of state truck, trailer or cart. Most county health departments within California require a State HCD Insignia prior to the approval and licensing of a mobile food unit. Therefore plans must be submitted to the California Housing Authority as well in order to be issued said insignia. Many states and counties throughout the country have similar requirements. We determine and handle all of these requirements for all of our customers, regardless of location.

We provide complete plan design, composition and submission services at affordable rates. All plans are professionally drafted using the latest Computer Assisted Design software and include detailed floor plans, cross sections, wiring, piping and gas line diagrams and illustrations of the entire unit. State and county plan composition, submission and insignia fees are not included in the prices of our catering trucks, trailers and mobile food carts and are payable directly to the applicable agencies. As requirements vary, the drawings required, level of involvement, and degree of detail needed for each plan also differs and, as such, can affect pricing. Please view our Planning Page learn more about this service and to obtain a quote.

To learn what current codes and regulation requirements are within your area, contact your local health department. Most health departments have websites listing current county codes, guidelines, pricing schedules, health inspector directories and other helpful information.

California customers may be interested in perusing the most current regulations at:
Please note: while the Cal Code is a statewide set of regulations, each county may interpret sections differently and impose more stringent requirements as deemed appropriate.

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Do your trucks meet Federal requirements?

You may come across companies claiming their units meet "Federal Requirements". This claim results in confusion as some believe that there is an overarching Federal standard which supersedes state or county requirements and may be a way to ensure compliance throughout the United States. The fact of the matter is that Federal standards, insomuch as they apply to catering trucks, deal with building and safety standards, not health requirements mandated by States and Counties. In this respect, yes, every unit we manufacture meets Federal Building and Safety requirements and is furnished with an insignia bearing a unique serial number verifying said compliance. For daily operation and retail sales, however, each unit must be permitted and up to code within each county of operation. In some cases a temporary permit may be obtained rather than an annual permit. We will discuss your needs in detail to determine which avenue to pursue for permitting and compliance and will work with you and for you every step of the way.

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Do you sell parts?

Yes, we stock parts for mobile food carts and trailers, motion picture and catering trucks and other mobile food related units and can ship them via ground or air delivery. These range from custom-manufactured service doors to hinges; gas-arms to diamond-plated sheet metal paneling; oven knobs to coffee handles...and much more. We carry virtually everything and anything. Certain hard to find items can also be special ordered and we carry numerous catalogs in-house which customers are free to peruse when visiting our facility. Look for our online parts database coming soon. Until then, visit our Parts and Repairs Page for more information.

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Do you provide repairs or service?

Yes, we provide complete repair, maintenance and service work for all makes and models of catering trucks, motion picture trucks, hot dog carts and trailers as well as all other mobile food units such as churro carts, snow cone machines, craft service trailers, etc. Aside from our manufacturing facility we are fully equipped to provide repair and maintenance services for mobile food vehicles, carts, trailers, etc. Drive-train, chassis and automotive repairs and service are outsourced to third-parties; we specialize specifically in repairing equipment, appliances and accessories related to food preparation as well as related fixtures such as gas lines, plumbing components, electrical units, etc. Visit our Parts and Repairs page to learn more or schedule an appointment.

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How do I start a catering business?

There are many steps required to start a catering business. Like any business, you must first do a bit of research to determine if the business is right for you, how much money you will need to start the business, how much money you can expect to realistically make, etc.

After your initial research is done, you will need to establish a Fictitious Business Name (your local county recorder's/clerk's office can help with this). You will then need to obtain a business license under the fictitious business name (or DBA) from your city. Then comes opening bank accounts; printing business cards and stationary; undertaking advertising and marketing etc.

These are just a few very general and basic steps of the many you will have to take to start a successful catering business. If you would like a complete step by step how-to guide, then we encourage you to consider the following e-book:

How To Start A Catering Business

This guide will provide you with detailed instructions on everything you will need to know before, during and after you start your catering business. As with anything, success is largely dependent upon knowledge. You will need to make many investments - both in time and money - to ensure your business is a success. You can take the very first step right now by reading and exploring invaluable information which will keep you ahead of the game in this highly profitable and competitive field. An investment of a few dollars now can help you bring in thousands every week! Click Here to Learn How To Start A Catering Business!

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What are your hours of operation?

We are open Monday through Friday, 8:30AM to 5:00PM, Pacific Standard Time. We are closed on major holidays of each year.

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Are you open weekends?

In addition to our regular hours of operation noted above, we are open Saturdays, by appointment only, to accommodate out of state customers and those who are unable to visit during our normal working hours.

If you wish to visit on a given Saturday, please call us at 800-345-0104 by the preceding Thursday (48 hours in advance), to schedule an appointment.

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Can you mail me a brochure?

Generally speaking, all of our current literature, pricing and images are available within this website. Since every truck, trailer and cart is manufactured to order and most of our orders are for custom-designed units, it would be nearly impossible to portray the unlimited number of different designs and options available in a brochure. The literature that is available consists of the same exact information as that contained within our site, including images, and are made available to walk-in customers and those who do not have internet access.

We strive to provide our customers with all the information they need to make the best informed decision possible. Whenever possible we try to accommodate requests for additional images and specific floor plan images with which one may determine the design and configuration best suited for their needs. If interested in additional materials please call us and we will do our best to provide you with your requested information promptly.

We frequently update our site and encourage you to check back regularly to view the most up-to-date information, images and pricing of our trucks, trailers and carts. With at least two updates per month, our site continually expands with added floor plans and photos and newly designed units. Our various produc pages are the best places to find more information and learn how to contact us to obtain detailed information specific to your needs.

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What is your lead time?

Many factors impact lead time including plan review, third party equipment and vehicle lead times and our production schedule/workload.  Generally speaking, six months is the average time it takes from order to delivery.

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Do I need a special license to drive a catering truck?

No, all that is needed to drive a catering truck is a valid Class A license.  A commercial or Class C license is required only if the vehicle is above a 30,000 lb. GVWR and/or equipped with air brakes or three axles.  Certain location-specific restirctions may apply.  You are encouraged to check with your local department of transportation for more information.

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Do you offer any warranty?

Yes, all of our units are furnished with warranties covering parts and labor for defect in material or workmanship arising out of normal usage.  Our warranty is concurrent with third-party warranties including, but not limited to:

  • 2 years/2,000 hours for certain generator models

  • 2 years for battery chargers

  • 5 years for certain refrigerator compressors

  • One year for most appliances

For out of state customers we honor our warranty via shipment of parts and reimbursement of local labor at a rate of $45.00 per hour pending remittance of an estimate of work to be performed and authorization of the same by Armenco at its sole discretion. Other terms, conditions and limitations apply and are outlined in each proposal/purchase agreement.

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