Businesspeople who sell their wares on the street rather than in a store or shop are known as street vendors. In many cases, the vendor has a small stand that can be locked when not in use, or uses a cart that can be removed from the street at the end of the day. This type of vendor, also known as a peddler, is common in metropolitan areas, outdoor conventions and events, and on occasion, public beaches.
A street vendor, like any other type of business, must obtain a business license before selling to the general public. To obtain a vendor’s license, a businessperson must usually adhere to standards that would also apply if the company operated indoors. For example, a street vendor selling hot dogs would be held accountable for maintaining health code standards that would apply to any bar or grill selling hot dogs.
Health inspectors usually conduct periodic inspections to ensure that the street vendor is adhering to current regulations. A fine and a warning may be issued if the vendor is found to be in violation. The vendor’s permit may be revoked if the infractions are not corrected within a reasonable amount of time.
Vending on the street can involve the sale of a variety of items. Commercially packaged snack items, such as candy bars and potato chip bags, may be sold street food vendors. Hot dogs, sausages, fish and chips, chicken tenders, and a variety of other foods can be purchased and eaten on the go from street vendors. The majority of street vending businesses of this type operate with the help of a wheeled cart. The street vendor carts can be stored in a secure indoor location at the end of the day, then prepared for use the next business day.
A street vendor can also sell items that are unrelated to food. A cart parked on a city street can sell newspapers and magazines. Street vending near a public beach may be used to sell souvenirs or items such as sunscreen and sunglasses.
Street vending is as common as indoor retailing in some cultures. While many cities have strict regulations prohibiting any type of street vending, there may be little to no government oversight of the business’s operations or the quality of the items sold. Countries like Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the United States, on the other hand, have stringent requirements that all street vendors must adhere to in order to stay in business.