Does Your Child’s Lemonade Stand Need a Permit?

By Jedidiah McKeehan

How many of us have this quaint image in our heads of the classic American neighborhood? People mowing their lawns, kids on their bicycles, cars being washed, and a lemonade stand being run by a couple of middle school-age children.

We do not see too many lemonade stands anymore, but they may not be as easy to set up as they were previously because of food trucks.

Food trucks can be great. A mobile restaurant can set up shop at various events, however, several laws have gone into place to ensure that they are being operated safely and selling food that is safe to eat. One of those new laws is the requirement that food trucks obtain a permit to operate. Previously, there was a law that exempted minors from having to obtain similar permits to operate a temporary/mobile food or drink operation.

Unfortunately, that law does not exist anymore. The only law that even addresses children selling food is Tennessee Code Annotated section 53-8-121 which states, “Children eighteen years of age or younger do not need a license or permit to sell bakery goods, homemade or otherwise, soft drinks or other similar food commodities at public events.”

Great! Kids can sell food at public events without a permit, but is a lemonade stand in the front yard a public event? I do not believe that it is.

So if you are a rule follower, your child may need a permit to operate that lemonade stand.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including family law, criminal, and personal injury. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.