Mobile Food Cart Licenses

A mobile food cart is a food service operation that serves a limited menu, usually hot dogs, from a small open air push cart. Based on their limited facilities, mobile food carts only serve foods or beverages requiring minimal handling on site, and they must return to an approved commissary at least once every 24 hours, such as a licensed food service establishment.

Hot Dog Cart

Requirements to Open a Mobile Food Cart

  • A mobile food cart must submit a plan review packet, including a plan review application, fee, menu, standard operating procedures, drawing/layout of cart, equipment specification sheets, and any other applicable items listed below.
  • A mobile food cart must have the equipment and resources to ensure food safety for its menu and operation. Typically, this requires a method to wash hands, gloves, a method to sanitize counters or surfaces, a metal stem thermometer, methods of hot and cold holding of foods, and a method of covering and protecting food from customers and the elements.
  • A mobile food cart must have the cart's name and operator's address on each side of the exterior in letters at least 3 inches high.

Items Required for Mobile Food Establishment Plan Review

  1. Plan Review Application and Fee (PDF)
  2. Plan Review Worksheet (PDF) (This worksheet can also serve as your Standard Operating Procedures - SOPs.)
  3. Drawing/Photos/Layout of the Cart and Equipment Specification Sheets
  4. Menu
  5. Mobile Food Establishment Commissary Verification Form (PDF) (must be signed by your commissary)
  6. Certified Food Safety Manager Certificate

More Information

If you have any questions, please contact Washtenaw County Environmental Health at 734-222-3800. We are more than happy to help guide you through this process! In addition, there are a lot of online resources available to help you. Restaurants in Michigan are regulated under the Michigan Food Law of 2000 and the Michigan Modified Food Code. Becoming familiar with these requirements is an essential part of your operation!

For more information on food service licensing, please contact the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division at 734-222-3800.