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. Mobile food carts must also 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

Although each operation is unique, there are some basic items that are required for permanent outdoor food service like mobile carts. Read more in this helpful document.

  • 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

Submit all the following materials to Washtenaw County Environmental Health. Most of the documents are Word documents that you can open and type to enter your information, then print and submit.

  1. Plan Review Application and Fee (PDF)
  2. Plan Review Worksheet (DOC) (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 (DOC) (must be signed by your commissary)
  6. Certified Food Safety Manager Certificate
    • Food Service establishments must have at least one certified food managerial employee on the working staff at each location. Washtenaw County offers ServSafe certification courses, the class designed by the National Restaurant Association.

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.