Mobile Food Establishments
Since a mobile food establishment is like a restaurant on wheels, many of the same code requirements for restaurants apply to mobile food establishments, including licensing. For this reason, it is important that all prospective mobile food operators take the time to fully research their new business prior to applying for a license.
Want to know how your favorite food cart handles safety? You can read inspection reports for mobile food establishments. These reports give you information on the conditions we saw at the time of inspection. Reports may not reflect corrective actions the establishment made, or the current condition.
Please review the following information prior to purchasing a mobile food unit and applying for the mobile food cart and base licenses.
New operators are encouraged to review the following materials before purchasing and/or building a mobile food unit:
- Letter to Prospective Mobile Food Establishment Operators
- Video for New Mobile Food Operators: English / Español
- Plan Review Guide
- Operational Plan
- Service Base Sharing Agreement
- Fresh Water Supply Tank Maintenance
- Mobile Base Log Sheet
- Certified Food Manager Information
To alleviate some of the financial burden on our licensed establishments due to COVID-19, we have reverted our license fees back to 2019 rates effective April 2, 2020.
- Complete the Licensing Application and Fee Schedule.
- Submit application and fee to the City Clerk's Office listed on the application.
- Submit your Operation Plan and mobile food cart and base plans for health department approval. Plans can be mailed to Environmental Health Division, 2300 S. Park St. Suite 2010, Madison, WI, 53713 or email LEadmin@publichealthmdc.com.
- Mobile food cart and base licenses are issued after the application and fees have been processed and an inspector conducts a pre-inspection and approves the license.
- For questions and/or to schedule a pre-inspection, please contact us at 608-242-6515 or LEadmin@publichealthmdc.com.
More information can be found in the Wisconsin Food Code.
Mobile Ice Cream
Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Mobile Licenses
DATCP State Mobile licensed (Restaurant or Retail) vendors are now exempt from additional Public Health licensing. A DATCP license is intended for those who will be operating and selling food or beverages in multiple cities and counties in Wisconsin.
Mobile operators who will only be operating within Madison and Dane County are required to obtain the annual Mobile licenses through Public Health.
Make sure to always have the current DATCP license with you during food service. Failure to produce your DATCP license while vending may result in purchasing a food license from our department.
It is important to note, that even with a DATCP license, you may still be subject to an inspection and a $25 inspection fee from Public Health.