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Mobile Food Establishments

In 2023 The Common Council passed new legislation related to restricted food peddler vehicle parking zones. Please see www.milwaukee.gov/foodtrucks for definitions, maps and application process for Type 2 zones. 

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.

Licensing Process

License application and fees in the City of Milwaukee are handled by the License Division of the City Clerk's office.

  1. Complete the Licensing Application and the Food Peddler Supplemental License Information forms
  2. If you are sharing a base kitchen, complete the Shared Kitchen Agreement. 
  3. Submit application and fee to the City Clerk's Office listed on the application.
  4. Submit your Operation Plan and mobile food cart and base plans for health department approval. Plans can be mailed to the Consumer Environmental Health Department, 841 N Broadway Floor 3, Milwaukee, WI, 53202 or email: [email protected] .
  5. 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.
  6. For questions and/or to schedule a pre-inspection, please contact us at 414-286-8327 or [email protected] .
  7. Parking in restricted zones Type 1 and Type 2 have additional restrictions; Type 2 parking is assigned and determined by The Common Council; see www.milwaukee.gov/foodtrucks .
  8. Mobile units licensed by another jurisdiction who wish to operate in the City of Milwaukee are required to obtain a Milwaukee Mobile Sellers Permit; to apply see www.milwaukee.gov/foodtrucks

More information can be found in the Wisconsin Food Code pdf.

Mobile Food Unit Requirements

  1. A Guide for Operators of Mobile Food Establishments: English or Español. 
  2. State of Wisconsin requirements can be found in Chapter 9 of The Wisconsin Food Code and summarized on the DATCP Mobile Unit Factsheet.
  3. City of Milwaukee requirements can be found in Chapter 68 of the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances. City requirements include:
  • Food Manager Certificate must be on the truck at all times
  • Food License must be on the truck/cart at all times; posted in window facing out
  • Size Limitations.  A motorized food peddler vehicle shall be 25 feet or less in length. 
    A pushed, pedaled or pulled food peddler vehicle shall conform to the following size limits:
    • Width including wheels shall be 4 feet or less.
    • Length shall be 9 feet or less, of which not more than 6 feet of length shall be used for the display, storage, or preparation of items for sale.
    • Height shall be 6 and one-half feet or less, excluding awnings or umbrellas.
    • DPW & MPD enforce parking; see www.milwaukee.gov/foodtrucks for a list of restricted streets & parking rules. 
  1. Mobile Service Base Requirements


Mobile Food Unit Requirement Checklist (English and Spanish)

Preinspection Checklist for Operators 

MOBILE FOOD SUMMIT- Virtual Information Session

                                                  Graphic of Food Trucks

                               It’s time to refresh facts! New operators & existing – employees & owners.

Please watch the recorded webinars. Linked below in English & Spanish.
After watching, if you still have questions please email them directly to: [email protected]


Reminders for 2024:

  • YOU MUST HAVE RUNNING, HOT WATER TO OPERATE! Even in the Winter. No exceptions.
  • Do not dump grease / liquid waste directly into sewers or streets.
  • Stop operating & immediately fix ANY leaks coming from your unit
  • Provide a customer trash can & pick up trash in your area
  • Park your unit legally and abide by any restrictions or rules.
  • Mobile unit must return to its service base every 24 hours.
  • If semi-permanently parked (at a food truck park or private property), a second service base license will be required for that location.

                                  ENGLISH LINK Click Here to Watch English:
                                 SPANISH LINK Click Here to Watch Spanish:

For questions about mobile food please use [email protected].

See updated presentation slides here.

Ice Cream Peddlers

Anyone vending ice cream, popsicles, or frozen confections requires an additional Ice Cream Peddler's License. This includes the individual person PUSHING a cart around, DRIVING a vehicle around, CARRYING a container of treats ,and the owner of the ice cream business. Persons physically conducting sales of ice cream require this license. This license is in ADDITION to the unit/cart license and service base license; they are issued by the License Division of the City Clerk's office.

Mobile Service Bases

Mobile units must have a Mobile Service Base (A place to fill your water tank, dispose of wastewater, wash utensils, and store and prepare food). This base is required even if all food is prepared on the mobile unit and is in addition to the license for your vehicle or cart. You cannot use a private home as a service base to prepare food.

Service base requirements

  • Food preparation facilities UNLESS your vehicle is equipped with Health Department approved facilities.
  • Utensil washing facilities (three or four compartment stainless steel sink with drainboards).
  • A sink for hand washing
  • A sink with a threaded tap where the vehicle water tank can be filled with potable water. Hoses must be food grade- no garden hoses. Recreational Vehicle (RV) and restaurant supply dealers are good sources for such equipment. Supply hoses need to be protected from contamination at all times and kept in a labeled, clean container when not in use.
  • A mop sink or waste drain for the disposal of wastewater.
  • Storage for food and supplies.
  • A food preparation sink may be required. It depends on the food menu.

Mobile Service Base facilities must meet the Wisconsin Food Code standards for floor and wall finishes, equipment, and lighting. If you are sharing or leasing a facility operated by someone else, the Health Department will inspect that location in your name. You are required to have a notarized agreement between you and the facility owner. It should specify the times that your vehicle will be using the base. If asked by an inspector, you must furnish information about the itinerary of your vehicle, so keep this information available at your service base.


Food truck complaint? Please see milwaukee.gov/foodtrucks , scroll to the bottom of the page to submit your complaint.

Consumer Environmental Health

Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N. Broadway, Room 320
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: 414-286-3674
Fax: 414-286-5164
[email protected]

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm

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