Food & Restaurants

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Licensing Requirements

Applicants for restaurants, retail food, farmer’s market, temporary food events, hotels/motels, and public swimming pool licenses should follow the following procedure to meet Health Department requirements:

  1. Obtain an application from us or access the electronic forms below.
  2. Complete the form and return it with the appropriate fee to WHD.
  3. If available, plans of the establishment may be submitted to WHD for review and conformance with current health codes.
  4. The WHD sanitarian will contact the applicant to establish an estimated opening date and to arrange for a pre-licensing on-site inspection. Contact WHD to schedule.
  5. The sanitarian will perform a pre-licensing inspection of the establishment. The initial pre-licensing inspection shall be made within 30 days after the license application is received.
  6. The applicant is then advised in writing of deficiencies noted during the inspection. The sanitarian will inform the applicant of the corrective actions needed and arrange a time for a follow-up inspection.
  7. When the establishment and applicant have complied with current health code requirements, the license will be approved. Approval will be noted on the final pre-licensing inspection report form.
  8. WHD will issue the license when all required approvals are received. Most licenses require additional approvals by other City departments.
  9. The license year runs from July 1 through June 30; renewal applications are sent out to current license holders in May.

License Application Forms

Refer to A Guide to Selling Food in the City of Wauwatosa for information regarding City of Wauwatosa approvals required for opening a food or restaurant business.


WHD inspects over 450 city and state licensed establishments to ensure adherence to federal, state, and local codes and safety guidelines. The establishments that are inspected at least annually include:

  • Restaurants and retail food establishments
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Temporary food events
  • Hotels/motels
  • Public swimming pools
  • Vending machines
  • School cafeterias

Read the WHD Restaurant Inspection Brochure for what to expect during a restaurant inspection.

Safe Food Resources

These resources are designed for food establishment managers to train their own staff. The program uses 15 teaching units to educate food staff on the most critical food safety areas.

For additional information, view the Safe Food Crew Trainer Guide.

Training Modules:

  1. Handwashing: English | Spanish
  2. Employee Illness: English | Spanish
  3. Bare-Hand Contact with Food: English | Spanish
  4. Utensil Washing: English | Spanish
  5. Personal Hygiene: English | Spanish
  6. Thermometers: English | Spanish
  7. Safe Cooking: English | Spanish
  8. Reheating: English | Spanish
  9. Hot and Cold Holding: English | Spanish
  10. Safe Cooling: English | Spanish
  11. Date Marking: English | Spanish
  12. Safe Handling of Raw Animal Foods: English | Spanish
  13. Safe Storage of Raw Animal Foods: English | Spanish
  14. Food Surface Sanitizing: English | Spanish
  15. Foodborne Illness: English | Spanish

For additional information, contact WHD. Food establishments that complete the program requirements are eligible for local recognition.

WHD Food Scoop Newsletters

Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of recalled food items on their website. The FDA site also has an option to sign up to be alerted of new recalled food products.

Questions and Complaints

To ask a question or to file a complaint, contact WHD.


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