Temporary Events

A temporary food establishment is a food establishment that operates at a fixed location for a temporary period, not to exceed 14 consecutive days. Examples include:

  • A food booth at a fair, festival, sporting event, etc.
  • A temporary bar serving alcoholic beverages
  • A restaurant preparing food offsite
  • A private organization serving food to the public
  • Catering that requires food preparation outside of the licensed kitchen

Commercially pre-packaged items such as bagged potato chips, shelf stable bottled beverages, and wrapped candy bars do not require a license from the Detroit Health Department.

If you have questions about whether or not a temporary license will be needed for your event, please contact the Food Safety Unit at (313) 876-0135.

The temporary license fee is $250 and the application must be submitted at least 10 days prior to the event to avoid additional late fees. An on-site inspection will be conducted before the temporary license is granted and service to the public may begin. Please view the guidance document and video below for important information about food safety during temporary events. 

No home prepared foods are allowed at temporary food events 

Please visit the City of Detroit’s special events page for additional information.

Temporary food license documents


Catering is defined as a licensed food service establishment preparing food at their licensed establishment and serving at a remote location with no on-site cooking or other preparation. Please contact the Food Safety Unit at (313) 876-0135 if you have questions on whether your event qualifies as catering.