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Food Service Plan Review

If you are opening a new food service establishment or remodeling an existing food service establishment, you must go through the Food Service Plan Review Process! (See the Plan Review Process Flowchart.)

What is food service plan review?
Food service plan review is a process that new and remodeling food service facilities must complete to review the design and layout of their proposed construction or changes. Plans must be received and approved before any construction may take place. In addition, any new equipment must be approved before installation. Keep in mind that removing or relocating equipment such as handsinks, dish machines, and 3-compartment sinks may also require approval. The purpose of plan review is to spot problems on paper so that necessary changes can be made before costly purchases, installation and construction take place.

Which agency do I need to contact for my plan review?
If your facility is a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, catering facility, or other facility serving food directly to the public within Washtenaw County, you will need to go through the plan review process with the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division. The instructions on this web page will guide you through the plan review process. For specific questions or for more information, please contact:
Perri Boman: (734) 222-3881
Carl Walczesky: (734) 222-3872

If your facility is a retail grocery store, convenience store, party store, processing facility or warehouse, you will be working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) for your plan review. The MDARD offices can be reached at 1-800-292-3939, or you can go to for more information.

When do I need to submit plans?
If you are building or remodeling a restaurant or food service facility, you must submit plans prior to the start of construction. If the remodeling is cosmetic only, such as new carpeting in the dining room, you do not need to submit plans.

Items Required for Food Service Plan Review:

1.  Plan Review Application and Fee

2.  Plan Review Worksheet (13 page Word Document - just type, tab and print)

    • The Plan Review Manual (72 page Adobe Acrobat document) provides helpful information and instructions on how to complete the Worksheet.

3.  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) 

    • You must complete Standard Operating Procedures for each item that applies to your establishment. Use the SOP Template (1 page Word Document - just type, tab, and print), or supply your own equivalent procedures. SOPs help our Department understand how you will safely handle food. SOPs can also be used to help train your employees in safe food handling procedures.

4.  Menu

    • Submit your proposed menu. Remember to include a Consumer Advisory if you are serving any raw or undercooked meats, seafood or eggs.

5.  Complete Set of Plans

    • Architects/engineers can use this formula spreadsheet for help in determining required refrigerator storage space, dry storage space, and ventilation. 
    • Plans must include, at a minimum:
      • Proposed layout, with equipment identified (label sinks and prep tables with their intended use)
      • Mechanical plan (make-up air systems, air balance schedule and cooking ventilation systems, including hood, duct and exhaust fans)
      • Plumbing (hand sinks, food preparation sink, dish washing sinks and machines, water supply piping, hot water equipment, sewer drains, grease traps, and floor sinks)
      • Construction materials of such items as custom cabinets and any other built-in items
      • Interior room finish schedules
      • Lighting plan, indicating which lights are shielded
      • Site plan, including details of outside garbage storage area and containers, exterior storage areas, and on-site water well and sewage disposal system information when applicable.

6.  Equipment Specifications

    • Include manufacturer's specifications for each piece of equipment.
    • Minimum information for each piece of equipment must include the following (the manufacturer's specification or "cut" sheet typically provides most of this information):
      • Type
      • Manufacturer
      • Model Number
      • Dimensions
    • Indicate how equipment will be installed (i.e. on legs or wheels, fixed or flexible utility connections)
    • Indicate which equipment is new
    • Indicate which equipment is used
    • Indicate which equipment has third party certification (e.g. NSF or UL)
    • Include any available cleaning and maintenance instructions for food processing, cutting and grinding equipment

7.  Building Permits (if required by your local building authority)

    • Include copies of all permits issued by the local building authority.
    • Your local building authority must approve all ventilation hood exhaust systems.
    • Your local building authority must issue a Certificate of Occupancy and/or final mechanical inspection before the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division will grant final approval.

8.  Food Service License Application and Fee (for new food service establishments only)

Submit All Plan Review Materials To:
Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division
705 N. Zeeb Rd., P.O. Box 8645
Ann Arbor, MI  48107-8645
Phone: (734) 222-3800
Fax: (734) 222-3930

How long will the plan review take?

The length of time plan review will take depends mostly on the completeness of the information you submit. Once the information is submitted, our Senior Sanitarians will go through the menu, floor plan, equipment, worksheets, and standard operating procedures to ensure that all items are completed and meet current guidelines. A letter of approval or denial (detailing the information needed for approval) will be mailed within 30 days from your original submission. Additional information is required on most submittals, so please plan for this.

Pre-opening Inspection of a New Restaurant in Washtenaw CountyWhat happens after I get an approval letter?

The approval letter authorizes you to begin construction, as long as you have received approval from other required agencies (building department, etc). If you wish to make changes from the approved plans during the construction process, you must have these changes approved.

As you near the end of the construction process, contact our office to schedule an appointment for a pre-opening inspection. This is required to ensure that the facility was built according to the plans submitted. We do the best we can to meet customer demand, and can usually schedule this inspection within several business days.

At this time, you will also need to submit a Food Service License Application and pay a  Food Service License Fee if you are opening a new establishment. The fee is based on the square footage of the establishment. Although the paper license may take several weeks to process, you are considered licensed once the application and payment are submitted along with appropriate approvals.

When can I open?

Once you have received approval to open on the pre-opening inspection(s) and the license application and fee have been submitted, you can open your facility as long as all other required approvals are in order. REMEMBER: You may need approvals from the local building department, fire department, etc. before opening!

Once I am open, will I be inspected again?

Your Sanitarian (health inspector) will visit your establishment within the first month of your opening. During this inspection, your Sanitarian will review your menu and your restaurant with you. You will then receive a routine inspection approximately every six months.

How do I renew my license?

Your food service license expires every April 30. A renewal application will be sent to you in the mail. If you do not receive one by April 1st, please contact our office at (734) 222-3800 to avoid late fees.

Where can I find 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 2005 FDA Food Code. Becoming familiar with these requirements as well as taking a class in safe food handling will help you understand the inspection process.

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