How to Get a Food License

food safety license

Among all the other items on your checklist for starting a restaurant business, securing the appropriate licensure is probably less exciting for you and your team than taste-testing new menu items or creating a theme. However, don’t overlook this critical step if you want to avoid legal issues and potentially costly fines.

If you plan to prepare and serve food for public consumption, you must obtain a food license from your local health department before starting operations. While the requirements to get a license vary somewhat by state, most areas have a similar application process.

Who Needs a Food Safety License?

Part of opening any business entails getting all the requisite licenses and permits. Failure to obtain these can result in penalties from multiple authorities or even prevent you from opening your business entirely.

In addition to standard operating requirements such as a business license and employer identification number, restauranteurs need a food safety license. That’s true regardless of whether you own a permanent, brick-and-mortar restaurant or a temporary, seasonal, or traveling business such as a food truck or virtual kitchen. Start by reviewing the FDA’s application requirements for your specific state.

On your application, you’ll need to provide information like your business name, your contact information, and an address for a permanent kitchen – even if you’re registering a food truck or virtual restaurant.

What Happens During a Health Inspection?

Once you’ve submitted your application and paid the required fee, a health inspector will complete a thorough, in-person review of your food preparation area before approving your application. They will check critical items directly related to foodborne illnesses.

  • Proper hand-washing techniques
  • Correct temperatures for storing and cooking foods
  • No cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, and utensils are clean

Management staff must have up-to-date training on food safety practices, and all employees must demonstrate safe food handling and preparation. The inspector will ask questions to test your knowledge.

Even after you pass your initial health inspection and get your food safety license, your local health department will continue making periodic visits. Remember, if you fail one of these inspections, you could risk losing your license.

Food Safety License Renewal

In some states, food licenses expire automatically, so it’s crucial to stay abreast of the application and renewal requirements in your area. Additionally, if something changes about your business – such as ownership or location – you will need to renew your license even if it hasn’t expired.

If you’re a first-time entrepreneur, an attorney who specializes in food and restaurant liability law can help you map out the steps to realizing your dream and ensure you don’t miss any critical permits or licenses, according to the requirements in your city and state.

Are You Ready to Take Your Business to the Next Level?

At The On Demand Company, we know the restaurant industry can be uniquely challenging. Success requires a willingness to evolve and meet your customers’ demands, no matter where they are. That’s why our services include delivery app integration, market analytics, and brand design.

Let us handle things like branding, menu development, and technology so you can follow your passion of making and serving food that keeps hungry diners coming back for more. Schedule a call with our expert team to learn how partnering with us can increase your delivery sales up to 200%.