How do I open a restaurant?

Restaurant Permitting ProcessOpening a restaurant or food establishment can be a very long and confusing process.  There are several city departments (aside from the health department) that are involved and permits/licenses must be obtained from each of them.  To simplify this process, we've created a guide to walk you through the steps of opening a restaurant.  Please review this Food Service Establishment Permitting Process to see the departments that are involved, and the order in which you must visit them.

Aside from understanding the departments involved and the process of obtaining all required permits/licenses, there are some very essential structural requirements and operational policies from our State Food Code.  These include:
        1.)   A 3 compartment sink (or dish machine) to properly wash, rinse, and sanitize all equipment and utensils used to prepare food.
        2.)   A hand sink in the immediate area of food preparation and in the immediate area of where the dishes are washed.  If there are multiple locations where food is prepared, you may be required to have additional hand sinks located in different areas, based on their proximity to the nearest food preparation area.
        3.)  A mop sink or utility sink must be available to provide a way to clean floors and dump large amounts of waste water.
        4.)  An appropriately sized water heater to supply an adequate amount of hot water to all fixtures during peak demand. 
        5.)  Surfaces of the floors, walls, and ceiling must fit the definition of smooth, easily cleanable, and non-absorbent. This will also apply for equipment and appliances that are used or stored in the food preparation or storage areas.
        6.)  Lights in the food preparation area, food storage area, and coolers/freezers must be properly shielded.
        7.)  Doors to the exterior of the establishment and to the restrooms must be self-closing.
        8.)  All equipment, coolers, etc. must be in good repair and satisfactory working order.        
        9.)  The person in charge of food preparation at all hours of operation must be able to demonstrate active managerial control and a working knowledge of food safety when it comes to practices of the food employees.  This means the person in charge will understand the temperatures involved with all foods prepared, as well as proper hand washing frequency and glove use.
        10.)  The establishment must provide a Standard Operating Procedure for employee illness, cleaning schedules, equipment monitoring, and temperature logs.

These 10 items are some of the very basic requirements that apply to all food service establishments.  Additional requirements may apply based on the type of establishment, type of food prepared, and methods used to prepare the food.  If you have any additional questions about the process of opening a food establishment, please call our office at (417) 864-1017.

The Food Establishment Permit Application will need to be filled out and submitted when you are ready to begin the permitting process for your food establishment.