How to Open a Food Business- Frequently Asked Questions
If you are one of our business partners or are planning on becoming one, the following frequently asked questions will help you open a new business or remodel your current operation. Applications can be downloaded through hyperlinks in the text or by going to the Food Applications, Resources and Links in the left hand widget box.
What do you need to know about opening a new restaurant or food retail store?
- Submit 2 set of floor plans with completed application
- Once plans are approved you can apply for your food license
- Obtain food safety certification for at least one food worker for each shift
- Contact your local building department for proper permits and inspections for plumbing, electrical, fire, etc.
Submit 2 copies of your plans, completed application, and plan review fee at least 30 days before your planned opening date. Due to fluctuations in the amount of plans we receive each month, CCBH cannot guarantee plans are reviewed sooner than 30 days after receipt.
Use the checklist in the plan application and the frequently asked questions to ensure a complete plan submission.
When plans are approved, you will receive an approval letter. This letter is only stating the plans have been approved and is NOT permission to operate.
Send in your food license application with correct license fee. Contact your inspector or a plan reviewer to determine license risk class and fee if you are unsure.
Schedule a pre-licensing inspection with the health department inspector for your city. Contact information can be found in the plan apporval letter or by calling our office.
Can I draw my own plans?
Yes, hand drawn plans are accepted. Hand drawn plans must be drawn to scale, drawn neatly and all notes written legibly. We recommend starting with a large sheet of graph paper, a ruler, and a pencil. Use a scale of one square on the drawing to 1 foot in reality. After the pencil drawing is complete and correct, retrace the lines in ink and make 2 copies. Keep the original and submit the 2 copies. You may need to provide drawings to your local building department as well.
Do I need a menu or list of foods served?
Yes, we use the menu to determine food license risk class, fee, and to determine the type of equipment needed. If you aren’t preparing food on site or are selling pre-packaged food only, you will need to provide a list of foods you plan to sell.
I plan to open a child care and will receive catered food. How much information is necessary for the plan review packet?
Follow the checklist on page 2 of the plan review packet, and provide additional details if you write “N/A” on the checklist. Provide details such as the catering company name and if you will receive the food hot or cold.
How many sinks will I need to have in my restaurant?
The answer to this question depends on what type of operation you plan to open.
- There must be at least one (1) hand sink in the kitchen where food is prepared. More hand sinks may be required depending on the size of the kitchen. Hand sinks in the restrooms do not count as a hand sink in the kitchen.
- A 3 compartment sink with properly sized grease trap or a commercial dish machine must be available for wash/rinse/sanitize.
- A dedicated vegetable prep sink with a 2” air gap if fruits or vegetables will be cut on site.
- A dedicated mop/utility sink for mop water is required.
I haven’t purchased all of my equipment yet. Do you still need the make and model numbers?
Yes. When reviewing plans, we use the make and model numbers to ensure proper equipment capacity as well as to determine if the equipment is commercial grade. Homestyle equipment is not permitted and will not be approved. It is recommended you submit specification sheets for each piece of equipment.
Does my equipment have to be brand new?
No, equipment does not have to be brand new. Equipment that is “used” is allowed as long as the equipment is NSF-approved commercial grade equipment or equivalent, the equipment meets all current standards, and equipment is in good working order.
What size grease trap do I need?
Talk to your local building department plumbing inspector for exact sizing requirements. Different municipalities may have ordinances that require certain size grease traps or grease interceptors with requirements more strict than the Ohio Building Code.
I plan on starting up a mobile food business, do I need to submit plans?
No, traditional plan review is not required for mobile food licenses. However, the Mobile application process is detailed enough that it collects similar information. It is a good idea to speak with a food sanitarian before buying a new mobile food business to make sure it meets all standards. Download both documents (Pre-License Mobile and the Mobile License application) from the "Applications, Forms and Resurces link" on right hand side margin. The Pre-Licensing document is the first document you should complete and send in for review. There is no cost to this form and it will save you much time and money if you follow this process.
Can I pay extra to have my plans reviewed before others?
No. There currently is no fee approved by the Board to allow for an expedited plan review. Plans are reviewed first come, first serve manner. We may take up to 30 days from the day of receiving plans to review them. We encourage you to submit plans well in advance of your anticipated opening date.
How can my staff or I get certified in food protection?
You can take or send your staff to food safety classes. There are two type of certifcation; level I and level II. Both types are offered at our main office and at satellite facilities. For details go to the food safety education page.