This site demands javascript

Main Menu

Food Business – Frequently Asked Questions

1 2

 Program Contact

Jim Armstrong MS, RS
Program Manager
216.201.2000 ext 1251

What must I do to open a new restaurant or food retail store?

  • Submit two sets of floor plans to CCBH with a completed plan review application and payment
  • Contact your local building department for proper permits and inspections for plumbing, electrical, fire, etc.
  • Schedule a pre-licensing inspection with CCBH once your plans are approved
  • Pass your inspection and pay for your food license
  • Make sure that least one food worker for each shift has proper food safety education and certification


Submit two copies of your plans, a completed application, and the plan review fee at least 30 days before your planned opening date.

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.

Please be aware that CCBH does not license food facilities in the City of Cleveland.


Can I draw my own plans?

Yes, hand-drawn plans are accepted. They 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 two 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 your food license risk class, the type of equipment needed and the fee that you must pay.

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.


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 an indirect waste 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 make sure that the equipment you use has the proper capacity.

We also have to be sure the equipment is commercial grade. Home-style 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 to open a child care and will have food delivered. How much information is needed for the plan review packet?

Follow the checklist on page 2 of the food operation plan review packet. Provide additional details if you write “N/A” on the checklist.

We need information such as the name of your food supplier. We also need to know if you will receive the food hot or cold.


Can I pay extra to have my plans reviewed before others?

After receiving your completed plans, we can review them within three business days for an expedited fee. The expedited fee is in addition to the regular plan review fee.


I plan on starting up a mobile food business, do I need to submit plans?

Yes. However, traditional plan review is not required for mobile food licenses. The Mobile Plan Review 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.

Click here to download the the Mobile Plan Review application.

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.


 How do we get certified in food protection?

There are two type of certification: Level I (Person-in-charge) and Level II (ServSafe Managers Course).

Both types are offered at our main office and at satellite facilities by request.

Click here to visit our Food Safety Education page.