This site demands javascript

Main Menu

Opening a Food Business

1 2

 Program Contact

Jim Armstrong MS, RS
Program Manager
216.201.2000 ext 1251

Food businesses operating in Cuyahoga County, with the exception of the City of Cleveland, are required to have either a food service operation or retail food establishment a license issued by CCBH.

If you will be operating in our jurisdiction and intend to open a restaurant or retail food facility, remodel a restaurant or facility, or make any changes which could result in a change of your license status or risk class (add new menu items, add or replace equipment, or change processes), you are required by Ohio Food Code to undergo plan review with CCBH.

Before you begin the process, we want you to be prepared. Please read the following to make your experience as smooth as possible.


Submitting Your Plans

Bring your plans to our office at least 30 days before construction is scheduled to begin. You must have these six things:

  • Two complete sets of the drawings for your specific location which show the layout, fixtures, equipment, plumbing etc. that will be used in your facility. Be sure to include the surfaces of floors, walls, ceilings and cove base.
  • An equipment list which includes the makes and model numbers of for each piece. All equipment must be National Sanitation Foundation commercial grade or the equivalent.
  • Menu or list of food and beverages that will be sold.
  • HAACP plans if required. Examples include serving acidified rice or using reduced-oxygen packaged products.
  • A completed Food Plan Review application.
  • The correct plan review fee.


Within 30 days after your plans are submitted, we will review them. If we require additional information or changes, we will contact you.

Once your plans are approved, you will receive a confirmation email and/or letter.

This letter only states that the plans have been approved. It DOES NOT give you permission to open or operate your business.


Construction and Permitting

It is your responsibility to be sure that all contractors and sub-contractors are licensed, if required.

You must also ensure that your contractors obtain the necessary permits for your specific location.


Along with contacting us, you should contact the local officials responsible for permitting and inspecting facilities in your community, including:

  • Building. This officer permits and inspects the electrical and plumbing fixtures in a facility. Contractors who work in commercial businesses must be registered to work in the community by this office. For example, in order for a plumber to install a sink in a kitchen, he or she must first be registered with the city building department and then obtain a permit for the fixture. In some smaller communities, building officials are contracted through the state.


  • Fire. This office will send a fire inspector to inspect the facility prior to operation. Consult with fire personnel before beginning a remodeling project or building a new facility.


  • Zoning. This office determines what types of businesses may occupy a space in their community. For example, property needs different zoning approval for a bar versus a church.


  • Mandatory Education. All food operations require a person-in-charge (PIC) who is certified in either Level I (Person In Charge) or Level II (ServSafe) food safety training or the equivalent. Click here to learn more about food safety education classes.




Pre-licensing Inspection

When your plans have been approved, you will receive an email and/or letter asking you to call us to schedule a pre-licensing inspection.

Please call at least one week prior to your anticipated start date to be sure that an inspector will be available.


Licensing and Opening

Once your opening inspection is satisfactorily completed and your license fee is paid, you will be able to open for business.


Resources & Links

Plan review application

Pre-licensing inspection – use this checklist to prepare for the pre-licensing inspection.

Risk Class Identification – this list will determine the plan review fee and your facilities food license fee.

State of Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code