Retail Food Licenses are required for businesses that sell, handle, or serve food to the general public within the District. Before you open a restaurant, begin a catering company, purchase a food truck, or install food vending machines, you need to obtain one or more licenses and permits. Without the proper permits and licenses, you could face severe penalties and fines.

The licenses and permits you are required to obtain vary depending on your mode of operation. For example, if you intend to operate food vending machines, you will be selling pre-packaged foods, so you are not considered a “food handler.” Therefore, you may not need the same licenses and permits that a bakery owner or food truck owner needs because they prepare the food they instead of selling pre-packaged food.

It is very important that you obtain the correct food licenses before you begin selling food. At the Law Offices of Paul D. Hunt, we evaluate your business to determine the correct food business license you need. Mr. Hunt works personally with clients to complete all necessary forms so that your business is operating legally and in compliance with all licensing requirements.

Types of Retail Food Licenses

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for Washington, DC approves food licenses for the District. In addition to completing the process with DCRA to obtain your food license, your application must also be reviewed by the Department of Health (DOH).

The DCRA lists business that must obtain a Retail Food License on its website as:

  • Bakery License
  • Candy Manufacturing License
  • Caterers License
  • Commission Merchant License
  • Delicatessen License
  • Food Product License
  • Food Vending Machine License
  • Grocery Store License
  • Ice Cream Manufacturer License
  • Marine Food Product License
  • Mobile Delicatessen License
  • Restaurant License
  • Class A Vending License

There are other food licenses such as a Food Vending Machine License or a Food Product License. Before you file documents with the DCRA, call our office to discuss which license you need for your business. Completing the wrong application could delay the opening of your business and cost you additional funds.

Application Requirements for DC Food Licenses

In addition to the general application, you must also meet all other requirements for obtaining a food license. For example, if you are applying for a Restaurant License, you must also complete a Basic Business License application and a Clean Hands Self-Certification. In addition, you must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy, Health Inspection Report, and Certified Food Supervisor.

However, if you apply for a Bakery License, you must also obtain a Weights and Measures Certification. While many of the food licenses have the same general requirements, there are specific requirements for some licenses, like the Weights and Measures Certification for a Bakery License. Another example is the requirement to submit a Police Criminal History Report, Site Permit, and Vendor Employee Badge when you apply for a Vendor License.

Knowing the exact documents and requirements for the license you need is vital. Having an experienced DC food license attorney handle the preparation and filing of your application and forms can help avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes and errors.

Get Help Before You Begin the Food License Process

The above requirements are not the only requirements for obtaining a food license in Washington DC. It is impossible to list all requirements for all the distinct types of food licenses on one page, especially given the fact that there are different requirements for each food license.

Instead of trying to navigate the process of applying for a food license in Washington DC alone, get the help you need from an experienced DC business license attorney. The Law Offices of Paul D. Hunt makes sure that you have all the legal issues covered when you apply for your DC food license.

We complete the documents for you, verify the checklists, and file all paperwork required to obtain your food license. Additionally, we continue to monitor your application to ensure that it proceeds through the proper offices and agencies of the DC government to ensure you receive your food license as soon as possible.