What is this service?
A Dependent Food Service Operator is any person or business who engages in a lease or rental agreement with the permit holder of a permitted food establishment, or Shared Permanent Food Facility, to use the shared permanent food facility to perform food production and/or food service operations, and who supplies food and related services to the general public.
The Environmental Health Services Division (EHS) recognizes that there is a growing demand by caterers, food entrepreneurs, and other dependent food operators to have access to the County’s local permanent food facilities to prepare their food products. EHS’s goal is to make the sharing of food facilities by multiple businesses work smoothly, while ensuring that safe food handling practices are in place to protect the public’s health.
This service allows you to apply for or renew a permit to conduct a Dependent Food Service Operation within San Luis Obispo County.
Step 2: Identify Type of Dependent Food Service Operation
A Dependent Food Service Operator may be a mobile food facility operator, a temporary food facility (food booth) operator, may provide direct sales of food products at the leased or rented permitted food establishment or host facility, or may perform off-site catering operations.
- Catering Operation: If your plan is to store or prepare food items in a shared permanent food facility and then vend or distribute all food products exclusively at off-site private or public events and/or direct sales from permitted host facility (i.e., no direct sales at or delivery from the shared primary food facility will occur), then you will need to obtain a catering operation permit. Please note, direct sales at or delivery from the shared permanent food facility is strictly prohibited under a catering operation permit. Click here to get more information regarding obtaining a catering operation permit.
- Other type of dependent operation food service not indicated above: If your plan is to store or prepare food items in a shared permanent food facility and then vend or distribute all food products from the shared permanent food facility directly to the customer or via delivery service directly to the customer, then you will need to obtain a dependent food service operator permit. This type of permit will also allow catering operations, (vending or distribution of food products at off-site private or public events and/or direct sales from permitted host facility), however additional forms are required. Continue to step 3.
- lf you wish to perform any combination of the above services, additional permits may be required. For example, if you wish to perform both a catering operation and operate a temporary food facility at a community event, then a permit is required for each operation. Contact an Environmental Health Services inspector to determine what type of permit(s) will be required for your specific planned operation.
Step 3: Download, Complete, and Submit Required Forms
Complete and submit the following items listed below.
Click here to download all dependent food service operator permit application forms and documents in one packet.
Individual forms can be downloaded below:
1. Health permit application
2. Proposed menu and food service operations
3. Shared Permanent Food Facility Review Form
All dependent food service operators must store all food and equipment and perform all food preparation activities in a permenant permitted food facility. The shared permanent food facility will be reviewed for approval by this department prior to granting a permit to operate. The proposed menu and food operations will determine the facility needs of the dependent operator.
4. Shared Permanent Food Facility Use Agreement Form
A use agreement form completed and signed by both the permit holder of the shared permanent food facility and the individual requesting the a dependent food service operator permit is required.
5. *As applicable only* - Written Operational Procedures for Catering Operators
If your plan is to perform catering operations at off-site private or public events and/or direct sales from permitted host kitchen in addition to direct sales from the shared permanent food facility, then written standard operational procedures are required.
Step 4: Provide proof of food safety certification
Food safety certification is required whenever nonprepackaged potentially hazardous foods are handled, prepared, or served. The owner or employee must successfully pass a food safety certification course and provide proof of certification upon request for a permit to operate or within sixty (60) days of obtaining a permit to operate. A food handler card obtained through an online course will not be accepted. Download a list of food safety certification course options.
Step 6: Schedule Inspection
Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an inspection of your food service business prior to beginning operation.
Step 7: Await Inspector Approval to Begin Operation
It is unlawful to begin operation of a new Dependent Food Service Operation without first receiving approval from an inspector in addition to a valid Health Permit to Operate.
The inspector will grant approval to begin operation upon completion of an initial inspection.
Who can use this service?
This service is available to any individual wishing to obtain an initial permit or renew a permit to conduct a Dependent Food Service Operation within San Luis Obispo County
Is there a charge for this service?
Please refer to our Fee Schedule or contact our office at (805) 781-5544.
When and where is this service offered?
This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.
Please visit us, email us, contact us, or call our office to begin the process.