Dependent Food Service Operations Health Permitting

What is the process?

Step 1: Read and Understand the Operational Guidelines

  1. Read and understand the Dependent Food Service Operator Guidelines reference document.
  2. Read and understand the Shared Use Primary Food Facility Guidelines reference document.

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 primary 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 primary 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 primary food facility and then vend or distribute all food products from the shared primary 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 Primary 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 (shared primary food facility). The shared primary 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 Primary Food Facility Use Agreement Form

A use agreement form completed and signed by both the permit holder of the shared primary 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 primary 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 5: Pay health permit fee

The permit fee is due with the application. Please refer to the Environmental Health Permit Fee Schedule for more information. Click here to pay fees online (no additional fees).

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Environmental Health Supervisors

Leslie Terry

(805) 781-5553; [email protected]

  • Beach Water Quality, Cross-Connection, Land Use, Small Public Water Systems, Water Well Programs and Vector Programs

Aaron LaBarre

(805) 781-5595; [email protected]

  • Body Art, Food Protection, Swimming Pools and Spas.

Peter Hague 

(805) 781-5554; [email protected]

  • Hazardous Materials (CUPA) Programs