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San Francisco Health Network
Environmental Health

Food Safety Program: Caterer Permits

A caterer is any person (or entity) who supplies food and beverages and/or related services to any off premise public or private function. Caterers are required to obtain a permit to operate from the Department of Public Health.

Obtaining a Permit

Refer to the Fee Schedule in the Helpful Links for information on application fees. Send all application forms and documents to:

  • Environmental Health Section
  • Attn: Food Safety Program
  • 1390 Market Street, Suite 210
  • San Francisco, CA 94102

To obtain a permit to operate, you must submit the following materials:

  1. Completed Application Form + Zoning 'Pre-approval' form (This form is to be submitted to and approved by SF Planning Dept. and accompany all other items listed #1-12 submitted to SFDPH).
  2. Completed Workers' Compensation Form
  3. Copy of caterer's Certified Food Safety Certificate
  4. Copy of Catering Menu
  5. Completed Commissary/Permitted Kitchen Verification Form by owner of catering facility
  6. Copy of Permit to Operate issued to Commissary/Permitted Kitchen
  7. Operating Schedule: days and hours caterer is operating at the commissary
  8. Floor plan of Commissary: indicate all equipment, sinks, and storage spaces
  9. Application Fee: check or money order made out to SFDPH
  10. Operation Plan: brief description of safe food handling practices in regards to the protection of food, equipment, and utensils from contamination and/or temperature abuses during transport from commissary to events.
  11. Business Registration Certificate


Note: Pre-approval form, Zoning Application, and Fire Referral only needed if caterer using facility not categorized as 'Commissary' or 'Catering Facility'. For example; a restaurant

**Important** The Caterer Health Permit is location specific and cannot be transferred to another kitchen without approval from the Health Department.  Application fee may apply for transfer of commissary.