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San Francisco Health Network
Environmental Health

Permits for Restaurants, Retail Markets, Bars, Bakeries, Catering Facilities/Commissaries, and Cafeterias

All restaurants, retail markets, bars, bakeries, catering facilities, commissaries, and cafeterias in San Francisco must obtain a permit to operate from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).  Permits are not transferrable.


Change of Ownerships
A permit to operate is not transferable. When a new business owner takes over an existing business, the new owner must apply for a permit to operate within two (2) days, otherwise a citation or further administrative action may be taken. 


New Installations and Facilities under Construction
If the site location requires new construction or remodeling, SFDPH is required to check plans and inspect the construction or remodeling.  In addition, you must apply for a Permit to Operate at least six (6) weeks prior to opening.  Existing permitted establishments that are remodeling should consult with SFDPH to determine if a new permit application is required.


Obtaining a Permit:

Online Food Permit Application Process (Coming Soon!)

Step 1 – Complete the application.
Step 2 – Sign the Form Electronically.
Step 3 – Pay the Application fee (if applicable).

Online applications will only be accepted for restaurants, retail markets, bars, bakeries, catering facilities, commissaries, cafeterias, and caterers.  If you need to obtain a permit for another type of food business, please find the link for the related food program or visit the Retail Food Safety Program page to find the correct type of operation.


SFDPH will only process applications that are complete, signed, and paid in full by the due date.  Please complete all three (3) steps above to successfully submit your application packet.  Once SFDPH receives the complete application packet, you will receive an email confirmation and a Health Inspector may contact you to schedule an inspection or request additional information.


Your application for a Permit to Operate will only be approved after the final DPH inspection and applicable approvals from Building, Planning, and Fire Departments are obtained.  After you pay your license fee to the Tax Collector, your Permit and Tax Collector's License Certificate will be issued.  Post Your Permit and current License Certificate in a location easily seen by the public.  Permits are valid when accompanied by the current license certificate.


Additional Information:

      • Detailed Instructions for the Online Food Permit Application
      • Food Safety Training Requirements - Information on Food Safety Manager Certification and Food Handler Cards.
      • Business Closures - If your business has closed, please submit a Business Closure Form to close out your SFDPH permit.  


If your business has closed:

If your business has closed, please fill out a Business Closure Form

For technical assistance or general inquiries in completing these documents, you may now schedule a 30 minute appointment with the Duty Officer.

Call (415) 252-3912 for an appointment.

Please bring all required documents if submitting an application or it will not be accepted.

Note: Your selected time will be forfeited if you arrive more than 10 minutes late.


Making a Complaint

If you would like to make a complaint you may call or visit 311.

311 City Customer Service Agency - Service 24x7

San Francisco Department of Public Health Environmental Health Branch