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Environmental Health

Permits for Retail Food Facilities

An application for a Health Permit to Operate must be submitted to the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) prior to opening a food facility.

Permits are required for food facilities including (but not limited to) restaurants, markets, bars, bakeries, liquor stores, school cafeterias, catering facilities, commissaries, and vending machines.


Change of Ownerships

The Permit to Operate is not transferrable. When a new business owner takes over an existing business, the new owner must apply for a Health Permit to Operate at least 30-days prior to the first day of operation. 


New Installations and Facilities under Construction

The Health Department is part of the Permit Center's building permit process. If the site is a first time tenant improvement, a change of use, a change of occupancy classification, or will be remodeling, a building permit is required to be filled with the Permit Center and the Health Department shall be added to the permit routing. Visit the SF Permit Center to apply for building permits.

Existing permitted establishments that are remodeling should consult with SFDPH to determine if a reclassification of the Health Permit to Operate is required. 

The applicant should also check with the Department of Building Inspection to determine if a new Building Permit Application is required for any proposed construction work.

Visit the SFDPH Plan Check Program page for more information. 


Online Food Permit Applications

The online application portal may be used for Restaurants, Bars, Retail Food Markets, Bakeries, Catering Facilities/Commissaries, Cafeterias, and Caterers.

Step 2 – Sign the Form Electronically.
Step 3 – Pay the fee (if applicable).


Paper/PDF Applications

The following businesses can not use the online process and require a paper/PDF application:


Additional Information






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