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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.

Food facilities include but are not limited to restaurants, markets, bars, bakeries, liquor stores, school cafeterias, catering facilities, commissaries, and vending machines.


Change of Ownerships
A Health 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. 


Obtaining a Restaurant Permit:

Online Food Permit Application Process:

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

The online application process is currently NOT AVAILABLE for the following businesses and WILL 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