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How to Open a Grocery or Restaurant

If you plan to open a restaurant or grocery store in Kentucky, these items should help you get there:

If you plan to move into an existing building where a restaurant or grocery has recently closed, contact your local health department to find out if what you are proposing can be done in the existing structure without a lot of costly renovations. If you plan to move into a building that has never or not recently been a restaurant or grocery, or if you plan to build a new building, contact your local health department to see if what your proposing could be done in the structure.

Put your plans (a scaled drawing of your structural proposal) on paper, showing your kitchen layout, equipment and structural specifications, water and waste sources, plumbing additions and changes etc., and provide these plans to your local health department food safety specialist. The food safety specialist will review your plans along with the local plumbing inspector to see if your proposal meets all applicable laws and requirements. If there are any changes to be recommended, it is easier and less costly for you to make changes on paper than after construction. Once your plans are approved, you may begin construction of your restaurant or grocery. 

You will needto apply for a permit to operate, providing pertinent information and paying the applicable fees with your local health department.

Provide the local health department with a list of menu items and be able to explain how these menu items will be prepared from scratch to service, including cooking times and temperatures, holding times and temperatures, leftover procedures, refrigeration temperatures and more. Your health department food safety specialist will want to make sure you know how to safely prepare and serve all foods on your menu.

When you are ready, request an opening inspection by the food safety specialist. The plumbing inspector will do the first inspection to make sure all plumbing changes and additions have been done by a licensed plumber and have been installed correctly. The food safety specialist will conduct your opening inspection. Once you pass the opening inspection you will receive your permit to operate. This permit will remain valid as long as your permit is renewed yearly and your establishment operates in conjunction with applicable food safety laws and regulations.

For more information and applications, please contact your local county health department or the Kentucky Department for Public Health Food Program at (502) 564-7181.


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Last Updated 2/3/2010