Contact our Florida & Miami restaurant business law attorneys for information and assistance anytime, below are the preliminary steps to opening and running a restaurant in Florida.
Application for Plan Review
You can find the instructions included with the application for the DBPR-7005 Division of Hotels and Restaurants for Plan Review here: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/forms/documents/application_packet_for_plan_review.pdf
To begin Florida’s food service licensing process, the law requires the division to review facility plans for sanitation and safety concerns. Plan Review is required when the establishment is:
After the state approves your plans, they will send you a letter. This letter will give you the address in Tallahassee to send your completed license application and fees (this is a separate application packet). For faster processing, please attach a copy of the plan review letter to the application and fee. They have to receive and process your license application and fee before you can open your business. After they approve your plans, it is important that you construct the facility exactly as approved and meet all other local code requirements. When construction is completed, the division must inspect the establishment to verify that you have constructed it according to the approved plans and any provisos. The inspection will also confirm that the establishment complies with code requirements and is ready to operate. You may schedule an inspection by request to their Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 when plans are approved and they have processed the license application and fees. When they complete the inspection successfully, the inspector will approve you to operate and give you a temporary license so you can obtain local authorizations and licenses.
HOW TO DRAW A FLOOR PLAN
For detailed information on how to draw a floor plan, please refer to the DBPR HR -7005 – Division of Hotels and Restaurants Application for Plan Review. You can find it here: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/forms/documents/application_packet_for_plan_review.pdf
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR PLAN REVIEW:
For additional information and a step by step guide with tips on how to fill your application, refer to the following power point presentation made by the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/HR/licensing/documents/PP%20Plan%20Review.pdf.pdf
WHO NEEDS A PUBLIC FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT LICENSE?
Anyone planning to operate a public food service establishment in Florida will need a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants. According to section 509.013 (5), Florida Statutes (FS):
Before submitting the application, please complete the following requirements:
DBPR ABT-6001 Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Application for New Alcoholic Beverage License.
Refer to the “Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco” page on the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Internet site for the License Type data chart. This is provided to guide applicants in knowing how each license type is defined in order to clarify which license type suits their needs. http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/documents/LicenseSeriesTypesABT2004_table.pdf
Zoning approval is executed by the city or county zoning authority in which the business to be licensed is located. Zoning approval is required on all new and change of location applications unless the applicant is a state college or university located on State owned property. Zoning approval may also be required for certain change or increase in series applications. Zoning approval is not required on new applications for 1APS licenses unless required pursuant to a Special Act for the county in which you are applying. This information can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/forms/documents/abtdistrictofficelist.pdf. Auth. 61A-5.010 & 61A-5.056, FAC 2
Department of Revenue Clearance
Department of Revenue clearance is required on applications for all new, transfer, change of location, and applications which change the licensee’s name. The address for the office serving your area of interest can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/forms/documents/abtdistrictofficelist.pdf. Health Approval Health approval is required on all applications for consumption on the premises. Businesses that serve food or are located on premises licensed by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, must obtain approval from that division. Businesses that do not serve food must contact the County Health Authority or the Department of Health. Food service establishments located in grocery and convenience stores, bakeries or delicatessens must contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The address for the office serving your area of interest can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/forms/documents/abtdistrictofficelist.pdf.
Affidavit of Applicant
Read and sign in the presence of a notary. The affidavit must be signed by the individual applicant, each partner of a general partnership, a general partner of a general partnership of a limited partnership, a managing member, manager, or officer of a limited liability company, each partner of a limited liability partnership, or one of the officers of a corporate applicant.
Note: If you are a current licensee with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco you are not required to submit a new set of fingerprints with your application unless you have been arrested since your prior submission of fingerprints to the division. If you are not a current licensee but have been fingerprinted for this division in the past three (3) years, and you have not been arrested since that time, you are not required to submit new fingerprints unless the prior application was withdrawn or non-consummated. Applicants whose fingerprints are returned to the division as illegible will be required to submit a second set of fingerprints
Fingerprints must be submitted by each sole proprietor; officers, directors, individual shareholders owning more than ½ of 1 percent of stock in non-public corporations; general partners of general partnerships; general partners of a limited partnership; officers, managing members or managers of a limited liability company; partners of a limited liability partnership, and persons directly interested and receiving financial proceeds from the business.
Applicants must use a Livescan vendor that has been approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to submit their fingerprints to the department. Costs associated with the fingerprint process will be collected by the vendor. Vendor options and contact information can be viewed at Livescan Device Vendors List (Livescan Device Vendors List). Please ensure that the Originating Agency Identification (ORI) number for the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco is provided to the vendor when you submit your fingerprints. The ORI number is FL920150Z. If you do not provide the ORI number, or if you provide an incorrect ORI number to the vendor, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation will not receive your fingerprint results.
Out of State Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco Applicants only:
Your fingerprint card can be obtained from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation by contacting the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco at 850.488.8284, or one of the division’s district offices. A listing of the district offices on the web can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/district_offices/licensing.html Out of state applicants must be fingerprinted by a law enforcement agency on cards provided by the division (note: law enforcement agencies may charge for this service). The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco has a unique ORI number that is required for processing the fingerprints back to the division, therefore, you must contact one of our offices to make a request for a card to be mailed to you.
Once your fingerprint card is received, you may then go to a local law enforcement office in your area to have your fingerprints rolled onto the card. Other information will be completed at the local law enforcement agency. For all programs, the completed card must be mailed to Pearson VUE at: FLDBPR, Florida Fingerprinting Program, Prints Inc. 119 East Park Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301 where the fingerprint card will be scanned. Prior to mailing your fingerprint card, you must complete the following steps in order to make advance payment of $54.50 (do not send any money to PrintsInk, please follow the procedure below): OUT OF STATE LIVESCAN FINGERPRINTING REGISTRATION DIRECTIONS with Pearson VUE and or its subcontractor Morpho Trust (formerly known as L‐1)
PLEASE NOTE: Failure to follow these instructions and make payment will result in your fingerprint card being returned to you and delay the processing of your fingerprints, and therefore, your application. To check on the status of your card, please call 1-800-528-1358 and not PrintsInk.
Social Security Number
Under the Federal Privacy Act, disclosure of Social Security numbers is voluntary unless a Federal statute specifically requires it or allows states to collect the number. In this instance, disclosure of social security numbers is mandatory pursuant to Title 42 United States Code, Sections 653 and 654; and sections 409.2577, 409.2598, and 559.79, Florida Statutes. Social Security numbers are used to allow efficient screening of applicants and licensees by a Title IV-D child support agency to assure compliance with child support obligations. Social Security numbers must also be recorded on all professional and occupational license applications and are used for licensee identification pursuant to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform Act), 104 Pub.L.193, Sec. 317. The State of Florida is authorized to collect the social security number of licensees pursuant to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 405(c)(2)(C)(I). This information is used to identify licensees for tax administration purposes, and the division will redact the information from any public records request.
Directly/Indirectly Interested Person
A direct interest is created by a person or entity having an interest with the applicant in the business sought to be licensed and, includes but is not limited to:
An indirect interest includes, but is not limited to, any person or entity that derives revenue from the license solely through a contractual relationship with the licensee, the substance of which is not related to the control of the sale of alcoholic beverages, or is specifically exempt by statute or rule. Note: Direct and indirect interests must be disclosed in the “DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTED PARTIES” section of the application. Registration of Legal Entity All corporations, domestic or foreign; general partnerships; limited liability companies; limited liability partnerships; and limited partnerships are required to be registered with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. If you have not already registered, you will need to contact the Department of State at (850) 488-9000 or www.sunbiz.org for further information. Your application will be considered incomplete without this active registration.
Registration of Legal Entity
All corporations, domestic or foreign; general partnerships; limited liability companies; limited liability partnerships; and limited partnerships are required to be registered with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. If you have not already registered, you will need to contact the Department of State at (850) 488-9000 or www.sunbiz.org for further information. Your application will be considered incomplete without this active registration.
Related Party Personal Information
This section of the application must be completed by each applicant or person(s) directly connected with the business, unless they are a current licensee. The signature of each person filling out this section of the application must be an original. This will include the sole proprietor, all partners, officers, directors, individual share holders owning more than ½ of 1 percent of stock in non-public corporations, all partners of each general partnership, all general partners of a limited partnership, all managing members or managers of a limited liability company, partners of a limited liability partnership, and persons directly interested and receiving financial proceeds from the business. It is important that each individual discloses any arrests they have had within the past 15 years, even if they were charged, but not formally arrested, and regardless of the disposition.
Copy of Arrest Disposition
If the applicant answers “yes” to any of the criminal background questions asked in this application, provide a copy of the Arrest Disposition to ensure the applicant is qualified, pursuant to Statute and Rule. Applicable Statutes and Rule: 561.15 & 561.17, Florida Statutes; and 61A-1.017, Florida Administrative Code.
The applicant is required to meet the moral character standards to have an interest in an alcoholic beverage license. Any person failing to meet those standards shall be required to submit mitigation under the moral character rule in order for the division to determine if the person is qualified. A copy of the rule and requirements can be found at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?title=DEFINITIONS&ID=61A-1.017.
Federal Employer’s Identification Number (FEIN)
All licensees who pay wages to one or more employees must have a Federal Employer’s Identification Number. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-829-3676 and request Form #SS4.
Surety bonds are required on all new applications for manufacturers, wholesale distributors of alcoholic beverages, wholesale distributors of cigarettes, and other tobacco products. A surety bond or a rider to the original bond must be submitted on any change of business name, change of location or change of ownership name application by the aforementioned. You may wish to have an auditor review your surety bond prior to submitting this application. Contact the division’s Auditing Office serving your area of interest for further information. A list of the Auditing offices can be found at: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/district_offices/auditing.html.
Sketch of Premises
A complete sketch of the premises, drawn in ink or computer generated (letter size) which includes all permanent walls, doors, windows, counters, labeling each room and area. Include any outside areas where alcoholic beverages will be sold, consumed, or served. Due to the difficulty of scanning, no blueprints are accepted.
Food Manager Certification Testing:
Florida law requires food managers to complete training and pass a certification exam within 30 days of employment. Private entities provide the training and testing. Food manager certification must be completed through one of the accredited examination programs listed below. Florida law requires all public food service establishments to provide the division with proof of food manager certification upon request, including, but not limited to, at the time of any division inspection of the establishment.
More information is available at: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/food-lodging/ManagerCertification.html
Food Service Employee Training:
All employees responsible for food storage, preparation, display, or service must complete a state-approved food service employee training program. Check the list of state-approved food service employee training programs before completing any training program.
Note: Certified food managers do not have to complete food service employee training.
Fixed Public Food Service Opening / Licensing Inspection Checklist
Restaurant Pre-opening Checklist:
How to Correctly Fill Out and Submit a Plan Review Packet:
Florida Department Business Professional Regulation:
FoodService Resource Associates, LLC:
Inc.com – The Cost of Starting Up a Restaurant
Forbes – The Fundamentals of Running a Restaurant
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