License to sell food in Tennessee and how to get it


Find out how to get a license to sell food in Tennessee if you plan to open a restaurant. To operate a food business, the health department must verify that the establishment complies with health regulations. In Hispanic Entrepreneurs We will tell you what you need to know to get this permit.

Get familiar with the procedures to open a food business

Having a restaurant is an excellent business opportunity and Tennessee offers the ideal conditions to invest in this sector. However, the process can take time and if you are not aware of everything you need you may fail on the first attempt.

To reduce the risk in your business, you must be clear about the requirements to open a restaurant. Comply step by step with the requirements of the authorities, know the rules for food handling and the conditions so that a local can function as a food establishment.

Permits to sell food that you must process include:

  1. Commercial license.
  2. Building permit.
  3. License to sell food.
  4. License to sell alcoholic beverages.
  5. Signing permission.

Failure to comply with any of these requirements will harm your business. That is why it is important to inform yourself about each one and seek advice before opening your restaurant.

This time we will refer to the food service license. This permission must be requested from the county health department. An inspector from this office will visit the site to determine if it meets the conditions to operate as a restaurant.

The Tennessee government has a number of rules and regulations that all food establishments must comply with. These norms set the guidelines for food handling, handling and responsibilities of personnel, equipment, utensils, structure of the premises, disposal of waste, etc.

Inspections will be carried out at least twice a year. Sometimes they will be done more frequently if the health department deems it necessary.

Who needs a food license?

The Tennessee Division of Environmental Health specifies that a food establishment is one where food is prepared and served for the public. Includes permanent, temporary, seasonal or itinerant establishments, places or locations. These places, therefore, will need a food safety permit.

In the case of unprepared food stores and convenience stores, these are regulated by the Department of Agriculture.

How to Get a License to Sell Food in Tennessee

All food establishments must obtain a license before beginning to operate as such. The process to obtain permission to sell food in a local is done before the health department. The interested party must fill out an application and make the corresponding payment for the procedure.

Once you have turned in the application, an inspector will go to the premises to verify the conditions. If everything is in order and meets all the rules, the restaurant is granted permission. The license must be renewed every year. In addition, it must be borne in mind that if irregularities are found during any inspection, the permit may be suspended.

Suspension can occur at any time if, during an inspection, the health department finds a violation of the rules. There are two types of suspensions: Class 1 suspensions provide an opportunity to request a hearing before the date of the suspension becomes effective. Class 2 classes allow a hearing after the suspension is effective.

In any case, if the fault is corrected, the health department can end the sanction. The permit can also be revoked if there is a serious violation of the rules. However, the interested party can apply to obtain a new permit and demonstrate that the flaws have been rectified.

The health department will be attentive at all times to complaints and complaints from the public. When these exist, an investigation will be carried out on the premises.

Construction and operation plan

Restaurant facilities must meet the minimum construction requirements. This means that before starting the construction or remodeling of a food establishment, a plan must be presented, which will be subject to approval.

The plan must specify the plans, design of the premises, equipment, facilities, work areas, among other details. The health commissioner will review the project to make sure it complies with the rules and regulations. If so, it is approved and work can proceed on the premises.

Then, during the inspection, it will be verified that the construction or remodeling was done according to the project. And, in case of having made any change, that this does not affect food safety. Therefore, it would not be an obstacle to obtaining the license.

For more information on obtaining a license to sell food in Tennessee you can consult the website of the Tennessee Department of Health: Do you have a restaurant and want to tell us the story of your venture? Contact Us.

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