These guidelines are provided to assist you in determining the state requirements for sanitation and safety in public food service establishments. It is important to indicate compliance with these requirements on your plans and/or application. This webpage replaces the brochure, DBPR Form HR 5030-016, Guide to Public Food Service Plan Review. All information on this page is current and was last reviewed by the division on April 4, 2013.



Section 509.221(2), Florida Statutes, Rules 61C-4.010(2) and 61C-4.010(7), Florida Administrative Code Access to bathrooms by the public is not permitted through food preparation, food storage or utensil washing areas.  All public food service establishments must have a minimum of one public bathroom with the following exceptions:

  1. Mobile food dispensing vehicles, theme park food carts, vending machines, and food vendors at temporary events are not required to have bathrooms.
  2. Establishments located in arcades, malls or flea markets may use centrally located bathroom facilities available to the patrons of the arcade, mall or flea market, provided these bathrooms are available for use during all hours of operation, located on the same floor as the public food service establishment, and accessible without entering another business.
  3. Establishments located within theme parks or entertainment complexes may use centrally located bathroom facilities accessible to patrons, provided these bathrooms are within 300 feet of the establishment.
  4. Establishments located within a public lodging establishment may use the public bathrooms within the lodging establishment provided such bathrooms are available during all hours of operation and located on the same floor as the public food service establishment.
  5. Establishments whose occupancy is incidental to another occupancy may utilize public bathrooms provided on the same floor.

Bathroom fixtures must be in compliance with the local building authority in number and location. Hot and cold water is required at all handwash sinks used by employees including public bathrooms if used by employees. Bathrooms must be vented to remove obnoxious odors.

Construction Finishes of Floors, Walls and Ceilings

Chapter 6, Food Code Document the type of finish on floor, wall, and ceiling surfaces (e.g., concrete slab with sheet vinyl floor covering). Floors, walls and ceilings in high moisture areas like food preparation areas, food storage areas, warewashing areas, and bathrooms must be smooth and nonabsorbent, in good repair and easily cleanable, and provided with coved baseboards.  Utility lines and pipes may not obstruct or prevent cleaning of the floors, walls or ceilings.


Chapters 3 – 6, Food Code

  • Indicate where equipment, including sinks, will be located on the plans. All refrigeration units must maintain potentially hazardous foods (time/temperature control for safety) at 41ºF or colder.
  • Provide adequate facilities to store dishware, food, paper goods, maintenance and cleaning equipment. Specify the location and size of dry storage facilities and refrigeration. Consider the size of the business, frequency of deliveries, types of foods, use of paper goods, etc.
  • Store clean equipment, food and paper goods at least six inches above the floor.
  • Install equipment that is not easy to move either with enough space around it to allow cleaning or sealed to adjacent surfaces. For example, a floor mixer should be installed with enough space around it for easy cleaning, sinks should be sealed to wall and refrigerators should be on wheels.
  • Provide tabletop equipment that is not sealed to the tabletop and is not easily movable with legs at least 4″ high to facilitate cleaning under the equipment.
  • Provide floor mounted equipment that is not easily movable and not sealed to the floor with legs at least 6″ high to facilitate cleaning under the equipment.
  • Equipment must be durable and constructed to facilitate cleaning. For example, neither raw wood nor pegboard is allowed.
  • Protect displayed food, such as on salad bars, with sneeze guards or other protective devices.
  • Beverage tubing and cold-plate beverage cooling devices may not be installed in contact with stored ice. Drainage tubes may not pass through drink ice.
  • Provide running water dipper wells for bulk ice cream service unless you provide individual scoops, or each item or scoops are washed and sanitized between each use.
  • If ice is produced, indicate where the machine is located.  You must produce and store ice in enclosed, protected areas with a conveniently located handwash sink.
  • Laundry facilities on the premises of a food service establishment may be used only for washing and drying items used in the operation of the establishment.
  • If a mechanical clothes washer or dryer is provided, it must be located so that the washer and/or dryer is protected from contamination; and where there is no exposed food; clean equipment, utensils, linens; or unwrapped single-service and single-use articles.

Fire Safety

Failure to meet these items will not prevent the division from approving the plans, but may result in a failed fire safety inspection. Contact the State Fire Marshal or your local fire safety authority to ensure your establishment meets fire safety requirements as prescribed in the National Fire Prevention Association Standards (NFPA).

Automatic Fire Suppression Systems – NFPA 96

Automatic fire suppression systems are required over cooking equipment when grease-laden vapors are produced. When an automatic suppression system is required, a portable K Class extinguisher is also required to be located away from the fire hazard area, but within 30 feet of the cooking equipment.

Emergency Lights and Exit Signs – NFPA 101

Emergency lights and exit signs are required if the occupancy is greater than 50 and the emergency exit door is not readily visible. If occupancy is greater than 49, exit doors must swing outward.

Fire Extinguishers – NFPA 10

Every establishment must have a properly tagged portable fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A10BC located so that travel distance to any extinguisher does not exceed 75 feet.  Portable extinguishers are often mounted on walls near exits.


Chapter 5, Food Code A separate sink used only for handwashing must be located in each food preparation, warewashing, and food dispensing area, including areas where ice is dispensed. These sinks must have hot and cold running water under pressure and be equipped with soap, a sanitary hand-drying device and a handwash sign. Provide splash protection if this sink is placed in a location where splash can contaminate nearby exposed food, food preparation surfaces, clean equipment or paper products.


Chapter 6, Food Code Light fixtures must be shielded, coated or covered where open or exposed food is stored, prepared or displayed.  The light intensity shall be:

    • 50 foot-candles (540 lux) at surfaces where food employees work with food or where employee safety is a factor (e.g., using utensils or equipment such as knives, slicers, saws, or grinders).
    • 20 foot-candles (215 lux) at surfaces:
      • Where you provide food for consumer self-service;
      • Where you sell or offer for consumption fresh produce or packaged foods;
      • Inside equipment (e.g., reach-in coolers); and
      • At a distance of 30 inches above the floor in handwashing and warewashing areas, and bathrooms.
    • 10 foot-candles (110 lux) at a distance of 30 inches above the floor in walk-in refrigeration units, dry food storage areas, and in other areas and rooms during periods of cleaning.

Mop/Utility Sinks

Chapter 5, Food Code You are required to have a utility/custodial type sink or a can wash provided for the cleaning of mops, and the disposal of mop water and similar liquid waste. It must have hot and cold running water and be connected to a sanitary sewer. Provide splash protection if this sink is placed in a location where splash can contaminate nearby sanitary surfaces. The mop/utility sink may not be used for warewashing or food preparation.


Chapter 5, Food Code

    • All faucets with hose fittings must have a backflow prevention device.
    • Refrigeration condensation and other non-sewage liquids must be drained from the point of discharge to disposal according to the specifications of the local plumbing authority.
    • You must not place food contact surfaces under exposed sewer lines.


Chapter 6, Food Code Outside walking and driving surfaces must minimize dust and be graded to prevent pooling of water. Exterior doors must be self-closing unless designated by the local fire authority as an emergency exit only.


Chapter 4, Food Code You may use a three-compartment sink or a commercial dishmachine to wash, rinse and sanitize equipment and utensils. Indicate how you will sanitize kitchenware (e.g., hot final rinse or chemical sanitizer). Chemical sanitizing dishmachines must be equipped with a device that indicates audibly or visually when more chemical sanitizer or detergent needs to be added. Dishmachines must automatically dispense detergent and sanitizer. Drain boards, or equivalent, must be provided at both ends of the three-compartment sink and/or dishmachine. You may use vented shelving in place of one or both drain boards. Provide adequate facilities to store soiled kitchenware before washing and air dry kitchenware after washing. Warewashing sinks may be used for food preparation if you wash and sanitize them before or after use.

Solid Waste

Chapters 5 & 6, Food Code Indicate on the plans how you will store garbage and trash. You must place dumpsters and grease containers on nonabsorbent surfaces such as concrete or machine-laid asphalt. You must store new compactors on a graded concrete pad that drains into a sanitary sewer. Any rooms, outside enclosures, areas and containers used must be kept clean. Wastewater from such cleaning operations must be disposed of as sewage into a proper sewage disposal system.


Chapter 6, Food Code You must keep the facility free of excessive heat, steam, condensation, vapors, obnoxious odors, smoke and fumes, especially in:

  • Food storage areas,
  • Food preparation areas,
  • Food service areas,
  • Warewashing areas,
  • Bathrooms,
  • Locker rooms, and
  • Garbage storage areas.

Design and install intake and exhaust air ducts to prevent the entrance of dust, dirt, and other contaminating materials. Contact the local building authority for specific ventilation regulations.

Water and Wastewater

Chapter 5, Food Code Specify the systems that serve the establishment and which agency must approve such use. For example, if you are on city water and sewer, a recent utility bill showing water and sewer charges and the address of the facility is sufficient. Plans cannot be approved without written verification that there is, or that there will be, approved water and sewer service to the location. Alternately, you may have your local authority sign the Onsite Sewage (Septic) and Water Supply Evaluation form or state on letterhead that hookup to city water and sewer is approved. Septic tank approvals must include whether grease interceptors are required and, if so, where they are to be located as well as any other restrictions placed on the system. Provide septic tank permit numbers when possible Contact your local County Health Department for assistance with septic system and well water approvals. BEGIN EFFORTS TO OBTAIN APPROVAL AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE Some requests to connect to a sewage system may be denied due to excessive demand already on an existing system. Initiate the request for approval as early as possible as the application process may involve a lengthy review period. Plans for facilities on a Department of Health permitted well or septic tank cannot be approved until receipt of written approval from the Department of Health

Need Help?

All requests for public records, complaints, forms, and applications for licenses can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.

Steven von Bodungen, Director

Division of Hotels and Restaurants
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1011

Telephone: 850.487.1395