Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Restaurant Plan Review FAQ
All information on this page is current and was last reviewed by the division on July 31, 2012.
General information on the division's regulatory authority is available in the Complaint FAQs.
For more information on plan reviews, please see our other Restaurant Plan Review FAQs:
1. Q: I want to build and open a new restaurant, where do I start?
A: You need to submit a complete plan review application packet with a layout of the proposed establishment and all other required documents to our plan review office in Tallahassee so the plans can be reviewed for approval prior to the start of any construction. Detailed instructions can be accessed at the division home page. According to Section 61C-1.002(5)6(c) of the Florida Administrative Code, the layout must be drawn to scale and include all areas of the business including:
- All equipment identified [including handwash sink(s), warewash sink(s), food preparation sink, mop sink, stove, front-line refrigerator, walk-in cooler, etc.]
- Bathrooms; dining areas; wait stations; finish schedules; water and sewer information.
For requirements and forms, please click our APPLY link. Plans, with a completed Application for Plan Review, proof of approved water and sewer, menu, and the $150.00 plan review fee, may be mailed or dropped off for review on a first come, first served basis. You may make an appointment for the plans to be reviewed at the time of submittal. You may submit your license application and licensing fee with the plan review application.
Plans for all establishments should be mailed to or dropped off at the Tallahassee office.
The plan review application packet includes a checklist to help you make sure you submit everything correctly. You may call the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 if you have any questions about the application or plan review requirements.
2. Q: Is there a fee for the plan review?
A: Yes. Section 61C-1.008(5)(c), Florida Administrative Code, authorizes a fee which is set currently at $150.00 due when plans are submitted.
3. Q: Where do I submit my plans?
A: You must submit the plans to the Tallahassee Plan Review office. Plans for all establishments should be submitted to the Tallahassee office.
4. Q: When am I required to submit plans for review?
A: Plans are required for any of the following situations:
- Construction of a new food service establishment.
- Remodeling of an existing establishment if the proposed changes affect the sanitation, safety, or restroom requirements, or the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.
- Reopening an establishment that has been closed over one (1) year.
- Conversion of an existing structure for use as a food establishment.
5. Q: What changes do not require a plan review?
A: Changes that are only cosmetic in nature do not require a plan review. Such changes involve painting, replacing dining room carpeting, or replacing like equipment (e.g., replacing an old refrigerator with new). If you are in doubt, call the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 for further clarification.
6. Q: Do I need a plan review for a catering license?
A: The answer depends on how and where you plan to operate your catering business.
Yes, you need to complete plan review if:
- You will operate your catering business out of a food service establishment which is not currently licensed by the division.
- You will operate your catering business out of a food service establishment which is licensed by the division to another person, and you are bringing in equipment or adding food preparation area(s) which were not previously approved by the division for the existing food service.
- You will cater out of your food service establishment which is licensed by the division, but will add equipment or food preparation area(s) which were not previously approved by the division.
- You operate a licensed food service establishment, but will cater out of a new building.
No, you do not need to complete plan review if:
- You will cater out of your food service establishment which is licensed by the division and you are not adding equipment or food preparation area(s).
- You will operate your catering business out of a food service establishment which is licensed by the division to another person and are not bringing in equipment or changing food preparation area(s) which were previously approved by the division.
You must also apply for and obtain a catering food service license. If you need a plan review, we must approve your plans before you can obtain a catering license. More information on catering is available in the Catering FAQs.
7. Q: Do I need to contact other agencies before I open for business?
A: Yes. In most cases you must contact the following:
- Local Building Department (includes the plumbing and electrical authority).
- Local Fire Department
- Local Zoning Department
- Local Occupational Licensing Office
- Local Sales Tax Office
- Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (if applicable)
8. Q: Where can I find more information?
A: More information on the requirements for public food service establishments is available in the Food Code, the division's rules, and Florida Statutes. You can also contact the department's Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395.