Division of Hotels and Restaurants
All information on this page is current and was last reviewed by the division on August 2, 2012.
1. Q: Can I run a catering business out of my home?
A: No. Florida law prohibits conducting food establishment operations in a private home, a room used as living or sleeping quarters, or an area directly opening into a room used as living or sleeping quarters.
2. Q. Can I operate my catering business out of a church kitchen?
A: Yes. You can operate a catering business out of a church kitchen if the kitchen meets the minimum requirements of the Food Code and the operator can demonstrate control of the food production areas while using the kitchen. You must conduct your catering operations separate from church-related food service operations and restrict kitchen access to only those personnel working for you. The division cannot license food service operations conducted by a church or religious organization for its members and associates.
3. Q: Do I need a catering license if I run my business from a restaurant my friend owns?
A: Yes. Separate, independent caterers using the equipment or premises of a licensed establishment are deemed operators (as defined by section 509.013, F.S.) of such public food service establishment and subject to all applicable requirements of law and rule.
4. Q: Will I need to go through a plan review if I use the facilities of an establishment licensed by the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services?
A: Yes. Since the establishment has not been licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a plan review is required.
5. Q: Can I use my catering vehicle to drive around and sell food to the public?
A: No. Any vehicle operating in this manner must be licensed as a Mobile Food Dispensing Vehicle.
6. Q: Do I need a catering license to cook for people in their home?
A: If a person hires you to prepare food in a personal home and the person who hired you and his or her guests eats the food in the home, you are considered a personal chef and would not need a license from the division. If you prepare the food for customers outside of the home in which food is eaten or deliver the prepared food to the home, you need a catering license.
7. Q: Do I need a catering license if I already hold a current food service establishment license?
A: No. A current food service establishment license also serves as a catering license for the operator. An additional license is not required. However, you must include your food service establishment license number on all advertisements for your catering services.
8. Q: How do I change the location of my catering business?
A: A catering license is not transferable from one location to another. The caterer must apply for a new license. A plan review may be required for the new location for any of the following reasons:
- Constructing a new food service establishment;
- Converting an existing structure for use as a food establishment;
- Reopening an establishment that has been closed for over one (1) year;
- Remodeling an existing food service establishment if the proposed changes affect the sanitation, safety, or restroom requirements, or the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.