Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Who needs a license?
The State of Florida has three primary food regulatory agencies:
- The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
- The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS)
- The Department of Health (DOH).
Each agency regulates a different part of the retail food service industry. Basically, DBPR licenses:
- Lodging (hotels, motels, apartments, bed & breakfast inns and vacation rentals-condominiums and dwellings)
- Free standing restaurants
- Fast food services (takeout and delivery)
- Mobile units that serve hot dogs and/or full food service
- Bars that serve food.
DACS licenses bakeries, grocery stores, and convenience stores. DOH licenses bars that do not serve food, civic and fraternal organizations, and institutions such as schools and detention facilities.
If your food service operation expands beyond the authority of your current licensing agency, you have a couple of options:
- You may stop the activity that requires licensing by another regulatory agency. Example – a bar that previously served no food begins to prepare hot dogs. If the operator wants to continue to prepare hot dogs, then DBPR would become the licensing agency. If hot dog preparation is stopped, then DOH would continue to license the bar.
- If you choose to continue the activity that requires a license from another agency, you must contact that agency and comply with their licensing requirements. This may require major equipment or physical plant changes.