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Opening a Retail Food Establishment

Floor Plan Drawing

If you are planning to open a restaurant, catering operation, grocery store, mobile unit or other retail food establishment in Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Mineral, Moffat, Rio Grande or Saguache counties, you may need to submit plans and specifications of the establishment for review to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability. Please review the topics on this page, and contact the division should you have any questions or concerns.

 

If you plan to open your establishment in counties not listed above, please contact your local public health agency.

 

Opening a New Retail Food Establishment/Plan Review Process | Remodeling an Existing Retail Food Establishment | Licensing/Change of Ownership | Licensing, Fees and Other Considerations | Downloads

 


Opening a New Retail Food Establishment/Plan Review Process

 

A plan review and license review are required prior to opening a new restaurant, catering operation, retail grocery establishment, or mobile unit. Complete plans and specifications must be submitted, reviewed and approved by the Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability before the start of construction.

 

Step 1: Complete the Retail Food Establishment and Plan Review applications, and submit the appropriate fees.

 

Step 2: You will receive notification within 14 business days regarding the status of your application.

 

Step 3: Upon receiving an approval letter from the Division and approval from all other agencies involved, you may proceed with construction.

 

Step 4: Three weeks prior to opening, call the Division to schedule an opening inpsection

 

 

Processing time for plan reviews takes a minimum of 14 business days. Failure to provide the required information will delay the process. Submitted plans can only be approved when complete information showing compliance with the Colorado Retail Food Rules and Regulations is received.

 
 
 
 

Remodeling an Existing Retail Food Establishment

 

If you plan to extensively remodel an existing retail food establishment, or make changes to menu items or equipment, a plan review may be required.

 

Extensive remodeling is defined in Section 1-202(A)(39) of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations, and includes:

 
  • Increasing seating capacity by 15 seats or 20%, whichever is greater

  • Alterations requiring a building permit by local authorities

  • Changes or alterations made in the nonpublic areas that result in a reduction or increase of total space by 25% or more; or

  • Capabilities to handle food, equipment, and utensils in a sanitary manner have been diminished, due to a food process or signifcant menu change that introduces new risks of foodborne illness.

 

Complete plans and specifications must be submitted and reviewed, and establishment or owner must receive an approval letter from the Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability before the start of construction.

 

Step 1: Complete the Retail Food Establishment and Plan Review applications, and submit the appropriate fees.


Step 2: You will receive notification within 14 business days regarding the status of your application.

 

Step 3: Upon receiving an approval letter from the Division and approval from all other agencies involved, you may proceed with construction.

 

Step 4: Three weeks prior to opening, call the Division to schedule an opening inpsection.

 

Processing time for plan reviews takes a minimum of 14 business days. Failure to provide the required information will delay the process. Submitted plans can only be approved when complete information showing compliance with the Colorado Retail Food Rules and Regulations is received.

 
 
 

 

Licensing/Change of Ownership

 

A Colorado Retail Food Establishment License is required for all retail food establishments operating within Colorado. The license is specific to the ownership and location. Licenses are non-transferrable. A current license must be posted in a conspicuous location. All licenses expire on December 31st of the calendar year.

 

An application for a license may be considered without a plan review for an existing establishment if you are planning to purchase, or have already purchased, an existing food service operation and are not making any changes to the establishment, menu or equipment.

 

Before you can apply for a retail food license, you must first obtain a sales tax license. Visit the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation site for more information.

 

If you are a currently licensed establishment, and are planning to completely change ownership (i.e., different taxpayer or employer ID number than originally listed on the license), you must first contact the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation to obtain a new license. Once the new sales tax license is obtained, you must apply for a new retail food establishment license under the new ownership.

 

To request a retail food establishment license application, contact the Division and request to speak with the Environmental Protection Specialist for your city/county where you plan to operate.

 
 
 
 

Licensing, Fees and Other Considerations

The fee for filing an application for a plan review is $100.00 ("application fee"), and must accompany the application. The application filing fee does not include the cost of plan review activities. 

 

An invoice for the actual time spent on review activities will be sent to you at a later date and will not exceed $580.00.00 [(CRS 25-4- 1607(2)].  There will be a delay in reviewing your plan review if either the application fee or the application form are not submitted with the plans.

 

The following fees are applicable only when your plan review has been approved. DO NOT SUBMIT PAYMENT FOR LICENSURE until you have received confirmation from the Division that your plans have been approved.

Restaurant: 0 -- 100 seats

$255
Restaurant: 101 -- 200 seats $285
Restaurant: Over 200 seats $310
Mobile unit $255
Mobile unit: prepackaged potentially hazardous food $115
Grocery Store (license cost varies by square footage and presence of a deli) $115 -- $690

 

If you are a sole proprietor, you must verify your lawful presence in the United States.

 

Colorado Retail Food Establishment License

The application and fees are collected at the time of plan approval or inspection. The license is renewable annually and is valid from Jaunary 1st through December 31st of a calendar year. These fees are not prorated and are non-transferable. A separate license is required for each retail food establishment.

 

Purchasing/Remodeling

If purchasing or remodeling an existing retail food establishment, the proposed licensee may be required to bring the facility up to currently building and retail food establishment codes. If a remodel is planned, a plan review may be required by the Division. 

 

Additional Licensing Considerations

Depending on the type of establishment you wish to license, federal, state, city and local oridances may require you to obtain the following:

 

Business License
Contact the local city office where your establishment is located for specific business license requirements.

 

City/County Sales Tax License
Contact the local city/county office where your establishment is located for specific tax license requirements.

 

Liquor License
Contact the Colorado Department of Revenue, Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement Division, for more information or to obtain a liquor license for your establishment.

 

State Sales Tax License
Contact the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation, for more information or to obtain a state sales tax license. A state sales tax license is required when applying for a retail food establishment license.

 

Federal Tax ID Number
Contact the Internal Revenue Service or visit the Denver office at 600 17th Street 3rd Floor, Denver, Colorado.

 

Building Permit
Contact your local regional building department for information on required building permits.

 

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Downloads

 

 

Retail Food Establishment Application Packet

 

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