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Steps to Open & Run a Florida Restaurant – Miami Restaurant Attorneys

Contact our Florida & Miami restaurant business law attorneys for information and assistance anytime, below are the preliminary steps to opening and running a restaurant in Florida.

Part 1: DBPR-7005 Division of Hotels and Restaurants Application for Plan Review

Application for Plan Review

You can find the instructions included with the application for the DBPR-7005 Division of Hotels and Restaurants for Plan Review here: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/forms/documents/application_packet_for_plan_review.pdf

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS:

To begin Florida’s food service licensing process, the law requires the division to review facility plans for sanitation and safety concerns. Plan Review is required when the establishment is:

  • Newly built,
  • Converted from another use,
  • Remolded or,
  • Re-opened after being closed at least for 1 year.

APPLICATION

  1. You need to submit a completed Application for Plan Reviewplan review application packet with all required documents and the $150.00 plan review fee to the plan review office in Tallahassee so the plans can be reviewed for approval prior to the start of any construction. The form required to submit this is the DBPR HR-7005. You can find it here: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/forms/documents/application_packet_for_plan_review.pdf
  1. You will need to include the following with your Plan Review application:
    • A sample menu or menu information listed on a separate document.
    • Water and wastewater information and approval. You may submit a copy of your current water and/or sewer bill as proof of approval. If your establishment is on a well or sceptic tank, use the Evaluation of Onsite Sewage sewer bill. The local authority must sign this form. The Local Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection handle well and septic tank approvals.
    • Equipment Specifications, if the proposed equipment is not customary for food services operations.
  1. Apply for your public food service license DBPR HR-7007 at least 30 days before you are ready to begin operations. You may also apply for your Plan Review and your food service license at the same time using the form DBPR HR-7030. You can find it here: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/forms/documents/dbpr_hr_7030_application_for_food_service_license_and_plan.pdf

FEES

  1. Application fee of $150, payable by check or money order to the Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Cash is not accepted.

PLANS

  1. At least two (2) scaled drawings. The division will keep one and return any additional sets to the applicant. You may submit additional sets required by local authorities.
  1. Label all areas of the building (e.g., bars, wait stations, seating, dining areas). Include a site plan (drawing of the area surrounding your business) if your business is part of a larger structure.
  1. Identify all equipment (e.g., stoves, refrigerators, steam tables, prep tables). Plans must include a utility sink, handwash sink(s) and a three-compartment sink or a commercial dishwasher.
  1. Identify all exits and mark the direction of door swing.
  1. Indicate the location and type of all portable fire extinguishers and, if applicable, all automatic fire suppression/ventilation hood system(s). (For reporting purposes)
  1. Indicate the dumpster location and the type of material it will be placed on, which is required to be nonabsorbent.
  1. Identify all storage areas including where cleaning equipment and supplies, dry goods and employee personal items are stored.

After the state approves your plans, they will send you a letter. This letter will give you the address in Tallahassee to send your completed license application and fees (this is a separate application packet). For faster processing, please attach a copy of the plan review letter to the application and fee. They have to receive and process your license application and fee before you can open your business. After they approve your plans, it is important that you construct the facility exactly as approved and meet all other local code requirements. When construction is completed, the division must inspect the establishment to verify that you have constructed it according to the approved plans and any provisos. The inspection will also confirm that the establishment complies with code requirements and is ready to operate. You may schedule an inspection by request to their Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 when plans are approved and they have processed the license application and fees. When they complete the inspection successfully, the inspector will approve you to operate and give you a temporary license so you can obtain local authorizations and licenses.

HOW TO DRAW A FLOOR PLAN

For detailed information on how to draw a floor plan, please refer to the DBPR HR -7005 – Division of Hotels and Restaurants Application for Plan Review. You can find it here:  http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/forms/documents/application_packet_for_plan_review.pdf

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR PLAN REVIEW:

For additional information and a step by step guide with tips on how to fill your application, refer to the following power point presentation made by the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/HR/licensing/documents/PP%20Plan%20Review.pdf.pdf

Part 2: DBPR HR-7007 Division of Hotels and Restaurants Application for Public Food Service Establishment License

LICENSES:

WHO NEEDS A PUBLIC FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT LICENSE?

Anyone planning to operate a public food service establishment in Florida will need a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants. According to section 509.013 (5), Florida Statutes (FS):

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Before submitting the application, please complete the following requirements:

  1. Beverage License (if applicable) – Contact the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco for an application and information on the application process. The Division of Hotels and Restaurants inspector will sign the beverage application upon completion of a satisfactory inspection. The Division of Hotels and Restaurants plan reviewer may sign the beverage application upon approval of a plan review without performing an inspection.
  1. Florida Sales Tax Number or proof of exemption – Contact the Department of Revenue, Sales Tax Division, at 1.800.352.3671. For additional information, please refer to http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/.
  1. Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) – Contact the U. S. Internal Revenue Service for an FEIN application (SS-4) at 1.800.829.4933, or download the application from the Internet at: http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/formspubs/index.html.
  1. Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) – The Internal Revenue Service assigns an ITIN to individuals who are not eligible for a social security number due to their status as an alien. Each ITIN begins with the number nine and is formatted in the same configuration as a social security number (900-00-0000). This number is available to alien operators upon the approval of their IRS form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number application. To obtain the form, contact the IRS at 1.800.829.4933 or download the form from the Internet at: http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/formspubs/index.html. The IRS will process the application for an ITIN within five to six weeks.
  1. Plan Review – Please visit our website at www.MyFloridaLicense.com/dbpr/hr/ or contact the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 to obtain an application for a plan review packet prior to construction or remodeling. The Division of Hotels and Restaurants must approve plans prior to construction, remodeling or obtaining a license. Applications for change of ownership do not require a plan review if no interruption in operation, construction, remodeling or conversion occurs. A plan review is required when an establishment is: 1) newly built, 2) converted from another use, 3) remodeled or 4) re-opened after being closed at least 1 year.
  1. Completed form DBPR HR-7007, Application for Public Food Service Establishment License – Complete and submit the following application in its entirety, including signature. Any omissions will result in the application being returned and a delay in the issuance of your license.
  1. Appropriate Fees – Fees are listed in rule 61C-1.008, Florida Administrative Code. For your convenience, we provide an automated fee calculator and fee tables on our website at www.MyFloridaLicense.com/dbpr/hr. If you are unsure of the fee, please contact the DBPR Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 for the correct license fee amount. In addition to the license fee, there is a one-time application processing fee of $50. Please make your check or money order for your fees made payable to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The division does not accept cash payments.
  1. Mail Applications and Fees – When you have completed the application and supporting documents above, mail them with the appropriate fees to: Division of Hotels and Restaurants Department of Business and Professional Regulation 1940 North Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783 Reminder: Please use the entire 9-digit zip code in the address above to ensure proper handling. An incomplete application will result in the application being delayed or denied. Please allow up to 30 days for processing after mailing.
  1. Opening Inspection – Once we have received and processed all of the above requirements, we will contact you for an opening inspection. All new licensees are required to pass a sanitation and safety inspection prior to opening. After meeting all requirements of the plan review and submitting your license application and fees, contact the department at 850.487.1395 to schedule an opening inspection.
    • If you have 1) completed plan review, 2) submitted your application and fees, 3) you are ready to open your establishment, and 4) you have not heard from us about your inspection, please contact the DBPR Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 to request an inspection.
  • Inspectors do not routinely conduct pre-opening or courtesy inspections. Do not call to schedule an opening inspection unless absolutely ready to open.
  • If opening a newly built, converted or reopened establishment, do not begin to serve food to the public until a satisfactory inspection and a receipt for license to operate have been obtained.
  • Change of ownership applications do not require an inspection if the previous owner received a satisfactory inspection within 120 days before the application is processed. If there was no inspection within this time period, we will conduct the opening inspection after you legally become the new owner. See page 6, section 2 for the appropriate application type.
  • Ensure that all required equipment is installed and functional prior to the inspector’s visit and all the necessary licensing information has been obtained, including owner’s name and social security number, Federal Employers Identification Number and/or sales tax number. Have proof of other approvals on site, such as building, electrical, fire, plumbing, etc.
  • After achieving a satisfactory inspection, please allow 30 days to receive the license in the mail. You will receive a temporary license after your satisfactory inspection that will allow you to operate until the actual license arrives

DBPR ABT-6001 Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Application for New Alcoholic Beverage License.

Application Requirements:

License Types

Refer to the “Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco” page on the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Internet site for the License Type data chart. This is provided to guide applicants in knowing how each license type is defined in order to clarify which license type suits their needs. http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/documents/LicenseSeriesTypesABT2004_table.pdf

Zoning Approval

Zoning approval is executed by the city or county zoning authority in which the business to be licensed is located. Zoning approval is required on all new and change of location applications unless the applicant is a state college or university located on State owned property. Zoning approval may also be required for certain change or increase in series applications. Zoning approval is not required on new applications for 1APS licenses unless required pursuant to a Special Act for the county in which you are applying. This information can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/forms/documents/abtdistrictofficelist.pdf. Auth. 61A-5.010 & 61A-5.056, FAC 2

Department of Revenue Clearance

Department of Revenue clearance is required on applications for all new, transfer, change of location, and applications which change the licensee’s name. The address for the office serving your area of interest can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/forms/documents/abtdistrictofficelist.pdf. Health Approval Health approval is required on all applications for consumption on the premises. Businesses that serve food or are located on premises licensed by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, must obtain approval from that division. Businesses that do not serve food must contact the County Health Authority or the Department of Health. Food service establishments located in grocery and convenience stores, bakeries or delicatessens must contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The address for the office serving your area of interest can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/forms/documents/abtdistrictofficelist.pdf.

Affidavit of Applicant

Read and sign in the presence of a notary. The affidavit must be signed by the individual applicant, each partner of a general partnership, a general partner of a general partnership of a limited partnership, a managing member, manager, or officer of a limited liability company, each partner of a limited liability partnership, or one of the officers of a corporate applicant.

Fingerprints

Note: If you are a current licensee with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco you are not required to submit a new set of fingerprints with your application unless you have been arrested since your prior submission of fingerprints to the division. If you are not a current licensee but have been fingerprinted for this division in the past three (3) years, and you have not been arrested since that time, you are not required to submit new fingerprints unless the prior application was withdrawn or non-consummated. Applicants whose fingerprints are returned to the division as illegible will be required to submit a second set of fingerprints

Fingerprints must be submitted by each sole proprietor; officers, directors, individual shareholders owning more than ½ of 1 percent of stock in non-public corporations; general partners of general partnerships; general partners of a limited partnership; officers, managing members or managers of a limited liability company; partners of a limited liability partnership, and persons directly interested and receiving financial proceeds from the business.

Applicants must use a Livescan vendor that has been approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to submit their fingerprints to the department. Costs associated with the fingerprint process will be collected by the vendor. Vendor options and contact information can be viewed at Livescan Device Vendors List (Livescan Device Vendors List). Please ensure that the Originating Agency Identification (ORI) number for the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco is provided to the vendor when you submit your fingerprints. The ORI number is FL920150Z. If you do not provide the ORI number, or if you provide an incorrect ORI number to the vendor, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation will not receive your fingerprint results.

Out of State Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco Applicants only:

Your fingerprint card can be obtained from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation by contacting the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco at 850.488.8284, or one of the division’s district offices. A listing of the district offices on the web can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/district_offices/licensing.html Out of state applicants must be fingerprinted by a law enforcement agency on cards provided by the division (note: law enforcement agencies may charge for this service). The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco has a unique ORI number that is required for processing the fingerprints back to the division, therefore, you must contact one of our offices to make a request for a card to be mailed to you.

Once your fingerprint card is received, you may then go to a local law enforcement office in your area to have your fingerprints rolled onto the card. Other information will be completed at the local law enforcement agency. For all programs, the completed card must be mailed to Pearson VUE at: FLDBPR, Florida Fingerprinting Program, Prints Inc. 119 East Park Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301 where the fingerprint card will be scanned. Prior to mailing your fingerprint card, you must complete the following steps in order to make advance payment of $54.50 (do not send any money to PrintsInk, please follow the procedure below): OUT OF STATE LIVESCAN FINGERPRINTING REGISTRATION DIRECTIONS with Pearson VUE and or its subcontractor Morpho Trust (formerly known as L‐1)

  1. Log onto the Pearson VUE website at https://pearson.ibtfingerprint.com/ Auth. 61A-5.010 & 61A-5.056, FAC 3
  2. Select Continue in English
  3. Enter your legal first and last name.
  4. Choose your agency from the drop down list
  5. Select Pay For Ink Card Submission
  6. Complete all of the required demographic information
  7. Once you have entered your information select “Send” at the bottom of the page and you will be provided a verification page. You should verify that all the information you provided is correct and that you are being printed for the correct agency.
  8. If everything is correct select “Go” at the top of the page and you have completed the entering of the required demographic information.
  9. Choose your form of payment the option and then “Select”. At this time you will be able to enter either your credit/debit card information, or e ‐check information.
  10. Print the confirmation page. NOTE: You MUST include a copy of the confirmation page in the package with the fingerprint card sent to Prints Ink. Failure to provide the confirmation page may cause a delay in processing your fingerprint card.

PLEASE NOTE: Failure to follow these instructions and make payment will result in your fingerprint card being returned to you and delay the processing of your fingerprints, and therefore, your application. To check on the status of your card, please call 1-800-528-1358 and not PrintsInk.

Social Security Number

Under the Federal Privacy Act, disclosure of Social Security numbers is voluntary unless a Federal statute specifically requires it or allows states to collect the number. In this instance, disclosure of social security numbers is mandatory pursuant to Title 42 United States Code, Sections 653 and 654; and sections 409.2577, 409.2598, and 559.79, Florida Statutes. Social Security numbers are used to allow efficient screening of applicants and licensees by a Title IV-D child support agency to assure compliance with child support obligations. Social Security numbers must also be recorded on all professional and occupational license applications and are used for licensee identification pursuant to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform Act), 104 Pub.L.193, Sec. 317. The State of Florida is authorized to collect the social security number of licensees pursuant to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 405(c)(2)(C)(I). This information is used to identify licensees for tax administration purposes, and the division will redact the information from any public records request.

Directly/Indirectly Interested Person

A direct interest is created by a person or entity having an interest with the applicant in the business sought to be licensed and, includes but is not limited to:

  1. An interest which is created by virtue of the interested party deriving revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages;
  2. A person or entity having the right to receive revenue based on a contractual relationship related to the control of the sale of alcoholic beverages, the terms of which, are contrary to 561.17, Florida Statutes, or 61A-3.017, Florida Administrative Code;
  3. A person or entity who has a right to a percentage payment from the proceeds of the business pursuant to a lease;
  4. A guarantor on a lease or loan;
  5. A co-signer on a lease or loan.

An indirect interest includes, but is not limited to, any person or entity that derives revenue from the license solely through a contractual relationship with the licensee, the substance of which is not related to the control of the sale of alcoholic beverages, or is specifically exempt by statute or rule. Note: Direct and indirect interests must be disclosed in the “DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTED PARTIES” section of the application. Registration of Legal Entity All corporations, domestic or foreign; general partnerships; limited liability companies; limited liability partnerships; and limited partnerships are required to be registered with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. If you have not already registered, you will need to contact the Department of State at (850) 488-9000 or www.sunbiz.org for further information. Your application will be considered incomplete without this active registration.

Registration of Legal Entity

All corporations, domestic or foreign; general partnerships; limited liability companies; limited liability partnerships; and limited partnerships are required to be registered with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. If you have not already registered, you will need to contact the Department of State at (850) 488-9000 or www.sunbiz.org for further information. Your application will be considered incomplete without this active registration.

Related Party Personal Information

This section of the application must be completed by each applicant or person(s) directly connected with the business, unless they are a current licensee. The signature of each person filling out this section of the application must be an original. This will include the sole proprietor, all partners, officers, directors, individual share holders owning more than ½ of 1 percent of stock in non-public corporations, all partners of each general partnership, all general partners of a limited partnership, all managing members or managers of a limited liability company, partners of a limited liability partnership, and persons directly interested and receiving financial proceeds from the business. It is important that each individual discloses any arrests they have had within the past 15 years, even if they were charged, but not formally arrested, and regardless of the disposition.

Copy of Arrest Disposition

If the applicant answers “yes” to any of the criminal background questions asked in this application, provide a copy of the Arrest Disposition to ensure the applicant is qualified, pursuant to Statute and Rule. Applicable Statutes and Rule: 561.15 & 561.17, Florida Statutes; and 61A-1.017, Florida Administrative Code.

Moral Character

The applicant is required to meet the moral character standards to have an interest in an alcoholic beverage license. Any person failing to meet those standards shall be required to submit mitigation under the moral character rule in order for the division to determine if the person is qualified. A copy of the rule and requirements can be found at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?title=DEFINITIONS&ID=61A-1.017.

Federal Employer’s Identification Number (FEIN)

All licensees who pay wages to one or more employees must have a Federal Employer’s Identification Number. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-829-3676 and request Form #SS4.

Surety Bond

Surety bonds are required on all new applications for manufacturers, wholesale distributors of alcoholic beverages, wholesale distributors of cigarettes, and other tobacco products. A surety bond or a rider to the original bond must be submitted on any change of business name, change of location or change of ownership name application by the aforementioned. You may wish to have an auditor review your surety bond prior to submitting this application. Contact the division’s Auditing Office serving your area of interest for further information. A list of the Auditing offices can be found at: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/district_offices/auditing.html.

Sketch of Premises

A complete sketch of the premises, drawn in ink or computer generated (letter size) which includes all permanent walls, doors, windows, counters, labeling each room and area. Include any outside areas where alcoholic beverages will be sold, consumed, or served. Due to the difficulty of scanning, no blueprints are accepted.

Part 3: Miscellaneous Requirements

Food Manager Certification Testing:

Florida law requires food managers to complete training and pass a certification exam within 30 days of employment. Private entities provide the training and testing. Food manager certification must be completed through one of the accredited examination programs listed below. Florida law requires all public food service establishments to provide the division with proof of food manager certification upon request, including, but not limited to, at the time of any division inspection of the establishment.

More information is available at: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/food-lodging/ManagerCertification.html

Food Service Employee Training:

All employees responsible for food storage, preparation, display, or service must complete a state-approved food service employee training program. Check the list of state-approved food service employee training programs before completing any training program.

  • Note: Certified food managers do not have to complete food service employee training.

Part 4: Useful Resources

Fixed Public Food Service Opening / Licensing Inspection Checklist

http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/forms/documents/5024_017.pdf

Restaurant Pre-opening Checklist:

http://www.foodserviceresource.com/PreOpeningChkList.pdf

How to Correctly Fill Out and Submit a Plan Review Packet:

http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/HR/licensing/documents/PP%20Plan%20Review.pdf.pdf

Florida Department Business Professional Regulation:

http://myfloridalicense.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/282

FoodService Resource Associates, LLC:

http://www.foodserviceresource.com/State/FL/FL.htm

http://www.foodserviceresource.com/small_business_tools.htm#Restaurant_Forms

Inc.com – The Cost of Starting Up a Restaurant

http://www.inc.com/articles/201111/business-start-up-costs-restaurant.html

Forbes – The Fundamentals of Running a Restaurant

http://www.forbes.com/2007/02/02/small-business-restaurant-ent-manage-cx_bn_0202fundamentals_lander.html

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