Opening a Restaurant

Curve Wall Reduced.JPGWhether you are building a business from the ground up or beginning from an existing building, this page will guide and direct prospective food facility owners and buyers with the necessary steps toward opening the doors to a new establishment.

Existing Vs. New Food Facility

Existing Food Facility

An existing food facility is currently operating or has been closed, but is in acceptable condition for reopening a business. It may or may not be in good condition, requiring minor to major repairs, and minimal to extensive changes to the facility and/or equipment to accommodate the proposed new menu. Conditions may or may not need significant changes to the facility and/or equipment to meet retail food establishment standards as established in the CA Retail Food Code (Cal Code) and/or to accommodate the proposed new menu.

Before beginning operations, contact Environmental Health for the following:

  1. Apply for a health permit and pay the health services fee.
  2. Schedule a pre-opening inspection with an Environmental Health Specialist to evaluate the condition and cleanliness of the facility, and the temperature of the refrigerators, discuss with the owner/operator any proposed changes to the facility, and determine if any corrections are necessary to meet retail food standards (Cal Code).
  3. If significant changes are made to the facility, the owner/operator is required to submit detailed plans to the Environmental Health Department for review and approval before beginning any changes.

New Food Facility

A new food facility requires new construction where no building currently exists or one that is established from an existing structure but is remodeled to accommodate the new food facility.

1. When starting from the ground up, contact the Planning Department to determine if the food facility is compatible with zoning

2. Before submitting plans for review, contact Environmental Health to schedule a consultation to discuss the proposed menu, Cal Code Requirements, potable water, and disposal of liquid waste.

3. Prepare plans according to the "Guidelines for the Construction of Food Facilities."

4. Submit facility plans and fees to the Planning & Building Department.

5. Pickup approved plans and permits and begin construction

6. Contact Environmental Health to schedule facility inspections at the following intervals: a) 4-R (rough plumbing, electrical, framing, and mechanical) b) Final inspection (all construction and trim-out work is completed) c) Pre-Opening (facility is clean and ready to prepare food; the utilities, equipment, and water heater are on and at proper temperature) For step by step directions on the construction and/or renovation of a food establishment refer to the Permit Application Process.

Additional Information

Summary of Required Plan Elements (PDF)

Food Facility Construction Guidelines (PDF)

Open for Business

Congratulations! You have successfully made it through the new food facility process and are ready to open. There are many important and necessary things to remember and consider as a new food facility operator/owner. This department strives for a healthy relationship between the facility owner and Environmental Health staff, emphasizing a proactive and positive attitude. The Department of Environmental Health is here to assist with and answer any questions that you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at (530) 283-6355.

Inspection FrequencyFoodInspector.jpg

Environmental Health Specialists visit each food facility a minimum of two (2) times a year for a routine inspection. During a routine inspection, they will do a thorough evaluation of your facility to determine if all state laws are being followed and to ensure that your operation is safe and clean. At the end of an inspection, the Specialist will go over the report with you to show his/her findings. Sometimes, this report will contain minor violations that will require your follow-up. These corrections are required and will be followed up at the next 6-month inspection.


If any of the routine or complaint-related inspections reveal serious violations, we will set up a re-inspection date with you. If a second re-inspection is required, you will incur an extra charge. Specialists will work with you to correct these violations to avoid any temporary closure of the facility.

it_photo_124135.jpgFood Borne Illness Complaints

If a report of a food-borne illness is reported in your restaurant, we will do an immediate inspection of your facility. Samples of the suspected food may be taken for testing. Any communication and follow-up after that, helps you avoid re-creating conditions which may foster food-borne illnesses. Please note that handlers who are ILL should not be allowed to work at the food facility. 


Clean_Hands-616x442.jpgWASH HANDS BEFORE:

  • Handling food or utensils
  • Using the Restroom 


  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Using the Restroom
  • Handling Raw Food
  • Eating, Drinking, or using tobacco products
  • Touching Face or Hair
  • Mopping or handling chemicals
  • Any chance of contamination
  • Changing tasks

Additional Resources

Inspection Notice

California Retail Food Code (Cal Code)

Mercury in Fish

Cooking for Groups

Power Outage Fact Sheet

*California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law Section 1140