Caterers and Shared Kitchens


Caterers provide food and/or beverages and related services (such as serving staff, set-up and take-down, and bartending staff) for functions held at a location different than where the food/drink was prepared (also known as an off-site location). Because caterers offer their services to the public, they are engaged in retail food activity and are required to have a health permit from Environmental Health Services.

A caterer must prepare all food/beverages at a permitted food facility and may not use a private home or unapproved kitchen to store, handle or prepare food. A catering health permit allows caterers to prepare food at their permitted location and then transport and serve it off-site at private functions. A catering permit does not allow for on-site service or consumption of the food on the premises where it is made – a permanent food facility permit is required for that type of activity.


If you are interested in applying for a catering permit, please complete & submit the following to EHS:

  1. General Food Facility application . Check "caterer in a shared kitchen" under Section 1.
  2. A proposed menu
  3. A Shared Kitchen Authorization Form for the permitted food facility where the food/beverage preparation will occur.
  4. The appropriate catering permit fee.


Once you have submitted a complete application to EHS, you will be contacted by an Environmental Health Specialist to discuss your planned catering operations. The Environmental Health Specialist will evaluate your proposed shared kitchen to make sure that it can support the extent and nature of your proposed catering operation. The Environmental Health Specialist may ask to do a walk-through of the proposed shared kitchen with you.

If you plan to make changes to the permitted food facility (such as adding or removing equipment or fixtures, or remodeling) you may need to complete the EHS plan check process before applying for a health permit.

You may also need additional permits or business licenses to conduct business as a caterer.

Your permit will not be active until the Environmental Health Specialist has reviewed it, approved it, and given you written approval to operate.