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If you plan to open a restaurant or grocery store in Kentucky, the DPH Food Safety Branch can help you get there.

If you plan to move into an existing building where a restaurant or grocery recently operated, contact your local health department to find out if you can proceed without a lot of costly renovations.

If you plan to move into a building that has never or has not recently been a restaurant or grocery or if you plan to construct a new building, contact your local health department to find out of your structure complies with all health laws and regulations.

Submit a scaled drawing of your proposed structure, showing your kitchen layout, equipment and structural specifications, water and waste sources, plumbing additions and changes etc., to your local health department food safety specialist. The food safety specialist and local plumbing inspector will review your plans for compliance with all applicable laws and requirements.

If changes to be recommended, it is easier and less costly for you to make changes on paper than after construction. Once your plans are approved, you may begin construction of your restaurant or grocery. 

You will need to apply and pay applicable fees for a permit to operate to your local health department.

Provide the local health department with a list of menu items and be able to explain how menu items will be prepared from scratch to service, including cooking times and temperatures, holding times and temperatures, leftovers procedures, refrigeration temperatures and more. Your health department food safety specialist will want to make sure you know how to safely prepare and serve all foods on your menu.

When you are ready, request an opening inspection by the food safety specialist. The plumbing inspector will do the first inspection to make sure all work has been performed by a licensed plumber and plumbing components have been installed correctly. The food safety specialist will conduct your opening inspection. Once you pass the opening inspection, you will receive your permit to operate. This permit is valid as long as it is renewed annually and your establishment operates in conjunction with applicable food safety laws and regulations.

For more information and applications, please contact your local county health department or your area Retail Technical Consultant