The type of food sold and your location will determine which state or local agency will issue the license and do the inspections.
Opening or remodeling a restaurant
Opening a restaurant involves building code, zoning, and food safety requirements. Working with an architect who has experience with designing food service establishments is the best place to start. See the Construction Guide below for more details. Call Olmsted County Environmental Health at 507-328-7500 if you have any questions, need a plan review application, or would like to schedule a consultation with the Environmental Health staff.
Certified Food Protection Manager
The State of Minnesota requires a Minnesota Certified Food Protection Manager in most food establishments. Food manager certification is administered by the Minnesota Department of Health.
To become a Minnesota Certified Food Protection Manager:
- Attend an approved food safety course.
- Pass the exam at the end of the course. The exam must be from an organization accredited by the ANSI-CFP Accreditation Program.
- Apply for your Certified Food Manager certificate by mailing a completed application, exam certificate, and $35 fee to MDH, PO Box 64495, St. Paul, MN 55164
Food Safety Manual
Preventing foodborne disease is the shared goal of public health agencies and the foodservice industry. Achieving this goal requires “active managerial control” (AMC) of the foodborne disease risk factors within the foodservice establishment. Olmsted County Public Health Services has developed this Food Safety Manual to help foodservice operators establish and maintain food safety practices that control foodborne disease risk factors.
Food stands and mobile food units (MFUs)
Categories of food stands and carts:
1. Special Event Food Stand
This type of stand is limited to food or beverage service during community celebrations. A permit from Environmental Health is required if the stand will serve high-risk food or a large number of people. Operation is limited to 10 days per year.
2. Seasonal Temporary Food Stand
There is no restriction on the number of days these stands can be open, but they cannot be operated more than 21 days per year at the same location unless approved by Olmsted County Public Health.
3. Seasonal Permanent Food Stand
These stands are located in buildings. Except for schools, operation is limited to 21 days per year, unless approved by Olmsted County Public Health. Requires plan review by Environmental Health.
4. Food Carts
Carts are small units that are pushed by the operator. There needs to be a permanent location where they can be stored, cleaned, and re-stocked. Requires plan review by Environmental Health.
Zoning (if required)
If you will be operating in one location for more than 21 days in a year (including on private property), you will need to receive approval from the local zoning authority. Attach or provide a copy of that approval with the license application.
5. Mobile Food Units are basically restaurants on wheels.
They cannot be operated for more than 21 days per year at any one location unless approved by Olmsted County Public Health. They require plan reviews by Environmental Health.
All food stands and carts must be operated in compliance with the Minnesota Food Code.
Mobile Food Unit and Food Stand Construction Guide
Mobile Food Unit Plan Review Application 2021
Food Stand Cart License Application 2021
Food Stand Guidelines
You will also need the following information:
- A list of all food and beverages to be served
- Sources of all foods served
- A list of all equipment used in the food operation
- A description of hand-washing and dishwashing facilities
- The water source and method of waste disposal
- Time period and location of the operation
Submit the review application & fees
Send the $500 deposit and construction plans to:
Olmsted County Public Health Services
2100 Campus Drive, SE,
Rochester, MN 55904-4718
We accept checks, money orders, or certified checks payable to Olmsted County Public Health Services.
Food vending machines
Every machine that vends food, candy, or nuts must have a license; soft drink machines are exempt.
Only machines that meet the standards of the National Automated Merchandising Association (NAMA) can be licensed.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most up-to-date fees can be found in the document below.