You'll need to take a few extra steps to get your restaurant ready in order to provide a safe and sanitary dining experience for your customers.
Interested to see where your restaurant is allowed in San Rafael? Would you like an estimate of the permit fees for expanding or opening your business? The City of San Rafael, in partnership with OpenCounter, has launched a new business portal that allows you to search for that information online in one centralized location. Access this new tool: *NEW* Business Permitting Portal
1. Make sure you comply with Marin County's health permit process
Whether you are taking over an existing restaurant or starting a new one, you need to check with Marin County Environmental Health Services to ensure you comply with the County health permit process. Even if the previous business was a restaurant, you may be subject to certain new requirements that did not apply to the previous restaurant or food service business.
2. Submit construction plans to the County first and then to the City
If you plan on any construction , you'll first need to submit your plans to the County Environmental Health Services department. As part of its review, the County shares the plans with the Sewer District. The County will give any comments on the construction plans back to you and then you must revise the plans and resubmit them to the County. Once the County and Sewer District give final approval of the plans, you can then proceed with submitting your plans to the City.
After meeting with your architect or contractor, contact our Building Division to discuss your project. We'll provide our comments on the plans and then you must revise them and resubmit them to us. Make sure you discuss the California Building Code requirements including issues related to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Fire Code with a design professional. Depending on the nature of your project you may need approval from the Design Review Commission and/or the Planning Commission.
3. Find out the water entitlement for your proposed location
For businesses, especially water-intensive businesses like restaurants, the most important thing to consider when selecting a site is the water entitlement assigned to the water meter. Every non-residential water meter has a unique water entitlement which directly affects how much water the site will receive in Tier 1 each billing period (Marin Municipal Water District has a three tier rate structure and bills bi-monthly).
4. Find out the status of the Grease Collection System
You'll need to know the status of the existing grease interception system at your planned location and the requirements for a grease collection system for your restaurant. Grease collection systems may involve reconfiguration of plumbing, which may be expensive. Contact the Central Marin Sanitation Agency to find out more.
5. If you're selling alcohol, get a liquor license.
The California Alcohol and Beverage Control Agency (ABS) oversees the sale of alcoholic beverages. It can take up to 55 -65 days for the agency to issue your license. Liquor licenses can be transferred or purchased from a previous owner of a restaurant though you may pay a premium.
6. Apply for a Seller’s Permit
When selling taxable goods, you must have a Seller's Permit from the California State Board of Equalization.
7. Restaurants must recycle organic waste in compliance with AB 1826.
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