No, they are not transferable. Licenses are specific to an owner and location. If there is a change of ownership or the business moves to a new location, a new license must be obtained. Plan review is required to obtain the new license.
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Anytime food or beverage is served to the public (with or without a charge) a state food license, temporary food service permit, or cottage food registration must be obtained. The only exceptions to this rule are non-profits that serve less than 4 days per year, and people that serve items that are commercially prepackaged which do not require refrigeration like canned soda, bags of chips, wrapped candy, etcetera. If the items are open, or if they must be kept cold or hot for safety, a license must be obtained.
It depends on what you are doing, but for the most part it is always good to touch base with the following to ensure that you don’t have any surprises:
Within the city limits of Great Falls:
County/Outside the city limits of Great Falls:
Many places! You can find any of our plan review applications on our website. You can call Environmental Health Division at 406-454-6950 to have one mailed to you. And of course, you can drop by the CCHD office at 115 4th St S, Great Falls to pick one up in person.
Plan review really is just what it sounds like—a review of your plan. For you, it’s putting your ideas to paper to show that you have everything you need to operate safely and within the rules.
For us, it’s a tool and a service we provide to you. When you turn in your application, we look at whether or not you have the equipment you need to make the menu items you want to offer. Then we look at how the equipment, sinks, hoods, and other spaces work in the facility. Is there ventilation where it needs to be? Are the hand sinks in the right places so that crucial hand washes aren’t missed? Is there enough storage space? Have you located everything so that dirty tasks do not influence food prep areas of the kitchen? The plan review process allows us to interact with you early, develop a relationship, give you pointers, and make sure the facility supports what you are doing before you sink money into it and have make costly changes.
The entire submittal requires the CCHD plan review application, a floor plan with the equipment layout, plumbing and ventilation information, spec sheets on all equipment, a finish schedule, and the proposed menu. Floor plans do not need to be professionally done, but they do need to be neatly sketched scale drawings that are clearly labeled. We recommend using graph paper or layout design software or apps. Equipment spec sheets are preferred, but model numbers are accepted. Bear in mind that model numbers may not give us the information we need to approve the equipment and it may result in delays or us not being unable to approve the unit. The finish schedule can be listed on the floor plans or written in the application packet. Make sure all of the information is included and clear, otherwise your project may be delayed.
Wow… this is a really tough question to answer. Reason being, there is no one size fits all kitchen. The kitchen requirements can vary significantly depending on menu, operation, and volume of food. Think about it… different foods and cooking processes require different kinds of equipment. Different kinds of equipment require different types of plumbing, ventilation, and different amounts of space. Also, different processes may require less equipment, space, sinks than another. However—don’t despair! We can give you the most basic spring board from which to launch.
All kitchens need the following:
It depends on the type of facility and risk category. Mobile Food Establishment (MFE) reviews cost less than standard Retail Food Establishment (RFE) reviews, as they are smaller, have less equipment, and have smaller menus. Low risk category 1 & 2 RFE reviews cost less than high risk category 3 & 4 reviews, as they are less complex and require less time to review. Refer to the Food Service Fee Schedule to view the current plan review fees and other fees associated with food service.
Warning! We charge a $200 expedited review fee if you submit your plan review application less than 30 days from intended open date. Applications should be submitted at least 30 days prior to any construction/remodel or at least 30 days prior to the anticipated open date (if no construction/remodel) so we have sufficient time to review.
Additionally, we charge a $50 hourly rate for reviews that exceed the base rate time (listed next to fees in applications). If there are application deficiencies that require repeated follow up or gaps in information that require us to spend time researching, the review may go over the allotted base rate time. Be sure your application is complete, legible, and accurate, and that all required documents are submitted with the application. This will make the review process quicker, easier, and potentially less expensive.
Establishments are licensed by DPHHS, but the review and preopening inspection are completed by CCHD. Therefore, the fee for the review and preopening inspection goes to CCHD. Once the preopening inspection is complete and we approve the establishment to open, the license fee must be paid to DPHHS. A portion of the annual license fee covers DPHHS operational costs, while the rest is reimbursed to CCHD upon completion of the annual inspection.
Only cottage food operations can prepare and sell foods from their home kitchen. Cottage foods are non-potentially hazardous (e.g., cakes, cookies, breads) and can only be sold through direct face-to-face sales. They cannot be sold to licensed facilities or be mailed to consumers. All other licensed food establishments must prepare their foods in their licensed facility and may only receive foods from other licensed/inspected facilities. Refer to the cottage food tab for more information on cottage food.
We make sure the establishment is constructed/remodeled as specified in the approved plan and that all conditions in the approval letter are met. Have everything on, at temperature, setup, and surfaces finished as though you are going to serve your first customer the moment the inspector leaves. There should be no equipment missing, not hooked up, or construction going on still. Use the preopening checklist to make sure you have everything in place. The checklist is contained within the plan review application.
All Retail Food Establishments (RFE) and Wholesale Food Establishments (WFE) must have one manager or supervisor that is a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM). These courses are typically 8 hours long and provide in-depth food safety training. Course topics include personal hygiene, foodborne illness prevention, purchasing and receiving foods, cleaning and sanitizing, safe food preparation, pest control, and facilities and equipment. We highly recommend having more than one CFPM. Having a CFPM available every shift has been shown to reduce food safety violations. Multiple CFPMs also decreases your chance of being without a CFPM should one of them leave your employment. The Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) reviewing your application may exempt you from this requirement if you are a risk category 1 RFE or risk category A/B WFE and determined to be very low risk operation (e.g., convenience store that only sells packaged foods or concession stand that sells candy and popcorn). The REHS will let you know if you meet the exemption.
Food service staff are not required to have food handler cards or certificates. However, these classes are a great training tool. They are very inexpensive (typically around $10) and are typically only 2-4 hours long.
Go to the Food Safey Classes page under the Food Service menu to find information on accredited CFPM and Food Handler courses.