Navigating Your Governing Agency

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The Department of Agriculture safeguards consumers of agricultural products by ensuring that they are wholesome and safe to eat. The FDACS coordinates with and grants licenses to businesses with direct ties to agricultural practices such as milk producers, beekeepers, bakeries and more. By extension, these can also include: 

  • Coffee shops
  • Pre-packaged food sales
  • Supermarkets and Grocery Stores
  • Confectionaries
  • Convenience stores
  • Meat and seafood markets

The Department of Agriculture regulates the commercial food supply from these sources in order to ensure maximum freshness and to mitigate the risk of foodborne illness. To further ensure consumer safety, these food establishments are inspected regularly which includes a thorough examination of the premises and a sampling of food products. 

Department of Health

The Department of Health governs establishments that aim to sell alcoholic beverages on their premises, but not necessarily food, unlike a restaurant. These establishments will typically either do not sell food at all, or food that is prepackaged and not prepared on the premises. These types of establishments include:

  • Bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Non-food service establishments

In order to comply with the Florida Department of Health, you must complete an application for a sanitation certificate. This application must include which types of food-service subtype your establishment falls under. In addition to bars and nightclubs, other establishments that may serve food that is not necessarily  In your plan review, you must include a detailed set of scaled plans specifying all kitchen equipment, plumbing fixtures, bars, storage, etc. These documents are necessary for all new, remodeled, or reopened establishments in the state of Florida governed by the Department of Health. 

Division of Hotels & Restaurants 

Establishments governed by the Division of Hotels & Restaurants provide prepared food items made to order from a menu for their patrons. Furthermore, these establishments derive a portion of their sales from full meals. Licensed establishments governed by the Division of Hotels & Restaurants include:

  • Dine-In Restaurants
  • Nightclubs with food service
  • Bars
  • Hotels with food service
  • Food trucks and mobile food dispensing vehicles

The Division of Hotels and Restaurants provide the largest net and govern a large majority of establishments. Because of this, these establishments must complete a three-step process which will generally include a complete plan review, applying for a license and payment, and passing a licensing inspection. This inspection is to ensure that the establishment has met and is set up to consistently meet sanitation and safety standards, and is required before opening and reopening.

When setting out to open an establishment of your own, it is important to understand the differences between these governing agencies and which will apply to you. For assistance through this process, contact the experts at Liquor License Professionals. Our team will walk you through the often complex and ever-changing process to ensure your establishment is opened properly.