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New & Existing Food Establishments

Back to Food Safety Program

For complete information regarding permit renewal, opening a new establishment, change of ownership, or remodeling/changing an existing establishment, contact us at (509) 324-1560, ext. 2. or email foodsafetyprogram@srhd.org.

Obtaining a Permit

Any person wishing to serve or distribute food in Spokane County must obtain approval or a permit to operate issued by the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD). For new establishments, permit applications must be submitted at least fourteen days prior to the projected date of opening or a penalty fee of 100% of the permit fee will be assessed. Construction plans must be approved before beginning construction, or an additional 50% of plan review fees will be charged. For change of ownership of an existing establishment, applications must be submitted far enough in advance to allow adequate time for processing and approval prior to the ownership change. Permit processing time may vary according to the type of operation and/or changes proposed.

Food Establishment Permit Application (doc)
Commissary Agreement (doc)
Fee Schedule (PDF) (NOTE: our office will determine your establishment’s permit category)

Changes of Ownership

Under certain circumstances, SRHD can transfer a food establishment’s existing permit to a new owner. Permits can only be transferred if the establishment’s menu, operation, equipment, etc. remain the same (or very close) to what we approved for the previous owner. If you do plan to make changes, we may not be able to transfer the existing permit. Our food program will determine whether or not your ownership change qualifies for a permit transfer. To help us expedite the process, provide us with the following information:

  • What menu changes will you make?
  • What equipment changes will you make?
  • What procedural changes will you make?
  • What other changes will you make?

In addition, we must consider whether or not the establishment has been issued any variances (waivers). Since variances cannot be transferred between owners, you will have to reapply for each variance. If a variance is complex and/or requires that we reevaluate the proposal, a variance processing fee will be charged.

If SRHD allows a permit transfer, the permit’s expiration date stays the same. It is not extended. There is an administrative fee for a permit transfer. Prior to expiration of the transferred permit you will be required to renew it at the full permit fee. (This fee varies based on the permit category. Permit, variance, and administrative fees are listed on our fee schedule.)

If we determine that the ownership change does not qualify for a permit transfer, you must apply for a permit to operate at the full permit fee. The expiration date of your permit will be determined based on the date of issuance.

In addition to these fees, there is a penalty fee at a rate approved by the Board of Health for operating without a valid permit.

Documents needed for a change of ownership:

The Plan Review Process

Food establishment plan reviews and pre-opening inspections ensure compliance with food code requirements. Prior to construction or remodeling, food establishments must submit detailed design plans, equipment specifications, and a menu with detailed food preparation steps to SRHD for approval. Once construction is complete, a pre-opening inspection is conducted to verify the establishment has been constructed per the approved plans and all plan review approval requirements have been met.

Plan Review Flow Chart (doc)
Plan Review Guidelines for Food Establishments (doc)
Plan Review Guidelines for Caterers (doc)                       
Plan Review Guidelines for Mobile Units (doc)
Food Establishment Regulations (Chapter 246-215 WAC) and other resources
Commonly Overlooked Items (PDF)

The following items must be included in your plan review submittal:

We must receive all of the requested information in order to review your application in a timely manner. Incomplete applications will not be processed until all information has been submitted. Submission of a complete plan review application will allow for faster processing. SRHD may request additional information if necessary to complete the review of your plans.

Other Agency Approvals

SRHD is not the only agency required to issue approval for food establishments. The specific agencies involved vary depending upon your location and type of operation.

Check out the newest resource for prospective restaurant owners in the City of Spokane or the City of Spokane Valley. NEW

View contact information for other agencies (doc) whose approval you may need before operating your food establishment.



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August 18, 2017