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How to Open a Food Service Establishment


In order to open a food service establishment in Clayton County you must follow the requirements laid out in the Food Service Rules and Regulations. The information provided on this section of this site is a condensed version of the above code and is not intended to replace the County Code in any way.

Our office has developed a brochure that summarizes what exactly is needed to operate a food service establishment according to the standards set out by the Georgia DHR and the FDA. Reviewing this brochure should be your first step if you are considering opening a food service establishment, it will help you in determining if it is a feasible endeavor.

If you intend to re-open or operate a food service establishment under a different name or owner, you will need to follow these procedures. You will also need to follow these procedures for any major modifications to an existing restaurant.

  1. Download and complete a Food Service Application (pdf)
  2. Download and complete the Restaurant Plan Review Fee Schedule (pdf) and the Restaurant Inspection Fee Schedule (pdf)
  3. Download and complete the Existing Food Service Plan Review (pdf)
  4. Submit the above information to our office along with:
    • A full menu showing all items you wish to prepare and serve.
    • A layout (2 copies) of the facility including all equipment, floor type, ceiling type, and wall type (Example) on eleven inch by seventeen inch (11" x 17") paper
    • A letter from the Clayton County Water Authority Grease Trap Program (770) 478-7496) showing that the grease trap is sized correctly and has been approved
    • Each new facility must have a Certified Food Safety Manager (CFSM) on staff within ninety (90) days of initial permit issuance (though we recommend obtaining this certification prior to opening the facility) or termination of employment of its CFSM to employ a new CFSM. You may obtain a listing of approved certification organizations from the American National Standard Institute Web site.
  5. If the facility is on a septic system you must get prior approval from the Clayton County Environmental Health Office in order to determine if the existing system has been sized properly and no major modifications are needed.
  6. Once all of the above information is submitted to our office the assigned Environmental Health Specialist will review it and determine if any changes or additional information is required.
  7. When the plans have been approved, the environmentalist will inform you that the plans are ready to be picked up. You may contact the environmentalist to schedule a Preliminary Inspection prior to the Opening Inspection to ensure that construction is progressing properly. Upon completion of construction, contact the environmentalist to schedule the Opening Inspection.
  8. Once your facility has passed the opening inspection, you may then take the information that is provided by the Environmentalist and go to the Business License Office.
  9. Your Food Service Permit will be mailed to your facility within approximately one (1) week. This permit must be posted in plain view of the General Public at all times.The most current inspection report shall be prominently displayed in public view at all times, within fifteen feet (15') of the front or primary door and between five feet (5') and seven feet (7') from the floor and in an area where it can be read from one foot (1') away. Food service establishments with drive-thru windows must also post copies of the current inspection report so that a minimum of the top one-third is visible through each window allowing customers to easily read the score, grade, date of inspection, and establishment information.
  10. The permit shall be the property of the Clayton County Board of Health and shall be returned within seven (7) days to the Clayton County Board of Health when the food service establishment ceases to operate, has a change in ownership, is moved to another location, or when the permit is revoked.

If you intend to open a new food service establishment in a location that has never been a food service previously, you will need to follow these procedures.

  1. Download and complete a Food Service Application (pdf).
  2. Download and complete the Restaurant Plan Review Fee Schedule (pdf) and the Restaurant Inspection Fee Schedule (pdf).
  3. Download and complete the New Food Service Plan Review (pdf).
  4. Submit the above information to our office along with:
    • A full menu showing all items you wish to prepare and serve
    • Two (2) sets of complete architectural plans for the facility
    • A letter from the Clayton County Water Authority Grease Trap Program (770) 478-7496) showing that the grease trap is sized correctly and has been approved.
    • Each new facility must have a Certified Food Safety Manager (CFSM) on staff within ninety (90) days of initial permit issuance (though we recommend ontaining this certification prior to opening the facility) or termination of employment of its CFSM to employ a new CFSM. You may obtain a listing of approved certification organizations from the American National Standard Institute Web site.
  5. If the facility will be on a septic system, you must get prior approval for the installation of the system from the Clayton County Environmental Health Office.
  6. Once all of the above information is submitted to our office, the assigned Environmental Health Specialist will review it and determine if any changes or additional information is required.
  7. When the plans have been approved, the environmentalist will inform you that the plans are ready to be picked up. You may contact the environmentalist to schedule a Preliminary Inspection prior to the Opening Inspection to ensure that construction is progressing properly. Upon completion of construction, contact the environmentalist to schedule the Opening Inspection.
  8. Once your facility has passed the opening inspection, you may then take the information that is provided by the Environmentalist and go to the Business License Office.
  9. Your Food Service Permit will be mailed to your facility within approximately 1 (one) week. This permit must be posted in plain view of the General Public at all times. The most current inspection report shall be prominently displayed in public view at all times, within fifteen feet (15') of the front or primary door and between five feet (5') and seven feet (7') from the floor and in an area where it can be read from one foot (1') away. Food service establishments with drive-thru windows must also post copies of the current inspection report so that a minimum of the top one-third is visible through each window allowing customers to easily read the score, grade, date of inspection, and establishment information.
  10. The permit shall be the property of the Clayton County Board of Health and shall be returned within seven (7) days to the Clayton County Board of Health when the food service establishment ceases to operate, has a change in ownership, is moved to another location, or when the permit is revoked.

Clayton County Board of Health
Office of Environmental Health Services

685 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, GA 30297
Phone: (678) 610-7469   Fax: (770) 603-4874