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Help with starting an off-site catering company in Los Angeles?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, 

 

I'm trying to start an off-site catering company here in Los Angeles and was wondering if of you guys can help with letting me know which licenses and permits I'll need? 

 

Do I need to get a catering license? If so, from which government body? I called the Dept of Public Health to inquire but they simply said that they only regulate food sellers that have a retail presence (e.g., restaurant, cafes, bars, etc) and told me to contact the Food & Milk department. Contacted Food & Milk and the guy said I didn't need a health permit saying that the commissary kitchen should have one and thus won't be able to issue me another one for that commissary kitchen location. Which, doesn't necessarily answer my question of whether or not I need a catering license or not....

 

So, my question is... which governing body handles the catering license?

 

Also, do I have to use a commissary kitchen? or can I use restaurant kitchens that aren't in use on certain days? And I'm presuming that they all have to be up to code for all health permits, correct? 

 

I already have an LLC and corresponding DBA and EIN numbers. Will I need a seller's permit as well? And I'll need some sort of general liability insurance as well, right? 

 

Any help you guys can provide is greatly appreciated! 

post #2 of 5

Why don't you go to a food truck and speak with the owner...you may wish to imply that you are going to be in a different part of town...or even get a job on a truck and see how it operates for a few months...be a detective and snoop around a bit...may even help with menu ideas and locations...

post #3 of 5
Have you ever even done any kind of catering or does it just sound like a cool thing to do?
Cuz if the latter, I'd follow Skips advice and get some sort of experience first.
I'm in la county, if you're gonna use a kitchen and transport from there, your gonna
need a caterers license with the county--and it IS a health dept license. Also need food handlers cert.
Liability ins is a must or you're playing lawsuit roulette.
And by the way whatever kitchen you specify you'll work out of, be it church, town hall or restaurant,
are all considered your commisary. And all are fine so long as permitted and inspected.
post #4 of 5

Meezenplaz,

 

Is it a food handler's card or a food safety manager's certificate?

 

I'm in Tulare County and here they require at least one food safety manager on duty as well as all who handle food carry a food handler's card.
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #5 of 5

Okay Chef Pete I think I see your point here...

First, mine says exactly: CERTIFIED FOOD SAFETY MANAGER

I sat (slept?) thru the 6 hour Premier Safety class back in 2010, good for 5 years.

And I believe that was prior to the new law requiring all kitchen employees to

have a Food Handler Card--the quickie you can get online for 15 bucks or so.

 

So as an owner/operator of a catering business I would imagine OP WOULD need the

Safety Manager Cert as you noted, and if they hired regular employees (on payroll)

they would all need the Card, legally. Now as part time, independent contractor helpers,

probably  not.

But it's been a while  since I looked into it all, though I would imagine up where you are

is probably  pretty comparable to LA county.

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