Food Service Establishments


A food service establishment is any business that prepares or serves food (defined as “cooks, puts together, portions, sets out, or hands out food for human consumption”) or regulated drinks (beverages made from raw fruits or vegetables) or any drink not sold in disposable containers, including private clubs with ABC licenses. 


Permits are required for restaurants, food stands, and other places that prepare food for sale to the public in North Carolina. Permits are required for both new establishments and existing businesses undergoing a change in ownership. As required by law, food service establishments are also regularly inspected by our environmental health specialists. 


During inspections, environmental health specialists check on cleanliness, food temperature standards and other factors to identify and correct any issues that could lead to foodborne illness.

Person in Charge

Every food service establishment is required to have a qualified person in charge (PIC) during all operational hours. The PIC must be a certified Food Protection Manager who has proven their proficiency with required food safety information by passing a test that is part of an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) at a proctored testing site, and by proving their knowledge during inspections.

Septic System

To obtain a permit, your establishment has to be fully in compliance with current state rules. If your establishment is on a septic system, you will also be required to file an existing onsite wastewater application. It’s strongly recommended to have existing septic systems approved for use before undergoing the plan review process, as a change in use or volume may affect the existing system’s functionality.

Additional permitting and inspections may be required from Haywood County’s Building Department or one of the municipal towns building departments. More information about required fire safety equipment is available from the county Fire Marshal.

Apply for a Permit

To apply for a food service permit, return the following items to the Environmental Health office:

  • $250 plan review fee (check made payable to Haywood County Environmental Health)
  • Complete application form
  • Complete set of plans, drawn to scale, showing the location of equipment, plumbing and electrical services, and mechanical ventilation
  • Copy of the proposed menu
  • Equipment details, including manufacturer’s spec sheets
  • Finish schedule
  • Site Plan