Do I Need a Catering License?

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Obtaining a catering license is a requirement when starting a catering business. Having a catering license indicates that you are following your state’s guidelines and ensures customers you are preparing and transporting the food safely and properly.


According to Minneapolis Environmental Health and Food Safety, “A catering license is needed if the food is delivered and served on site to customers, or if food is delivered in multi-use utensils that will be returned for re-use.” This includes all businesses that prepare food for distribution and sale including licensed food establishments, caterers, churches and schools.

Obtain a License

The Small Business Administration recommends that you contact your state licensing authorities to determine the requirements of your catering business. Contact your local SBA office for licensing information or contact your local courthouse to find out where to obtain a catering license in your area.



To be approved for a catering license, follow the written requirements provided by your state’s Department of Health or Department of Agriculture. Compliance with these regulations and proper food-handling practices will help prevent food-borne illnesses.




About the Author

Toni Grundstrom has been a freelance writer since 1985 and in the marketing field since 1994. Her published material can be found in print for "The Community Courier," and online as an expert writer for,, and Article Grundstrom holds a Bachelor of Arts in marketing and public relations from Metropolitan State University.

Photo Credits

  • quiches image by AnneCatherine Mittey from