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Every business that serves food generally needs a license from their county's department of health. If you are purchasing a coffee shop that is already operating, you still must get a license in your own name, but there may be a transition period allowed by your state to avoid any loss of business.
Contact your county or city department of public health and ask for a copy the food retailer's handbook. Most agencies publish a handbook that helps new food retailers understand the requirements of getting a food service license.
Fill out the application for your food retailers' or service license. Depending on your locale, you may need to submit a floor plan of your coffee shop as well as any zoning permissions you need to obtain through your municipality.
Submit your application along with the required fee to your state health department.
Make an appointment with the health department for an inspection of your coffee shop before it opens. It's important that your shop meet the requirements before it opens or you could be subject to heavy fines or closed down.
Ask your city or county clerk's office if a separate license or permit is required through your city or county. Submit that application and the appropriate fee.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.