How to Open a Food Business in New Jersey

by Laurie Rappeport; Updated September 26, 2017
Selling food in New Jersey requires advanced planning.

Starting a food business can be a pleasurable way for people to combine their enjoyment of good food with an opportunity to share that interest. Beyond opening restaurants or selling ready-made food, some food businesses encourage customers to cook at home by selling produce and food products. Opening such a business in New Jersey requires understanding of New Jersey's food sales and business laws. In addition the food business management must know the regulations for food handling and sales of the local municipality, township or borough.

Find a location for the food business. Several real estate companies, such as loopnet.com/New-Jersey-Commercial-Real-Estate, specialize in commercial real estate properties, many of which would offer good locations and sales opportunities for a food business.

Familiarize with the New Jersey Food Code "Sanitation in Retail Food Establishments and Food and Beverage Vending Machines" to learn the laws of opening a Risk type 1 food business in New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Health does not issue licenses for food businesses, but the local authorities who do issue the licenses follow the New Jersey Code as well as any local ordinances and regulations. New Jersey regulations regarding food businesses include ordinances about the physical set up of the business, sewage and sanitation, food storage, equipment, personnel and food preparation and storage.

Obtain a license to open a food business from the local New Jersey borough, township or city hall's government where the business will open (city-data.com/states/New-Jersey-Local-government.html). Contacts between food businesses and the New Jersey Health Department will proceed through the local government. The Department of Health and Senior Services of New Jersey does not license retail food establishments. Obtain licenses to sell wholesale food supplies, shellfish, bottled water or frozen desserts from the New Jersey Health Department.

Register the business in the New Jersey municipality, borough or township where it will operate. Obtain permission from the local zoning board to open a food business.

Register for a class in business administration or business management to learn how to run a business efficiently. Research on-line classes or classes given through a local community college or university. The Small Business Administration's Web site offers valuable information to new businesspeople starting out (www.sba.gov/training/).

Register the business with the New Jersey Department of Treasury (state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/) as well as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov) to make sure that the business pays proper taxes. Obtain a Employer Identification Number from the IRS if employees will work in the food business.

Tips

  • Join the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (www.nrfsp.com/) to keep updated with food and health safety news.

About the Author

Laurie Rappeport is a writer and blogger with more than 10 years of experience. Her areas of expertise are in education, child development, travel, pets, nutrition and health for Demand Studios and a major travel website. Rappeport holds a Master of Arts degree from Wayne State University.

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