Licenses and permits required to open a bakery depend on a number of factors. Laws regarding businesses vary by city, county and state. What might be required in one area is not necessarily a requirement in another. A business in the county typically has different licensing requirements than one within the city limits. Another consideration is if the bakery intends to offer in-house dining or solely takeout purchases.
Cities and counties normally require a bakery to have a business license issued by the city or county. These are typically annual licenses, renewed each year for a fee. If the business is in an unincorporated area of the county, the county normally issues the license, while bakeries within the city limits obtain a license through the city. Some states require a business to obtain a fictitious business name, in which the bakery registers its business name according to the rules of the state.
If the state charges sales tax, the bakery owner typically needs a sales permit. Rules regarding taxable items vary by state, with some states exempting certain types of food from sales tax. Another consideration is if the food is carryout or eaten on the premises like a restaurant. The food sales tax exception normally does not apply to restaurant food.
The bakery typically needs a permit from the local health department. The health department might also require certain employees of the bakery to obtain food handler’s cards. These are certificates the employee earns after completing a food safety class. The health department will periodically check the bakery to verify the business is complying with health and safety standards set for food establishments.
The local fire department may require the bakery have a fire department permit. This often involves a routine check of the premises to inspect the installation of the ovens and verify the bakery has adequate fire protection. Some ordinances specify a bakery or restaurant have an overhead sprinkler system that the fire inspector might check.
As with any business, the bakery may need additional permits or licenses to comply with local or state ordinances. This might include a sign permit, parking permits or building permits to make necessary alterations to the bakery building.