Catering is a popular and competitive industry, but it needs certain licenses, and Illinois is no exception. Although there is no specific catering license needed, you will need several food and business licenses in order to operate a catering business in the state, with licenses in several different areas of food preparation.
State and Local Permits
Register your business' name with the state of Illinois as a DBA (doing business as) and secure a federal tax identification number. You will also need a seller's license, which covers selling anything people can touch. The seller's license requires an application, identification that demonstrates you are an Illinois resident, and a $15 fee. Some areas of Illinois, such as Chicago, also have a similar process you will need to fulfill.
To cook and serve eggs, meat and poultry, you will need an "egg breaker's" license, costing $200, and a Type 1 meat and poultry license, costing $50 annually, both from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. You will need to submit to an inspection of your cooking area to ensure that it meets health and sanitation requirements before you will be granted the license. To maintain the license you must submit to regular inspections over the life of the license.
Any caterer who wishes to serve alcoholic beverages must be licensed by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. Caterers will need a specialty retailer license from the state, and will also need to secure a liquor license from their town or county in order to obtain a state license.
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