Food Establishment License

Inspection Requirements

The establishment owner/operator or the building contractor is responsible for ensuring that all building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, environmental, health and fire inspections are made, approved and recorded by central records and certificate of occupancy (CofO) section of the Development Services Department before a food establishment license is issued and the establishment may open for business.

All applicable requirements must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact the Disability Access Office at 210-207-7243.

CofO Health Inspection Checklist(PDF, 181KB)

A valid CofO must be presented at the time you wish to purchase a food license. Food establishment licenses must be purchased through Development Services:

Phone: 210-207-0135


Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center (One Stop)
1901 S. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX 78204

Information about visiting our office.

Businesses Requiring a Food Establishment License

Food Establishment (FE)
An operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, or otherwise provides food for human consumption such as: a restaurant; retail food store; satellite or catered feeding location; catering operation, if the operation provides food directly to a consumer or to a conveyance used to transport people; market; remote catered operations; conveyance used to transport people; institution; or food bank; and that relinquishes possession of food to a consumer directly, or indirectly through a delivery service such as home delivery of grocery orders or restaurant takeout orders, or delivery service that is provided by common carriers.
Food Manufacturing Business
Each location where food is manufactured as defined in Texas Civil Statues, Article 4476-5, Section 28. However, a food establishment or a commissary supplying food establishments is not a manufacturer unless it regularly engages in the labeling, combining and purifying of food which is either sold for resale or packaged for sale in other than individual portions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I go about opening my own food business?
First you must have access to a location that is zoned for that activity. Complete the City Certificate of Occupancy requirements at the Development and Business Services Center at 1901 S. Alamo. Clerks are available to assist you. Finally, purchase a Food Establishment License at the same location. If you need more information, download the “Small Business Resource Guide” from the City's Economic Development Department or contact the Small Business Liaison at 210-207-3903 for assistance.
How much does it cost to run a restaurant?
Expenditures vary considerably. You have to consider rent, utilities, labor, equipment, supplies, maintenance, and City Food Establishment License fees. If you need more specific assistance, call the Small Business Liaison at 210-207-3903 to meet with a business counselor.


Food Establishment License

Annual license fee to operate a food service establishment in San Antonio.

  • 1-10 Employees: $412
  • 11-25 Employees: $732.33
  • 26-50 Employees: $994.98
  • 50+ Employees: $1,240.12

Food Stores & Schools

Type Fee Description
Tier 1A Retail Food Stores $259.56 Annual license fee for a food store that sells only prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous foods or drinks.
Tier 1B Retail Food Stores $360.50 Annual license fee for a food store that sells prepackaged foods and limited open handling of foods.
Schools $221.45 Annual license fee to operate a school food service establishment in San Antonio.

Additional Fees May Apply

Type Fee Description
Fee for Inspection of Outdoor Patio that Allows Smoking $51.50 In order to establish that outdoor seating areas of restaurants designated as smoking areas are so designated in accordance with all City of San Antonio Code of Ordinances.
Food License Late Fee 10% Amount Due Late fee charged when food license fee is more than 30 days overdue.
Food License Replacement Fee $15.45 License replacement for lost documentation.
Food Establishment License Change of Ownership with Existing Certificate Occupancy (C of O) Fee $51.50 Fee assigned when establishment changes ownership but does not need a new C of O.
Consultation Fee $139.05 Fee charged when requesting Pre-Certificate of Occupancy Inspection or other consultative inspection visits not part of the normal routine inspection process.
Food Establishment License Reinstatement Fee $103 Fee to reinstate license after it was suspended.
Fee for Operating a Food Establishment Without a Proper License $154.50 Fee assigned when an illegal food operation is discovered by a sanitarian.

Food Establishment Reinspection Fees

Fee for any food establishment or food vendor that requires inspection beyond the normal schedule.

  • First Reinspection: $103
  • Second Reinspection: $118.45
  • Third Reinspection: $128.75
  • Fourth Reinspection: $154.50