Plan Review

When is Plan Review Required?

To begin Florida’s public food service licensing process or to approve a remodel, the law requires the division to review establishment plans for sanitation and safety concerns. Plan review is required when the establishment is:

  • Newly built
  • Converted from another use
  • Remodeled
  • Re-opened after being closed at least 18 months

Applying for Plan Review

Plan review applicants are encouraged to complete the plan review process online. This requires high-quality plans drawn to scale and a menu (PDF is preferred). Applicants submitting an online application can expect it to be reviewed within 30 days. Printable forms, applications, and instructions are also available at the division’s forms center.

Requirements for application

  • Complete application
  • Scale drawing of floor plan with equipment labeled
  • Sample menu

For Remodel of a DBPR-Licensed Establishment

If you wish to create an Online Services account and link your license to it, follow these instructions:

If you already have an Online Services account with a linked license:

  • Log into account at Online Services here
  • Under Licenses Linked to My Account, select the license record which requires a remodel
  • From the Functions list, select Remodel Plan Review
  • Carefully read and follow all steps throughout the application
  • Submit required plans and menu (PDF preferred)

Dogs and Public Dining – Guidance

In accordance with the Dixie Cup Clary Local Control Act outlined in section 509.233, Florida Statutes, restaurants regulated by DBPR’s Division of Hotels & Restaurants may allow pet dogs in designated outdoor areas after obtaining a “doggie dining” permit from the local government in the area where the restaurant is located. Local government participation varies.

Plan Review Guidelines

These guidelines listed by topic are provided to assist you in determining the state requirements for sanitation and safety in public food service establishments. It is important to indicate compliance with these requirements on your plans and/or application.

Section 509.221(2), Florida StatutesRules 61C-4.010(2) and 61C-4.010(7), Florida Administrative Code Access to bathrooms by the public is not permitted through food preparation, food storage or utensil washing areas.  All public food service establishments must have a minimum of one public bathroom with the following exceptions:

  1. Mobile food dispensing vehicles, theme park food carts, vending machines, and food vendors at temporary events are not required to have bathrooms.
  2. Establishments located in arcades, malls or flea markets may use centrally located bathroom facilities available to the patrons of the arcade, mall or flea market, provided these bathrooms are available for use during all hours of operation, located on the same floor as the public food service establishment, and accessible without entering another business.
  3. Establishments located within theme parks or entertainment complexes may use centrally located bathroom facilities accessible to patrons, provided these bathrooms are within 300 feet of the establishment.
  4. Establishments located within a public lodging establishment may use the public bathrooms within the lodging establishment provided such bathrooms are available during all hours of operation and located on the same floor as the public food service establishment.
  5. Establishments whose occupancy is incidental to another occupancy may utilize public bathrooms provided on the same floor.

Bathroom fixtures must be in compliance with the local building authority in number and location. Hot and cold water is required at all handwash sinks used by employees including public bathrooms if used by employees. Bathrooms must be vented to remove obnoxious odors.

Chapter 6, Food Code Document the type of finish on floor, wall, and ceiling surfaces (e.g., concrete slab with sheet vinyl floor covering). Floors, walls and ceilings in high moisture areas like food preparation areas, food storage areas, warewashing areas, and bathrooms must be smooth and nonabsorbent, in good repair and easily cleanable, and provided with coved baseboards.  Utility lines and pipes may not obstruct or prevent cleaning of the floors, walls or ceilings.

Chapters 3 – 6, Food Code

  • Indicate where equipment, including sinks, will be located on the plans. All refrigeration units must maintain potentially hazardous foods (time/temperature control for safety) at 41ºF or colder.
  • Provide adequate facilities to store dishware, food, paper goods, maintenance and cleaning equipment. Specify the location and size of dry storage facilities and refrigeration. Consider the size of the business, frequency of deliveries, types of foods, use of paper goods, etc.
  • Store clean equipment, food and paper goods at least six inches above the floor.
  • Install equipment that is not easy to move either with enough space around it to allow cleaning or sealed to adjacent surfaces. For example, a floor mixer should be installed with enough space around it for easy cleaning, sinks should be sealed to wall and refrigerators should be on wheels.
  • Provide tabletop equipment that is not sealed to the tabletop and is not easily movable with legs at least 4″ high to facilitate cleaning under the equipment.
  • Provide floor mounted equipment that is not easily movable and not sealed to the floor with legs at least 6″ high to facilitate cleaning under the equipment.
  • Equipment must be durable and constructed to facilitate cleaning. For example, neither raw wood nor pegboard is allowed.
  • Protect displayed food, such as on salad bars, with sneeze guards or other protective devices.
  • Beverage tubing and cold-plate beverage cooling devices may not be installed in contact with stored ice. Drainage tubes may not pass through drink ice.
  • Provide running water dipper wells for bulk ice cream service unless you provide individual scoops, or each item or scoops are washed and sanitized between each use.
  • If ice is produced, indicate where the machine is located.  You must produce and store ice in enclosed, protected areas with a conveniently located handwash sink.
  • Laundry facilities on the premises of a food service establishment may be used only for washing and drying items used in the operation of the establishment.
  • If a mechanical clothes washer or dryer is provided, it must be located so that the washer and/or dryer is protected from contamination; and where there is no exposed food; clean equipment, utensils, linens; or unwrapped single-service and single-use articles.

Failure to meet these items will not prevent the division from approving the plans, but may result in a failed fire safety inspection. Contact the State Fire Marshal or your local fire safety authority to ensure your establishment meets fire safety requirements as prescribed in the National Fire Prevention Association Standards (NFPA).

Automatic Fire Suppression Systems – NFPA 96

Automatic fire suppression systems are required over cooking equipment when grease-laden vapors are produced. When an automatic suppression system is required, a portable K Class extinguisher is also required to be located away from the fire hazard area, but within 30 feet of the cooking equipment.

Emergency Lights and Exit Signs – NFPA 101

Emergency lights and exit signs are required if the occupancy is greater than 50 and the emergency exit door is not readily visible. If occupancy is greater than 49, exit doors must swing outward.

Fire Extinguishers – NFPA 10

Every establishment must have a properly tagged portable fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A10BC located so that travel distance to any extinguisher does not exceed 75 feet.  Portable extinguishers are often mounted on walls near exits.

Chapter 5, Food Code A separate sink used only for handwashing must be located in each food preparation, warewashing, and food dispensing area, including areas where ice is dispensed. These sinks must have hot and cold running water under pressure and be equipped with soap, a sanitary hand-drying device and a handwash sign. Provide splash protection if this sink is placed in a location where splash can contaminate nearby exposed food, food preparation surfaces, clean equipment or paper products.

Chapter 6, Food Code Light fixtures must be shielded, coated or covered where open or exposed food is stored, prepared or displayed.  The light intensity shall be:

  • 50 foot-candles (540 lux) at surfaces where food employees work with food or where employee safety is a factor (e.g., using utensils or equipment such as knives, slicers, saws, or grinders).
  • 20 foot-candles (215 lux) at surfaces:
    • Where you provide food for consumer self-service;
    • Where you sell or offer for consumption fresh produce or packaged foods;
    • Inside equipment (e.g., reach-in coolers); and
    • At a distance of 30 inches above the floor in handwashing and warewashing areas, and bathrooms.
  • 10 foot-candles (110 lux) at a distance of 30 inches above the floor in walk-in refrigeration units, dry food storage areas, and in other areas and rooms during periods of cleaning.

Chapter 5, Food Code You are required to have a utility/custodial type sink or a can wash provided for the cleaning of mops, and the disposal of mop water and similar liquid waste. It must have hot and cold running water and be connected to a sanitary sewer. Provide splash protection if this sink is placed in a location where splash can contaminate nearby sanitary surfaces. The mop/utility sink may not be used for warewashing or food preparation.

Chapter 5, Food Code

  • All faucets with hose fittings must have a backflow prevention device.
  • Refrigeration condensation and other non-sewage liquids must be drained from the point of discharge to disposal according to the specifications of the local plumbing authority.
  • You must not place food contact surfaces under exposed sewer lines.

Chapter 6, Food Code Outside walking and driving surfaces must minimize dust and be graded to prevent pooling of water. Exterior doors must be self-closing unless designated by the local fire authority as an emergency exit only.

Chapter 4, Food Code You may use a three-compartment sink or a commercial dishmachine to wash, rinse and sanitize equipment and utensils. Indicate how you will sanitize kitchenware (e.g., hot final rinse or chemical sanitizer). Chemical sanitizing dishmachines must be equipped with a device that indicates audibly or visually when more chemical sanitizer or detergent needs to be added. Dishmachines must automatically dispense detergent and sanitizer. Drain boards, or equivalent, must be provided at both ends of the three-compartment sink and/or dishmachine. You may use vented shelving in place of one or both drain boards. Provide adequate facilities to store soiled kitchenware before washing and air dry kitchenware after washing. Warewashing sinks may be used for food preparation if you wash and sanitize them before or after use.

Chapters 5 & 6, Food Code Indicate on the plans how you will store garbage and trash. You must place dumpsters and grease containers on nonabsorbent surfaces such as concrete or machine-laid asphalt. You must store new compactors on a graded concrete pad that drains into a sanitary sewer. Any rooms, outside enclosures, areas and containers used must be kept clean. Wastewater from such cleaning operations must be disposed of as sewage into a proper sewage disposal system.

Chapter 6, Food Code You must keep the facility free of excessive heat, steam, condensation, vapors, obnoxious odors, smoke and fumes, especially in:

  • Food storage areas,
  • Food preparation areas,
  • Food service areas,
  • Warewashing areas,
  • Bathrooms,
  • Locker rooms, and
  • Garbage storage areas.

Design and install intake and exhaust air ducts to prevent the entrance of dust, dirt, and other contaminating materials. Contact the local building authority for specific ventilation regulations.

Chapter 5, Food Code:  Drinking water shall be obtained from an approved source that is: (A) A public water system; or (B) A non-public water system that is constructed, maintained, and operated according to the law. Sewage shall be disposed through an approved facility that is: (A) A public sewage treatment plant; or (B) An individual sewage disposal system that is sized, constructed, maintained, and operated according to law. Non-public water or sewer systems must obtain approval from the Florida Department of Health (septic tanks) or Florida Department of Environmental Protection (wells).

We welcome any questions you may have about the process, please contact the plan review team by email


If plans do not meet sanitation and safety requirements, the applicant may request a variance from the division’s rules. A variance request must meet the requirements of section 120.542, Florida Statutes, and rule 28-104.002, Florida Administrative Code.

To apply for a variance after your plan has been denied, submit a written request to the division. There is no fee for a variance request. Include any relevant documentation to support the request and a contact name, address and phone number from whom additional information may be obtained.

There are two types of variances as follows:

  1. Routine Variance Request: A response will be issued within 90 days.
  2. Emergency Variance Request: A response will be issued within thirty (30) days.

Variance requests and questions about variances should be emailed to:

Plan Review Listing

A current listing of all plans submitted for review during the last 18 months is available on our public records page.

Need Help?

All requests for public records, complaints, forms, and applications for licenses can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.

Steven von Bodungen, Director

Division of Hotels and Restaurants
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1011

Telephone: 850.487.1395