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Permits: Catering

Bar tender serving at a barCaterers prepare food for private gatherings and serve it at a separate location that is not owned or managed by the caterer.
If you are a retail caterer, you must get a Retail Food Establishment Permit (pdf) from DHEC for your base of operations.

Other Requirements

Retail caterers also need:

Home-Based Business

You cannot prepare food for the public out of your home kitchen.

To operate a retail catering business from your property, you will need:

  • A Retail Food Establishment permit (pdf) from DHEC
  • Verification that your local zoning law allows you to operate a business from your property.
  • A local business license
  • A separate commercial kitchen from the one that you or other residents use to prepare meals. A home kitchen cannot be used to prepare food for the public.
  • To comply with all state food safety and quality control standards and requirements for a commercial kitchen (or Retail Food Service Establishment). Among the requirements — commercial hoods, commercial dishwashers, an approved commercial well or municipal water source, grease traps, and an approved wastewater disposal method. DHEC staff can help you figure out what it would take to convert an area in your home to a commercial kitchen that would meet legal requirements. See DHEC’s Food Equipment Installation Manual (pdf).
  • Review the state’s food service law, Regulation 61-25 Retail Food Establishments.

Also see: Bakeries, Church Events