Food Catering Requirements in Arizona

Those looking to cater in Arizona must follow certain procedures.
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Anyone interested in starting their own catering business in Arizona would be well advised to look into the laws that apply beforehand. Those who do wish to cater in Arizona will have to acquire a permit or license, and will have to officially register their business before any legal operations can begin. Caterers may prepare their food in their own food establishment, another person's establishment or their own private home.

Getting Started

Before anyone can start a food catering business in Arizona they must first register their catering business with the Arizona Corporations Commission. The proper form can be downloaded from the Commission's Corporations Division website. Potential food caterers can reserve a company name for their business for 120 days. The cost to do so is $10. Once the proper documents are filled out they may be filed with the Corporations Division of the Arizona Corporation Commission located in Phoenix.

The Permit

In order to run a catering service out of your home in Maricopa County, Arizona, a person must first make sure they are doing so in a commercial use zoning area. Under the guidelines of the Maricopa County environmental Health Code, all catering companies must have a food catering permit in order to legally operate. In order to obtain a food catering permit, the catering company must pass an inspection by the Maricopa County Environmental Health Services. The inspection will include an overall inspection of the facility, as well as a review of the menu and a review of the equipment and procedures used to prepare the food. As of 2008, the annual fee for a food catering permit was $503. The Maricopa County Environmental Health Services also provides a Special Event License to those looking to cater for a short duration during a public event.

Pima County

In order to cater legally in Pima County, Arizona, a person must first obtain an operating license. An on-site inspection of the catering space must be completed before any food can be served, and a menu must be presented to the Pima County Health Department. In the event that the caterer has his own food establishment, all food prepared must be prepared within that establishment. If the caterer does not own his own establishment but instead uses another establishment to prepare the food, a notarized statement must be provided to the Health Department stating that the owner of the establishment has approved the use of their establishment to prepare the food. Caterers are prohibited from serving any food that was not prepared in an approved establishment.

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