The State of Arizona does not require licensing for running a catering service. However, most Arizona counties require catering services to obtain a county permit and food handler’s card. Additionally, to do any sort of business in the state of Arizona, you must register that business with Arizona Corporations Commission. This is a legal requirement to hold your business accountable to consumers and for tax purposes.
Registering Your Arizona Catering Business
Check to make sure the name you want for your Arizona catering business is available through the name policy page on the Arizona Corporations Commission website. If you choose, you can have the Commission reserve the name you want for up to 120 days to insure that no other company claims it while you prepare your registration documents.
Visit the Internal Revenue Service website and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You will need this number for various purposes, such as business registration, tax preparation and opening a business checking account.
Download the registration forms for your Arizona catering business from the Corporations Commission website. The Commission recommends meeting with a business attorney to go over the forms before filing them.
Fill out the registration forms and submit them, with the necessary filing fees, to the address listed on the form. If you choose to, you can file your registration online by using the Arizona Public Access System.
Submit a Food Establishment License application. Refer to the Food Code reference below for a list of the information the application needs to include. Submit the application to:
Arizona Department of Health Services
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: (602) 364-2536
Fax: (602) 364-4808
Acquire a Food Catering License, or the equivalent, from the Arizona country where you provide catering services. For example, Maricopa County requires a “Food Catering Permit” for any type of catering service.
Obtain a food handler’s card, a requirement for anyone in the state of Arizona that sells, prepares or handles food for human consumption. Obtain this card through your local county office. For example, the Maricopa County reference below provides access to testing schedules and locations in that county.
Tips & Warnings
- If you conduct your Arizona catering business from your home, you won’t have to obtain a Food Establishment License. However, the Arizona Department of Health Services requires that a placard be visible to customers that states food is prepared in your home but that the Regulatory Authority does not inspect or regulate the premises.
- Photo Credit Finger food - finger food pieces at Mediterranean wedding image by FotoWorx from Fotolia.com
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