Community Planning & Economic Development

Business Licenses & Consumer Services
350 S. 5th Street, Room 1
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: (612) 673-2080
Fax: (612) 673-3399

Monday through Thursday
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Visit Business Portal button

Didn't find what you are looking for?  Visit the Contact 311 web page for information about the City and City services.

 

Licenses and Consumer Services

Food Related License Definitions

 
Bed and Breakfast: An establishment where short-term lodging in a single family or two-family residence is provided for compensation and breakfast may be served to guests.
 
Butcher Shop: (Licensed as a Meat Market.) A retail food establishment providing manufacturing, processing, preparation, storage, handling or selling of fresh animal products.
 
Animal products: The portions of animals used as food such as, but not limited to, the dressed flesh of cattle, swine, sheep, goats, wild game, poultry, fish, shellfish, shell stock and other edible animals or similar types of foods that are offered for human consumption.
 
Meat food products: Any articles of food or articles that enter into the composition of food that are not prepared meats, but are derived or prepared, in whole or in part, by a process of manufacture from any portion of the carcasses of cattle, swine, sheep or goats.
 
Product wholesaler: Any person who processes meat and meat food products and sells these products or any part thereof at wholesale to be retailed for human consumption. This does not apply to any meat or meat products that are sold at retail on the premises.
 
Caterer:  A food establishment providing, preparing, and/or serving food at satellite locations for groups where all food and service expenses are paid by the group and not for individual sale. Retail sale of individual meals is prohibited. If food is delivered to a customer, this is not considered catering (i.e., box lunches, pizza). If food is served and/or reusable utensils are used, a catering license is required. Food Vehicle License is required for a caterer who transports food with a vehicle. Approved food transport containers must be provided.
 
Coffee Shop:  A food establishment with food preparation and service for carryout, delivery or on-site dining. If there are 13 or more seats, a Restaurant License is required.   If there are 12 or fewer seats, a Food Manufacturer License is required.
 
Community Kitchen: A commercial kitchen that may be used by licensed businesses or community members for cooking noncommercial or exempt foods or cooking classes and/or other related activities. A Food Manufacturer license is required. A Boarding House license may be required. 
 
Confectionery: Facilities that sell ready-to-eat, single-service, prepackaged snack items and beverages including, but not limited to, chips, pop, candy, crackers, cookies, pastries, popcorn, sandwiches, milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese and/or microwavable single-service soups or entrees. Ready-to-eat, single-serving fruits and vegetables prewashed by supplier may be sold if the facility has a conveniently located hand wash sink. Packaging or repackaging of food is prohibited. If the facility is equipped with an NSF-approved three-compartment ware-washing sink with two drain boards and a hand wash sink conveniently located in the ware-washing area, the following potentially non-hazardous items may be sold: coffee, flavored specialty coffees dispensed from a self-service device, pastries in a self-service display case, and/or candies in bulk containers for self-service. Food products designed for home preparation are not permitted. A commercial-grade microwave oven for self-service reheating of purchased food items is permitted. Potentially hazardous foods must be stored and displayed in approved commercial refrigerators or freezers. Confectionery licenses are often associated with hardware stores, dollar stores, car washes, tobacco shops, hotels, video stores, offices, condominiums or apartment buildings.
 
Congregate (Institutional) Food Service: A food establishment that serves food primarily to a defined population in a congregate dining fashion and may include commercial child care centers, hospital cafeterias, public and private schools, senior independent living facilities, charitable dining halls, community food service or similar facilities. Institutional food service does not mean home-based daycare businesses, establishments that operate with a City Board and Lodging License or food service operations at group homes, nursing homes, and veteran homes, etc. that are licensed at the county, state or federal level.
 
Farmers’ Market:   (Licensed as a Public Market.) A city-regulated air place for the selling and buying of farm products and other market related products.
 
Farmers Market Distributor: A vendor in a public or municipal market who sells or resells for off-site consumption prepackaged foods that do not require food handling in the market. This includes farmers who sell produce purchased from a wholesaler.
 
Farmers’ Market, Event Sponsor Permit: An Event Food Sponsor Permit must be obtained from the Division of Environmental Health for community events or celebrations that involve dispensing food and/or beverages to the public. Event Food Sponsors are responsible for collecting and submitting completed Short-Term Food Applications from all the vendors at an event, informing vendors when their permits are approved, and ensuring compliance with all food safety requirements at the event. The Event Food Sponsor Fee includes one free Short-Term Food Permit and an unlimited number of drink vendors pouring only non-potentially hazardous beverages from a keg, bottle or can, without ice and without garnish.
 
Farmers’ Market Exemptions: The farmers’ market vendors listed below are exempt from licensing requirements and fees. However, before selling exempted farm products in Minneapolis, Meat/Poultry Processors are required to complete the Exempt Vendor Registration Form and submit it to the primary farmer’s market manager located in Minneapolis. Upon approval by the City of Minneapolis, a permit will be mailed to the applicant.
 
Grower: Persons who sell products (e.g., eggs, fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.) from a farm or garden occupied and cultivated by them.
 
Home Processor: Persons who sell non-potentially hazardous home processed food he/she prepared. 
 
Meat/Poultry Processor: Persons who sell the meats of animals raised on their farm and processed/packaged at a licensed facility inspected by MDA/USDA or equivalent agency.  Meat/Poultry Processors are required to register with the City of Minneapolis prior to selling at Minneapolis markets.

 

Pickle Bill: Individuals who prepare and sell food products which are home– processed and home-canned in Minnesota with gross receipts from your canned food items not exceeding $5,000 in a calendar year. Pickles, vegetables or fruits must have an equilibrium pH value of 4.6 or lower.  The following types of foods cannot  be  sold  under  either  of  the  above  exemptions:  apple  or  fruit  juice, pumpkin pies, custard pies, cream puff’s, low acid canned foods such as green beans, corn, peas, mushrooms, soups, meat, fish, eggs or any other ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods products containing meat, eggs, dairy or any product that requires refrigeration.

 

Farmers Market Manufacturer:  A vendor in a public or municipal market who sells foods for immediate consumption. No ready-to-eat or foods available for immediate consumption shall be offered for sale, displayed, or sold on the Nicollet Mall extension of the municipal market.

 

Food Cart Vendor, Indoor:  An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a mobile cart on private property.

 

Food Cart Vendor, Kiosk: An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a food cart in a kiosk that has direct plumbing on private property.

 

Food Cart Vendor, Sidewalk:  An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a mobile cart on public sidewalks and private property in downtown.

 

Food Distributor:  A vendor selling or reselling foods to retail establishments for off-site consumption.  

 

Food Manufacturer: A vendor preparing and/or selling foods for carry out, delivery, or on-site dining with 12 or fewer seats for customers or a community kitchen.

 

Food Shelf:  A food establishment operated by a nonprofit organization where food is collected, stored, or packaged for free distribution to individuals who qualify for food according to need.

 

Grocery:  A retail establishment that sells such products as staple foods, accessory food items and household goods and maintains a minimum sales floor area of 2,000 square feet. Specialty food stores, filling stations that do not have more than 300 square feet of retail sales floor area, and grocery stores located in the central commercial district or in a shopping center are not required to meet the 2,000 square foot sales floor requirement.

 

Staple foods: Food items intended for home preparation and consumption including meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, bread, breadstuffs, cereals and dairy products.

 

Accessory food items: Nonstaple food items such as coffee, tea, cocoa, carbonated and uncarbonated drinks, candy, condiments and spices.

 

Grocery, Accessory Use:  A retail establishment that sells only specialized types of staple foods and accessory foods. This includes but is not limited to imported food stores, gift shops, department stores, and general retail stores that specialize in products other than consumable products. A specialty food store is not a grocery store that sells a wide variety of common staple food items to qualify for government supplemental nutrition programs.

 

Institutional/Congregate Food Service: A food establishment that serves food primarily to a defined population in a congregate dining fashion and may include commercial child care centers, hospital cafeterias, public and private schools, senior independent living facilities, charitable dining halls, community food service or similar facilities.  Institutional food service does not mean home-based daycare businesses, establishments that operate with a City Board and Lodging License or food service operations at group homes, nursing homes, and veterans’ homes, etc. that are licensed at the county, state or federal level.

 

Limited Mobile Food Vendor:  An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle parked curbside on a public street.

 

Limited Mobile Food Vendor, City Parks:  An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle only in city parks.

 

Lodging House/Lodging House with Boarding: The owner or operator of a rooming house where meals are served to tenants. Communal kitchens are permitted.

 

Market Distributor: A vendor in a public or municipal market who sells or resells for off-site consumption prepackaged foods that do not require food handling in the market. This includes farmers who sell produce purchased from a wholesaler.

 

Market, Exempt Vendors:  Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa farmers/growers or individuals who sell locally produced fruits and/or vegetables grown in their farm/garden at an outside, public market. This includes the sale of flowers, herbs and potted starter produce plants grown locally by farmers.  The following are prohibited in the market:   food manufacturers or food distributors including sandwich makers, cooking demonstrations, coffee carts, or pastry sellers, for example;  vendors selling fruits and/or vegetables purchased from retailers or wholesalers;  arts/crafts or other nonfood vendors.   A maximum of five vendors are allowed in the market on any given day. Business licenses are available for larger markets or markets desiring other types of vendors and features. For more information, call Business Licensing at 612-673-3000    or 311 or [email protected]

 

Market Manufacturer: A vendor in a public or municipal market who sells foods for immediate consumption. No ready-to-eat or foods available for immediate consumption shall be offered for sale, displayed, or sold on the Nicollet Mall extension of the municipal market.

 

Market, Public (Farmers’ Market):  A city-regulated place for the selling and buying of farm products and other market related products.

 

Meat Market (Butcher Shop):  A retail food establishment providing manufacturing, processing, preparation, storage, handling or selling of fresh animal products.

 

Animal products: The portions of animals used as food such as, but not limited to, the dressed flesh of cattle, swine, sheep, goats, wild game, poultry, fish, shellfish, shell stock and other edible animals or similar types of foods that are offered for human consumption.

 

Meat food products: Any articles of food or articles that enter into the composition of food that are not prepared meats, but are derived or prepared, in whole or in part, by a process of manufacture from any portion of the carcasses of cattle, swine, sheep or goats.

 

Product wholesaler: Any person who processes meat and meat food products and sells these products or any part thereof at wholesale to be retailed for human consumption. This does not apply to any meat or meat products that are sold at retail on the premises.

 

Mobile Food Store: The sale of prepackaged groceries, meats, provisions and miscellaneous goods at designated senior citizens' high rise apartments that do not have a licensed grocery-meat market operation on the premises. No sales shall be made from any mobile groceteria upon the city streets, alleys or public way.

 

Mobile Food Vendor Vehicle: A food establishment preparing and/or serving foods from a self-contained vehicle, either motorized or within a trailer on public sidewalks, private property, or curbside on public streets.  The vehicle must be readily movable, without disassembling, for transport.  Sidewalk and parking lot location are assigned to individual vendors.  Street locations are available to all licensed vendors daily on a first-come first-served basis.  Vehicles may not be kept, stored, or maintained on a residentially zoned property.

 

Mobile Food Vendor, Limited: An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle.

 

Mobile Food Vendor, Limited, City Parks: An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle only in city parks.

 

Public Market (Farmers’ Market):  A city-regulated air place for the selling and buying of farm products and other market related products.

 

Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Café, and Dining Room:   A food establishment with 13 or more seats and no beverage alcohol. If an establishment has 12 or fewer seats, a Food Manufacturer License is required.

 

Restaurant, delicatessen: An establishment that sells ready-to-eat foods, in bulk or individual servings, primarily for consumption off the premises, and is not a fast food restaurant.

 

Restaurant, sit down: An establishment engaged in the preparation and retail sale of food and beverages, which is characterized by table service to customers and is not a delicatessen restaurant, fast food restaurant or nightclub.

 

Restaurant, fast food:  An establishment whose design or principal method of operation includes five or more of the following characteristics. In addition, any restaurant with a drive-through facility shall be considered a fast food restaurant if:

 

1. A permanent menu board is provided from which to select and order food;

 

2. Customers pay for food before consuming it;

 

3. A self-service condiment bar is provided;

 

4. Trash receptacles are provided for self-service bussing;

 

5. Furnishing plan indicates hard finished stationary seating arrangement;

 

6. Most main course food items are substantially prepared or cooked on premises and packaged in individual, non-reusable containers.

 

Seasonal Food Permit: The sale of food and drink at multiple community events throughout the year. A maximum of two stands are allowed to operate for each permit.

 

Short Term Food Permit: The sale of food and drink for up to 10 consecutive days for no more than three times annually at community-based events such as fairs, community celebrations, carnivals, circuses, promotional food product events, and sporting events, for example. A maximum of two stands are allowed to operate for each permit.

 

Sidewalk Café:  A business licensed to sell food, beer or liquor for consumption and operating a portion of their business on the city sidewalk (right of way) immediately adjoining their business. Sidewalk café permits do not authorize placing or leaving any tables, chairs, furnishings, or other equipment during periods when the sidewalk café is not open and being operated unless the establishment is located in the Central Commercial District or the Lake and Hennepin PO Overlay District. A public hearing at the Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee of the City Council may be required for license approval. Applicants with a liquor license must file a request for an Expansion of Premises for their liquor license.

 

Sidewalk Food Cart Vendor: An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a non-motorized mobile cart on public sidewalks or private property in downtown.

 

Vending Machines:  A self service device offered for public use which, upon the insertion of a coin, bill or token dispenses a serving of food or beverage. Bottled and canned soda machines are exempt. This license permits two free vending machines located on the premises if they are owned and maintained by the licensee.

 

Meat/Poultry Processor: Persons who sell the meats of animals raised on their farm and processed/packaged at a licensed facility inspected by MDA/USDA or equivalent agency.  Meat/Poultry Processors are required to register with the City of Minneapolis prior to selling at Minneapolis markets.

 
Pickle Bill: Individuals who prepare and sell food products which are home– processed and home-canned in Minnesota with gross receipts from your canned food items not exceeding $5,000 in a calendar year. Pickles, vegetables or fruits must have an equilibrium pH value of 4.6 or lower. The following types of foods cannot be sold under either of the above exemptions: apple or fruit juice, pumpkin pies, custard pies, cream puff’s, low acid canned foods such as green beans, corn, peas, mushrooms, soups, meat, fish, eggs or any other ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods products containing meat, eggs, dairy or any product that requires refrigeration.
 
Farmers Market Manufacturer:  A vendor in a public or municipal market who sells foods for immediate consumption. No ready-to-eat or foods available for immediate consumption shall be offered for sale, displayed, or sold on the Nicollet Mall extension of the municipal market.
 
Food Cart Vendor, Indoor: An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a mobile cart on private property.
 
Food Cart Vendor, Kiosk: An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a food cart in a kiosk that has direct plumbing on private property.
 
Food Cart Vendor, Sidewalk: An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a mobile cart on public sidewalks and private property in downtown.
 
Food Distributor: A vendor selling or reselling foods to retail establishments for off-site consumption.  
 
Food Manufacturer: A vendor preparing and/or selling foods for carry out, delivery, or on-site dining with 12 or fewer seats for customers or a community kitchen.
 
Food Shelf: A food establishment operated by a nonprofit organization where food is collected, stored, or packaged for free distribution to individuals who qualify for food according to need.
 
Grocery: A retail establishment that sells such products as staple foods, accessory food items and household goods and maintains a minimum sales floor area of 2,000 square feet. Specialty food stores, filling stations that do not have more than 300 square feet of retail sales floor area, and grocery stores located in the central commercial district or in a shopping center are not required to meet the 2,000 square foot sales floor requirement.
 
Staple foods: Food items intended for home preparation and consumption including meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, bread, breadstuffs, cereals and dairy products.
 
Accessory food items: Nonstaple food items such as coffee, tea, cocoa, carbonated and uncarbonated drinks, candy, condiments and spices.
 
Grocery, Accessory Use: A retail establishment that sells only specialized types of staple foods and accessory foods. This includes but is not limited to imported food stores, gift shops, department stores, and general retail stores that specialize in products other than consumable products. A specialty food store is not a grocery store that sells a wide variety of common staple food items to qualify for government supplemental nutrition programs.
 
Institutional/Congregate Food Service: A food establishment that serves food primarily to a defined population in a congregate dining fashion and may include commercial child care centers, hospital cafeterias, public and private schools, senior independent living facilities, charitable dining halls, community food service or similar facilities. Institutional food service does not mean home-based daycare businesses, establishments that operate with a City Board and Lodging License or food service operations at group homes, nursing homes, and veterans’ homes, etc. that are licensed at the county, state or federal level.
Limited Mobile Food Vendor: An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle parked curbside on a public street.
 
Limited Mobile Food Vendor, City Parks: An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle only in city parks.
 
Lodging House/Lodging House with Boarding: The owner or operator of a rooming house where meals are served to tenants. Communal kitchens are permitted.
 
Market Distributor: A vendor in a public or municipal market who sells or resells for off-site consumption prepackaged foods that do not require food handling in the market. This includes farmers who sell produce purchased from a wholesaler.
 
Market, Exempt VendorsMinnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa farmers/growers or individuals who sell locally produced fruits and/or vegetables grown in their farm/garden at an outside, public market. This includes the sale of flowers, herbs and potted starter produce plants grown locally by farmers. The following are prohibited in the market:   food manufacturers or food distributors including sandwich makers, cooking demonstrations, coffee carts, or pastry sellers, for example; vendors selling fruits and/or vegetables purchased from retailers or wholesalers; arts/crafts or other nonfood vendors.   A maximum of five vendors are allowed in the market on any given day. Business licenses are available for larger markets or markets desiring other types of vendors and features. For more information, call Business Licensing at 612-673-3000    or 311 or [email protected]
 
Market Manufacturer: A vendor in a public or municipal market who sells foods for immediate consumption. No ready-to-eat or foods available for immediate consumption shall be offered for sale, displayed, or sold on the Nicollet Mall extension of the municipal market.
 
Market, Public (Farmers’ Market): A city-regulated place for the selling and buying of farm products and other market related products.
 
Meat Market (Butcher Shop):  A retail food establishment providing manufacturing, processing, preparation, storage, handling or selling of fresh animal products.
 
Animal products: The portions of animals used as food such as, but not limited to, the dressed flesh of cattle, swine, sheep, goats, wild game, poultry, fish, shellfish, shell stock and other edible animals or similar types of foods that are offered for human consumption.
 
Meat food products: Any articles of food or articles that enter into the composition of food that are not prepared meats, but are derived or prepared, in whole or in part, by a process of manufacture from any portion of the carcasses of cattle, swine, sheep or goats.
 
Product wholesaler: Any person who processes meat and meat food products and sells these products or any part thereof at wholesale to be retailed for human consumption. This does not apply to any meat or meat products that are sold at retail on the premises.
 
Mobile Food Store: The sale of prepackaged groceries, meats, provisions and miscellaneous goods at designated senior citizens' high rise apartments that do not have a licensed grocery-meat market operation on the premises. No sales shall be made from any mobile groceteria upon the city streets, alleys or public way.
 
Mobile Food Vendor Vehicle: A food establishment preparing and/or serving foods from a self-contained vehicle, either motorized or within a trailer on public sidewalks, private property, or curbside on public streets. The vehicle must be readily movable, without disassembling, for transport. Sidewalk and parking lot location are assigned to individual vendors. Street locations are available to all licensed vendors daily on a first-come first-served basis. Vehicles may not be kept, stored, or maintained on a residentially zoned property.
 
Mobile Food Vendor, Limited: An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle.
 
Mobile Food Vendor, Limited, City Parks: An individual who sells prepackaged items such as ice cream, pop, candy, and/or potato chips from a vehicle only in city parks.
 
Public Market (Farmers’ Market): A city-regulated air place for the selling and buying of farm products and other market related products.
 
Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Café, and Dining Room:  A food establishment with 13 or more seats and no beverage alcohol. If an establishment has 12 or fewer seats, a Food Manufacturer License is required.
 
Restaurant, delicatessen: An establishment that sells ready-to-eat foods, in bulk or individual servings, primarily for consumption off the premises, and is not a fast food restaurant.
 
Restaurant, sit down: An establishment engaged in the preparation and retail sale of food and beverages, which is characterized by table service to customers and is not a delicatessen restaurant, fast food restaurant or nightclub.
 
Restaurant, fast food: An establishment whose design or principal method of operation includes five or more of the following characteristics. In addition, any restaurant with a drive-through facility shall be considered a fast food restaurant if:
 
1. A permanent menu board is provided from which to select and order food;
 
2. Customers pay for food before consuming it;
 
3. A self-service condiment bar is provided;
 
4. Trash receptacles are provided for self-service bussing;
 
5. Furnishing plan indicates hard finished stationary seating arrangement;
 
6. Most main course food items are substantially prepared or cooked on premises and packaged in individual, non-reusable containers.
 
Seasonal Food Permit: The sale of food and drink at multiple community events throughout the year. A maximum of two stands are allowed to operate for each permit.
 
Short Term Food Permit: The sale of food and drink for up to 10 consecutive days for no more than three times annually at community-based events such as fairs, community celebrations, carnivals, circuses, promotional food product events, and sporting events, for example. A maximum of two stands are allowed to operate for each permit.
 
Sidewalk Café: A business licensed to sell food, beer or liquor for consumption and operating a portion of their business on the city sidewalk (right of way) immediately adjoining their business. Sidewalk café permits do not authorize placing or leaving any tables, chairs, furnishings, or other equipment during periods when the sidewalk café is not open and being operated unless the establishment is located in the Central Commercial District or the Lake and Hennepin PO Overlay District. A public hearing at the Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee of the City Council may be required for license approval. Applicants with a liquor license must file a request for an Expansion of Premises for their liquor license.
 
Sidewalk Food Cart Vendor: An individual who sells prepackaged or limited ready-to-eat foods from a non-motorized mobile cart on public sidewalks or private property in downtown.
 
Vending Machines: A self service device offered for public use which, upon the insertion of a coin, bill or token dispenses a serving of food or beverage. Bottled and canned soda machines are exempt. This license permits two free vending machines located on the premises if they are owned and maintained by the licensee.

 

Last updated Feb 27, 2019

QUICK LINKS

Home

Contact us

Email updates

Find a service

About this site

For employees

Accessibility:
For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats, contact 311.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 

Salary Compliance Notice:
State statute 471.701; Notice of Salary Compliance, requires that the City post for not less than 90 days
the job title of the three highest paid employees along with their base salary. For 2018 these were:
1. City Attorney, $186,490
2. Assistant City Coordinator Convention Center, $183,600
3. Director Public Works, $181,191

CONNECT

311 call center

311 TTY relay service

City of Minneapolis Facebook City of Minneapolis Twitter City of Minneapolis YouTube ChaNNEL Minneapolis 311 Watch Minneapolis City Council TV City of Minneapolis LinkedIn

Minneapolis, City of Lakes logo