Step by step

Open a food pop-up

Get approval to sell your food at a pop-up location if you are a licensed food facility or caterer.

You need approval from the health department to be a vendor at a pop-up location. You have to reapply each year.

You must already have a health permit to operate as a licensed food facility or catering company. View how to become a licensed caterer.

You can only run your pop-up 3 days or fewer each week.

To apply, get together your documentation from the following steps:

1

1. Verify the kitchen you'll work out of

Cost:

$235.00 and up.

Pay by credit, check, or money order.

Time:

At least 2 weeks before opening

Download and fill out the following form.

One section must be filled out by the owner of the licensed food facility that will host your pop-up. 

Kitchen verification form for pop-up.

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2

Confirm food safety manager certificate

Time:

Varies

At least 1 person who works at the food pop-up should be a certified food safety manager.

If they do not already have this certification, they can take a class online. The certificate is valid for 5 years.

You'll be asked to share a copy of the certificate with your application and post it at all pop-up events.

Become a certified food safety manager for your facility.

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3

Make a copy of your pop-up menu

List everything you plan to prepare and serve:

  • All food items
  • Condiments
  • Beverages
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4

Document the floor plan

Make a copy of the floor plan for the host location where you'll operate your pop-up.

Include all:

  • Equipment
    (Show all and indicate the equipment you will use)
  • Sinks
  • Storage spaces
  • Details of the pop-up setup
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5

Prepare a plan for how you'll transport food

Optional step

If you are making food at a different kitchen location ("commissary") from where the pop-up location is, give a description of how you will handle food safely during transport.

This should include how you will protect food, equipment, and utensils from contamination and unsafe temperatures.

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6

Have an operation plan for the facility

Give a brief description of how you will handle food safety at the pop-up location.

This includes how you will keep food, utensils, and equipment safe from contamination and unsafe temperatures.

Learn more about good practices for safely operating a pop-up.

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7

Submit copies of all materials

Gather your documentation from steps 1 to 6 and send them to:

Food Safety program

Environmental Health 
Department of Public Health
49 South Van Ness Avenue, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94103
 

Questions about pop-up permits

Uzziel Prado

Senior Environmental Health Inspector
Environmental Health

Office: 415-252-3873
Fax: 415-252-3842

uzziel.prado@sfdph.org

 

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Last updated November 16, 2023