Retail Food Licensing

Opening a Retail Food Establishment

There are a few steps that need to take place before opening (or building) a retail food establishment. Review the Retail Food Regulations (regulaciones en Español) before beginning the plan review process:

  1. Plan review (brick and mortar click here) (mobile unit click here)
  2. Proof of citizenship affidavit (only required if you’re a sole proprietor or individual owner)
  3. Retail establishment application
  4. Application fee of $100 made out to Gunnison County HHS

A complete plan review packet will include the following:

  • Menu and food handling procedures.
  • Facility floor plan and equipment layout.
  • Equipment list by manufacturer and model number. Equipment designated for home use isn't acceptable.
  • Manufacturer's specification sheets for all equipment.
  • Mechanical diagrams, including plumbing, lighting, electrical, and kitchen and restroom ventilation.
  • Interior finish schedule. May include samples of materials, finishes and colors.
  • Affidavit of Residency (only required if you're a sole proprietor or individual owner).
  • An incomplete packet may delay processing time.

Submit all documents to:
Consumer Protection
Health & Human Services
255 N. Pine St.
Gunnison, CO 81230

Your plans will begin being reviewed within two weeks of submitting. Submittal of incomplete or incorrect plans may delay final approval. When your plans are approved, we will send you the annual retail food license application and plan review approval letter. You can begin construction when you receive your plan approval letter. A pre-operational inspection needs to be scheduled at least one week before opening. After a satisfactory inspection, you will be sent an invoice for the cost of the review (not to exceed $580) and license fee. The license goes through December 31st of that year and cannot be prorated. You can begin operation once your retail food license has been issued.

It's required for all retail food establishments to have a sales tax license and you must include your sales tax ID on your license application where indicated.

Some additional resources or contacts you might need: 

Sales Tax

Other Licensing (dependent on establishment type)

Hood Inspectors

  • Crested Butte Fire District
  • City of Gunnison Fire


Remodeling a Retail Food Establishment

Contact us before remodeling, expanding, or extensively changing your restaurant and/or menu to determine if plan review is necessary.

Extensive remodeling is defined in Section 1-202(A)(39) of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations, and includes:

  • Increasing seating capacity by 15 seats or 20%, whichever is greater.
  • Alterations requiring a building permit.
  • Changes or alterations to nonpublic areas that result in reduction or increase of total space by 25% or more.
  • Capabilities to handle food, equipment and utensils in a sanitary manner have been diminished due to a menu or food process change that introduces new risks of foodborne illness.

Submit your plan review packet along with the $100 fee. Make the check payable to Gunnison County HHS.

Your plans will begin being reviewed within two weeks of submitting. Submittal of incomplete or incorrect plans may delay final approval. We will send you the plan review approval letter once your plans are approved. You can begin construction when you receive your plan approval letter. A pre-operational inspection needs to be scheduled at least one week before planning to operate and after plans are approved. After a satisfactory inspection, we will send you an invoice for the cost of the review (not to exceed $580).


Change of Ownership of a Retail Food Establishment

Retail food licenses are specific to the ownership and location, and are non-transferable.

If you're planning to purchase, or have already purchased, an existing food service operation and aren’t making any changes to the establishment, menu, or equipment, we may consider your application for license without a plan review.

Submit the Change of Ownership Packet along with the $100 application fee and a Retail food establishment application. Your change of ownership packet will be reviewed within two weeks and it will be determined if you are required to go through a full plan review process before applying for an annual retail food license.

If there are any questions feel free to contact: 

Jenn Chavez
Consumer Protection Specialist
Health & Human Services
jchavez@gunnisoncounty.org
970-641-0209
275 S. Spruce St.
Gunnison, CO 81230

Temporary physical location:
275 S. Spruce St.
Gunnison, CO 81230

All USPS mail should be sent to:

225 N. Pine St.
Gunnison, CO 81230