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Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Food Preparation and Serving License

Service overview

You need this license to operate a food business where you prepare or serve food for public consumption. You may need this license to operate a:

  • Restaurant.
  • Deli.
  • Catering company.
  • Bar.
  • Grocery store that makes sandwiches or serves beverages.

Child care facilities may also need this license.

Non-profits that serve food free of charge need an Activity License Number. The license fee is waived in this case.

Who

Business owners and their agents can apply for this license.

Requirements

Other licenses and registrations

Zoning approval

The location must have proper zoning approval and associated construction permits, if applicable.

To find zoning information, search the Zoning Map.

Tax compliance

The business must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.

Where and when

Online

You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

In-person services at the Permit and License Center are currently available by appointment only.

Cost

Small (up to 29 seats) license fee
$275

A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due once your application is approved.

Large (30+ seats) license fee
$415

A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due once your application is approved.

Renewal late fee: If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info.

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
  2. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect this fee directly.
  3. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
  4. If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
  5. You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
  6. The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
  7. You cannot file or obtain additional permits until you resolve the outstanding debt.

Late license payment

If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.

How

You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

Online

1
Upload all required documents.

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

2
If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

In person

1
Visit the Permit and License Center.

L&I can review most applications while you wait.

2
L&I will either issue your license or request more information.

Renewal requirements

This license must be renewed annually. You can renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

To renew your license, you must:

  • Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
  • Provide a valid email address.

Forms & instructions


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