Food businesses

We define and list the types of food businesses we inspect.

Types of food businesses


A food business stores, prepares, packages, serves or provides food for people to eat. A food business may also directly or indirectly deliver food, such as home grocery delivery or a restaurant takeout order.

A food business may be a:

  • Restaurant
  • Grocery, market or convenience store
  • Food stand or food truck
  • School or institution
  • Hotel
  • Vending machine 
  • Retail bakery

For more about food business definitions, please review License and Consumer Services Food Related License Definitions.


A restaurant prepares or provides service, food, and beverages to customers for more than 21 days a year. Beverages may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. 

Grocery store

A grocery store sells food and food accessories for people to use, make, or eat at home. This may include

  • Meat, poultry, or fish
  • Bread or baked items
  • Cereal and other dry goods
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Juices
  • Dairy products

Some grocery stores also sell household items. 

Confectionary business

A confectionary business sells ready-to-eat snacks and beverages such as

  • Chips, crackers or popcorn
  • Cookies and bulk candy
  • Soda, milk or juice
  • Ice cream and donuts
  • TV dinners
  • Cheese

Confectionary licenses are often held by businesses that serve another purpose, for example

  • Hardware stores
  • Gas stations and car washes
  • Dollar stores
  • Tobacco shops or video stores
  • Offices

If the business has a hand sink and 3-compartment sink for washing utensils and equipment, they can sell self-serve coffee and pastries. A commercial-grade microwave may be available for customers to heat their food. 

Potentially hazardous foods should always be stored and displayed in approved commercial equipment. 

Farmers market

A market where growers can sell their goods directly to the consumer.

Food carts

A food cart is a mobile food and beverage service. Food is sold from a non-motorized vehicle that is moved by its operator. All food carts must be meet Minnesota Food Code requirements.

Mobile vendor

A food and beverage business in a motorized vehicle or trailer that can be easily moved to another location.

Short term food vendor

A food and beverage vendor with a food stand that is disassembled and moved from location to location. A Short term food vendor operates no more than 10 days annually at any one civic event.

Seasonal food vendor

A vendor who sells food and beverages at multiple community events throughout the year. A maximum of two stands can operate for each permit. 

Vending machines

All vending machines must comply with applicable rules and regulations of the:

  • National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA)
  • National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF)
  • State of Minnesota rules

See Minnesota Administrative Rules, 1550.3200 to 1550.3320

Contact us

Health Department

Environmental Health




Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave S, Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415