Catering Operations and Host Facilities

Community Development Agency

Assembly Bill 2524 went into effect on January 1, 2019. The bill allows caterers to operate at a host facility and sell direct to public. A host facility is a facility located in a brewery, winery, commercial building, or another location as approved by Environmental Health Service, and operates in conjunction with a permitted catering operation or retail food facility that already has a current health permit.


Host Facility Requirements

A brewery, winery, commercial building or other location approved by Environmental Health that meets specified infrastructure and operational requirements has the option to obtain a Host Facility Permit. This permit allows for expanded food options by hosting a catering operation who can sell and serve food at this approved site.

A Host Facility Permit is not required for sites that only utilize catering for private events or that only host food trucks.

Operational Requirements for a Host Facility Permit

  • Restrooms (Toilet and Handwashing): An approved restroom facility in the Host Facility that the catering operation will be using is required. The restroom must be located within 200 feet of the area where the catering operation prepares the food and must be accessible to all food handlers. The restroom must meet all local building and plumbing code standards. A common use restroom agreement must be submitted if a restroom is to be utilized outside of the Host Facility.
  • Additional Handwashing: A permanently plumbed handwashing sink, in addition to the restroom handsink, for Caterer’s use may be required. All handwashing sinks shall have a minimum of 100°F-108°F warm water under pressure for a minimum of 15 seconds. Handsinks must have hand soap and single use paper towels in dispensers.
  • Refuse and Liquid Waste: The Host Facility must have approved methods for disposal of refuse and liquid waste. A curbed janitorial sink equipped with hot and cold water and an atmospheric vacuum breaker or other approved backflow device at the faucet may be required.
  • Potable Hot and Cold Water: Host facility must have a hot water heater that consistently supplies hot water at a minimum 120°F, and that is available at one of the sink fixtures at a peak demand rate.
  • Location for Catering Operation: Host facility must provide a suitable location where the catering operation can set up their operations. The type of food service provided by the catering operation is contingent upon the location where they will set up their equipment. The Host facility must ensure that operations comply with all applicable codes in their jurisdiction, including but not limited to Zoning and Fire Department.
  • Annual Inspection: Host facilities are inspected annually by Environmental Health and if complaints are received.
  • Standard Operational Procedures: Host Facilities must maintain operating procedures that describes the procedures, methods, and schedules for cleaning food related equipment; specifications for equipment that will be provided by the Host Facility to support the catering operation and how it will be maintained in good repair; how potentially hazardous foods will be maintained and how you will maintain a list of catering operations that will operate at the Host Facility with their menus, dates and times of their operations.

Plan Check and Permit Application Process for a Host Facility Permit

  1. Use the Host Facility Plan Check Process to determine if you should have a site review or submit plans.
  2. Once you determine whether a site review or plan submission is appropriate complete the corresponding application and submit with fees to Marin County Environmental Health Services.
  3. Include with submission, a Standard Operating Procedure that includes: procedures, methods and schedule for cleaning equipment and structures, and for disposal of refuse; and a list of catering operations that will be supported by the Host Facility with proposed menus.
  4. If your application is for plan submission, include one set of plans with your application.
  5. After receiving approval from Environmental Health, you may then apply for your Host Facility Permit.

Applications and Forms

Frequently Asked Questions - Food Distribution at Wineries and Breweries

Click on a question to see the answer, or Open All Questions.

  • Does my winery or brewery need a Health Permit from Environmental Health?

    It depends....

    No, if you do not exceed 25 sq. ft. of non-perishable, pre-packaged food items and crackers/pretzels that are served to accompany beer or wine. The California Retail Food Code (CRFC) exempts this small level of food distribution.

    Yes, if you exceed 25 sq. ft. of pre-packaged food (perishable and non-perishable food allowed) to be sold or served at your winery or brewery. The proposed area must meet all CRFC construction and equipment standards and be approved by Marin County Environmental Health Services plan check. Examples of allowable foods include: prepackaged foods like cheese, sandwiches, meat, and salads, as well as bottled beverages. All foods must come from an approved source, such as a permitted food distributor, permitted market, or a cottage food operator.

    Yes, if you are a Host Facility for Caterers. Your establishment must meet all construction and equipment standards of the CRFC and be approved by Environmental Health with a service request for plan check .

    Yes, if you are a winery or brewery with an Environmental Health plan check-approved commercial kitchen for full food preparation installed.

  • Can my customers bring in their own food or have food delivered from a permitted restaurant?

    Yes, with your permission, customers can bring in prepared food for their own consumption or order food and have it delivered to them at your location (for example, pizza delivery).

  • Can I sell Cottage Food at my winery or brewery?

    Yes, permitted cottage food operators produce pre-packaged, non-perishable foods that can be sold at wineries and breweries. A health permit from Marin County Environmental Health Services will be required for the Cottage Food Operator and for the winery or brewery.

  • Are Temporary Food Vendors or Caterers allowed to sell food outside of my winery or brewery?

    Temporary Food Vendors are allowed to operate at permitted community events on the winery or brewery’s property in conjunction with a Temporary Event sponsor. A community event is defined as an event that is of civic, political, public, or educational nature as approved by Marin County Environmental Health. Please check with the County or City Building and Planning Department for any additional permits, zoning requirements or code ordinances for events.Catering Operations that meet the requirements to operate at permitted Host Facilities are allowed to serve food directly to tasting room customers for up to 4 hours in a 12-hour period. All catering dishes and equipment shall be properly washed and stored at the catering commissary.

  • Are mobile food facilities (food trucks or food carts) allowed to sell food outside my winery or brewery?

    Yes, Environmental Health-permitted mobile food facilities are allowed to operate outside during your operational hours, or as allowed by local zoning and code ordinances. The mobile unit must display a current Marin County Environmental Health permit. Vendors operating the unit must have access to a commercial restroom during the time period they operate.

  • Who can I call or email with questions?

    For more information regarding options to serve food at your location, please contact our offices during normal business hours or by email.