How To Open A Restaurant

Follow these guidelines to make sure your food business reaches its grand opening without delay.

How To Open A Restaurant

To start and manage a food or beverage business requires careful planning, knowledge of food safety and skillful management, in addition to an understanding of Oklahoma food laws and federal regulations. Follow these guidelines to make sure your business reaches its grand opening without delay.

Where to Start

Contact the city or county where your business will be located and inquire about the following ordinances, requirements and permits:

  • Zoning
  • Building (including plumbing, electrical and mechanical)
  • Fire
  • Tulsa Health Department (THD)

Plan Overview

Building and construction plans must be submitted to the THD for review prior to opening. The local building office may also require building plans to be submitted. Contact the local code/permit office on exact requirements.

Plan review application and submission guidelines

When To Submit Plans for Review

Plans shall be submitted to THD for review prior to:

  1. The construction of a new food service establishment;
  2. The conversion of an existing structure for use as a food service establishment; or
  3. The remodeling of a food service establishment or a change of type of food service
 establishment or food operation.

Plan reviews are also required to be submitted on mobile food establishments.

Even though a Building Permit may not be required by your City, plans may still need to be submitted to the Tulsa Health Department.  Please call if you have any questions or concerns regarding submission.

What to Submit

Plans submitted for THD review must include the following:

  • Plans drawn to scale
  • Site plan - overall layout of the facility, including all wait stations, bars, service areas, kitchen, dish wash areas, customer service beverages and restrooms
  • Equipment location and specifications (equipment types, manufacturer & model numbers, if available)
  • Plumbing location and type - floor drain, floor sinks, tough drains
  • Ventilation plans
  • Room finish schedule - finish materials and colors for floors, walls & ceilings
  • Proposed menu
  • Lighting locations and type

For specific details, refer to the food establishment construction guide.

For more information, call 918-595-4300.

Submitting an Application for Review

Plan review applications can be obtained here or at the THD, located at 5051 South 129th East Ave. Bring the appropriate fee, made payable to the Tulsa Health Department, along with the completed form when you deliver the plans for our review.

NOTE: As of April 2nd, the City of Tulsa will no longer deliver plans to/from our office.  All plans must be brought to our office by the submitter.

Two standard-sized copies of the plans are needed for all cities within Tulsa County except Brown Arrow.  Three copies need to be submitted if the project will be within the City of Broken Arrow. (We will return two copies to you, which youwill then take to the City of Broken Arrow for submission).

Preferred plan submission size is ARCH D or 24”x36” but other size will be accepted.  Any plans submitted must be large enough so that they are easy to read.  Plans submitted that are not legible may be rejected or denied during submission, requiring modifications before acceptance for review. 

The review time should take approximately ten days. One set of plans and a written review summary outlining any necessary changes, will be returned to the submitter.  Please review all notes prior to construction and keep the Tulsa Health Department set on the premise until the final THD inspection is conducted.  All changes must be cleared through the THD.

For questions regarding food establishment plans, please call 918-595-4300.

Building Permit Information

Food Establishment Construction Guide 

A construction guide exists to help you plan your facility according to codes and requirements. This construction guide is to be used in conjunction with the Food Code. It should not be considered all-inclusive. As a responsible food establishment operator, you should study the Oklahoma Food Code for more details in any areas which you have questions. You should also contact your local building code official, local fire department, the State Fire Marshall's office, or the state Occupational Licensing office for further requirements throughout your building planning process.

For specific details, refer to the food establishment construction guide.

Resources After Opening a Facility 

At THD, we work together with the food service industry to help ensure safe dining experiences for a healthier community. Our professional staff is here to help with education and to answer your questions about safe food handling and Food Code regulations.

View recent issues of Food Focus, THD's helpful newsletter for food service establishment managers and employees. Note: Information in the latest Food Focus issues replaces information in previous issues.

Food Safety Posters, available in three languages

Self-Monitor Forms, available in three languages 

Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments 

Other Requirements

Taxpayer ID and Permits - contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission for Taxpayer ID number and Sales Tax Permits. The Sales Tax Permit should be available to THD personnel at the time operational applications are issued.

Liquor Licenses - contact the ABLE commission.

Food Employee Permits 

All employees must have a valid food employee permit on the premise when at work. Copies are not accepted by Health Department staff.

View class information.

Manager Certification 

The cities of Tulsa, Sand Springs and Bixby require manager certification at all facilities. However, due to the potential for food-borne illness, all facilities in Tulsa County are strongly encouraged to employ at least one person who has taken this advanced food safety class.

View manager certification information.

Licensing

Within Tulsa County, state and city food and beverage license applications are obtained through the THD by calling (918) 595-4300 to schedule an inspection. A facility must have its sales tax permit onsite for license applications to be issued. When calling to schedule appointments, please plan at least one week in advance.

STATE - All facilities in Oklahoma must purchase a State of Oklahoma Food Service License. Click here for a list of fees, based on the facility type and whether your facility is new or you need to renew the license.

CITY - Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby require a City Food License. Tulsa and Bixby fees are $145 each plus a $5 processing fee. Broken Arrow fees are based on number of employees and can be found below. Broken Arrow also adds a $5 processing fee. (NOTE: City of Tulsa only - renewals and new applications issued for the 2018-2019 year will be $155).

Broken Arrow

  • 1-3 employees $50
  • 4-10 employees $80
  • 11-25 employees $115
  • 26-40 employees $185
  • 41-60 employees $250
  • 61+ employees $315 
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