Food Facilities

To make the most of your visit with the Licensed Establishment team, please make an appointment. We are often in the field and not available for walk-in meetings.  Please email or call 457-8919 or to arrange an appointment. This number is a message line only, but it is answered daily. Someone will get back you quickly. Please leave a message and identify what you are needing so that we can connect you with the right person.  

Taking temps to refrigerated foodWhat Is a Food Facility?

Definition: An operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption in a mobile, stationary, temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent facility or location; where consumption is on or off the premises and regardless of whether there is a charge for the food.

Examples: Restaurants, catering facilities, bakeries, delis, coffee shops, bars, meat markets, grocery stores, convenience stores.

Photo by Eliza Wiley, Helena Independent Record. Used with permission.

Licensing a Food Facility

1. Food facility fees.

2. Define your project.

  • Opening a new facility (either new construction or remodeling an existing facility)
  • Changing ownership or significantly changing menu

3. Plan your operation completely on paper and get approval from the Health Department before buying any equipment or materials. Contact Nina Heinzinger at PHLicEst(at) or 406-447-8361 for an appointment to discuss your plans.

4. Submit the required plan review information along with the appropriate fee. Make checks payable to Lewis and Clark City-County Health Department.

Submit by email to: PHLicEst(at)

Submit by mail to:

Lewis and Clark County Public Health
Attn. Nina Heinzinger
1930 9th Avenue
Helena MT 59601

Submit in person, by appointment: 406-447-8361

5. Review may take as long as 30 days.

6. Begin construction or remodeling after your plan is approved. When you're finished building, call 406-447-8361 to arrange an inspection and get your license.


Opening a New Food Facility

Submit a plan review application, plans, menu, and other items listed in the checklist below. Contact Nina Heinzinger for more information, 406-447-8361.


Changing Ownership/Significant Menu Changes


Mobile Food Units

Examples: Food carts, trailers, kiosks, and semi-permanent buildings designed to be readily movable.


Fundraisers/Temporary Events

Please submit at least 10 business days in advance of event.



Resources for Operators

Inspection of Food Facilities

The Licensed Establishment Program of the Health Department inspects food facilities to ensure food safety. Focus is on practices that are most likely to affect food safety:

  • monitoring food temperatures
  • looking for sources of cross-contamination
  • observing hygienic practices of employees
  • reviewing general sanitation and maintenance

Food Protection Laws and Regulations