Definitions & Types of Food Establishments:

A food establishment is an operation that:

(1) stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption, including a restaurant, satellite or catered feeding location, market, grocery store, convenience store, special event food stand, school, boarding establishment, vending machine and vending location, institution, and retail bakery; or

(2) relinquishes possession of food to a consumer directly or indirectly through a delivery service, including the home delivery of grocery orders or restaurant takeout orders, and a delivery service that is provided by common carriers.


A food and beverage service establishment, whether the establishment serves alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages, which operates from a location for more than 21 days annually.

Grocery Establishment

A retail establishment that sells such products as food items intended for home preparation and consumption, including meat, poultry, fish, bread, and breadstuffs, cereals, vegetables, fruits, fruit and vegetable juices, dairy products, as well as accessory food items and household goods.

Confectionary Establishment

A facility that sells ready-to-consume, single service, pre-packaged snack items and beverages including but not limited to chips, pop, candy, crackers, cookies, bulk candies, milk, juice and ice-cream. The following are additional examples of items which can be sold, popcorn, cheese, sandwiches, TV dinners, crackers and donuts.

The establishment may provide a commercial grade microwave for patrons to heat items purchased. The following items may be sold if facility is equipped with hand sink and 3-compartment for washing utensil and equipment: coffee, cappuccino-self serve dispenser, pastries in a self-serve case. Potentially hazardous foods must be stored and displayed in approved commercial equipment.

Confectionery licenses are often associated with hardware stores, dollar stores, car washes, tobacco shops, hotels, video stores, offices, condominiums, gas stations, etc.

Farmer's Market

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

Food Carts

A food and beverage service establishment that is a non-motorized vehicle self-propelled by the operator. All food carts must be operated in compliance with the Minnesota Food Code.

Mobile Vendor

A food and beverage service establishment that is a vehicle mounted unit, either motorized or trailered, and readily movable, without disassembling, for transport to another location.

Short-Term Food Vendor

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

Seasonal Vendor

A food and beverage service vendor with permanent food service stand or building, but which operates no more than 10 days annually.

Special Event Food Stand

A food and beverage service establishment which is used in conjunction with celebrations and special events, and which operates no more than three times annually for no more than ten total days.

Vending Machines

All vending machines must comply with National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF), and/or Minnesota Rules, 1550.3200 to 1550.3320.

For more information on food establishment definitions, please review License and Consumer Services Food Related License Definitions.


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