Food Businesses


Seattle is a hotbed of exciting and successful restaurants and food businesses. This guide makes it easier to navigate through the rules and requirements you'll face as you start or grow your own food business in the welcoming, thriving city we call home!

Below we have included some of the most popular entry points into the food industry, ranging from capital intensive options like restaurants and mobile food businesses to less capital intensive options like catering and participating in farmers markets and temporary events.

This guide is a general overview of what to expect - but every food business is unique, so your situation may result in different timeframes, costs, and specific requirements. Our FAQ page may also help answer some of your questions as you navigate through the different steps.


Server at Loretta's Northwesterner serving soup to a customer at the bar

Restaurants are wonderful placemaking businesses and one of the most traditional ways of entering into the food service industry Starting or growing a restaurant? This guide will help you navigate the necessary steps. 

Mobile Food Businesses

Taqueria El Rincon

Food trucks and other mobile options are a popular way to get started or expand operations in the food industry. Learn about the unique requirements for these businesses.


Overhead shot of chef's hands preparing food

Catering can be an excellent gateway into the food service industry, or a great way to expand an existing food business. Check out this guide to make sure you're taking all the necessary steps. 

Farmers Markets + Temporary Events

Farmers market vendor serving a beverage to a young customer

Farmers Markets and Temporary Events can be a gateway to the food service industry, or a great way to add an additional revenue stream to an existing business. This guide will help you get started.

Have Questions?

Contact our Food Business Advocate for assistance:

Maria Peterson

(206) 561-2124

We have over-the-phone interpretation support in over 200 langages! If you would like interpretation support, please let us know by emailing or calling us with the language you need and the best phone number to reach you.

About Us

The City of Seattle, King County, State of Washington, and food service community are working together to improve the regulatory experience of starting and operating food businesses in Seattle. We're here to help! This guide clarifis the city, county, state and federal requirements you'll face as you prepare for your first customers.

We're also working to reduce conflicting or overlapping requirements - all while continuing to protect the health and safety of your customers and employees.

We want to hear about your experience starting and growing a food business in Seattle - contact Jennifer Tam, the City's Restaurant Advocate.

City of Seattle logo   King County logo  Washington State logo  Regulatory Roadmap logo   Seattle Restaurant Alliance logo  Communities Rise Logo

Economic Development

Markham McIntyre, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5752, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94708, Seattle, WA, 98124-4708
Phone: (206) 684-8090
Phone Alt: (206) 684-0379
Fax: (206) 684-0379

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The mission of the Office of Economic Development (OED) is to help create healthy businesses, thriving neighborhoods, and community organizations to contribute to a robust economy that will benefit all Seattle residents and future generations.