Ready to start serving delicious food at your Texas restaurant? Before you welcome your first customers, keep in mind that you’ll need to have the right food safety certificates for your staff.
According to Texas law, restaurants and food businesses must have a certified food manager on-site during all hours of operation. To earn this certification, employees must pass an approved exam on food safety.1
Learn more about Texas food safety manager certification in this guide, which covers the following topics:
- Who needs a food manager license in Texas?
- How to get Texas food manager certification
- Food manager certificate verification
- Texas certificate renewal requirements
- Texas food manager certification reciprocity
- Insurance requirements for Texas restaurants
Who needs a food manager license in Texas?
Nearly all restaurants and businesses that serve food in Texas must have a certified food protection manager on-site during all hours of operation. If you don’t have any employees, you’ll need to become a certified food manager (CFM).
A few types of food businesses are exempt from this requirement:2
- Establishments that handle only prepackaged food and do not package food
- Establishments that do not prepare or handle exposed Time/Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) foods
- Temporary food establishments
Food manager certification vs. food handler license
In addition to the certified food manager, all other restaurant and food business employees who handle food must complete an accredited food handler training course within 60 days of employment.3
Employees typically required to meet Texas food handler license requirements include hosts, servers, bussers, on-site event coordinators, kitchen staff, bartenders and other employees at food service businesses.
Certified food managers are responsible for overseeing the food handlers. Some of their duties include:4
- Identifying hazards in day-to-day operations
- Developing or implementing specific policies, procedures or standards aimed at preventing foodborne illness
- Coordinating training, supervising or directing food preparation activities and taking corrective action to protect the health of the consumer
- Training employees on the principles of food safety
- Conducting reviews to ensure that policies and procedures are being followed
Both food handlers and food managers help to protect your business. Their training in proper food preparation and handling techniques reduces the risk of foodborne illness.
How to get Texas food manager certification
To obtain food manager certification, Texas employees must pass a food safety exam approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) or accredited by the American National Standards Institute – Conference for Food Protection (ANSI-CFP).
Training courses are available for those who need help preparing for the exam. CFM courses cover several topics related to proper food handling, such as:
- Basic food safety
- Personal hygiene
- Cross-contamination and allergens
- Time and temperature
- Cleaning and sanitation
Participants must pass an exam on the covered food protection course topics to obtain their certification. You can find a complete list of approved examination providers on the DSHS website.
Texas food manager license fees
You or your employees can complete Texas food manager courses entirely online through an accredited program. In-person courses are also available in many cities across Texas.
Typically, the Texas CFM course and exam cost around $100. If you only take the exam without the training course, costs are around $30.
Restaurant owners are not required to cover the cost of the food manager certification. A certification is considered the employee's property, and they are permitted to use it at other businesses if they change jobs.
How long does it take to get a food manager license in Texas?
The Texas CFM course is approximately 14 hours long.5 Exams are limited to 90 minutes.4
After successfully completing the exam, certificates may be issued instantly or sent by mail.
Food manager certificate verification
The food manager is issued an official certificate after passing the examination. This certificate must be posted in an area of the restaurant conspicuous to customers. If the certificate is lost or damaged, the food manager can contact the examination provider to get a replacement.
Texas certificate renewal requirements
Renewal is required every five years for a certified food manager. Texas employees who need to renew their food manager certification must retake the exam and post their renewed certificate in a visible workplace area.
Texas food manager certification reciprocity
Food manager certificates issued by an accredited program in Texas are recognized statewide. If an employee has been certified as a food manager outside the state of Texas, they may receive reciprocity if they obtained their certification from an ANSI-accredited program.4
Insurance requirements for Texas restaurants
The right Texas business insurance can help protect your restaurant or food business against different risks you face daily. Many Texas restaurant owners consider these insurance options:
General Liability insurance
Texas general liability insurance can help protect your business if you are held responsible for certain types of accidents, such as property damage or an injury to someone other than you or an employee.
Food service general liability insurance can also include foodborne illness coverage, which may help protect your business if customers get sick from food that is contaminated or prepared incorrectly.
Restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages may also want to consider Texas liquor liability insurance, which can help protect your business from risks associated with serving alcohol.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance can help provide important coverage for workplace injuries. Unlike most other states, Texas does not require businesses to carry workers’ comp insurance. However, businesses without coverage could be held responsible for expenses if an employee gets hurt on the job.
Commercial Property insurance
Commercial property insurance can help protect physical business assets, such as equipment, inventory, furniture and buildings. This insurance can help pay for repairs or replacements if your business property is damaged due to a covered event, such as a fire or water damage from a burst pipe.
Commercial Auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance can help cover medical expenses, property damage and other related costs if you or an employee are involved in an accident while driving a work vehicle.
Texas requires all vehicles to have minimum auto insurance coverage of $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage.6
How NEXT supports Texas restaurant owners
NEXT provides tailored Texas restaurant insurance designed for small businesses and self-employed business owners.
It only takes about 10 minutes to get a quote, review your coverage options, choose your policies and download a certificate of insurance.
Our team of licensed insurance advisors is standing by to assist you if you have any questions along the way.