Guide to Laws for Restaurant Customers & Owners in California
Most restaurant related laws are made at the state level. However, some are also made at the local level. See our Guides to Laws about Restaurants in the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco area.
1. Health & Safety
Do restaurants have to post their health grades?
How do I file a complaint against a restaurant for unhealthy conditions?
Contact your county health department.
Are food servers or preparers allowed to use latex gloves?
Am I allowed to bring my pet to a restaurant?
In California, restaurant owners are authorized to allow patrons to bring their pets to outdoor areas, unless the city or county has specifically prohibited it.2CA Health & Safety Code Sec. 114259.6
3. Bringing service animals
Am I allowed to bring my service animal to a restaurant?
Are restaurants allowed to have single-stall single-user bathrooms only for men or only for women?
5. Utensils and straws
Is it illegal for a restaurant to provide plastic straws and utensils?
As of January 2019, sit-down restaurants in California will not be allowed to serve plastic straws unless a customer specifically requests it. Many cities also ban other plastic utensils. See more at our Guide to Laws about the Environment.
Is it a violation of health code for a customer to bring their own containers and utensils to a restaurant?
Is it a violation of health code for food trucks and other food vendors to provide regular silverware and plates for customers?
The health code used to require food vendors at fairs, festivals, farmers markets, or other community events to provide single-use or disposable utensils to customers. Now it is no longer a violation of health code to provide reusable or “real” regular silverware, plates, and other items.6AB 619 (2019)
Can restaurants offer alcoholic beverages to-go?
Yes, this practice became legal during the pandemic, and a new law allows restaurants to do so at least until 2026.7SB 389 (2021) There are some restrictions: to-go beverages must be purchased with a meal, and customers are allowed a maximum of two drinks per meal.
Is it illegal for restaurants in California to serve shark fin soup?
Is it illegal for a restaurant in California to serve foie gras?
As of January 2019, yes it is illegal to serve foie gras, the French delicacy made from the fattened livers of force-fed ducks and geese. A restaurant caught serving foie gras could be fined up to $1,000. See more about Animal Rights
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