Every day, we receive questions from CRA members, Colorado restaurant operators and employees, the media, and legislators, on topics ranging from member account information to liquor license compliance to whether working teens can take out the trash. Below you’ll find the questions that we’re asked most often, and answers that we hope help.

Still need assistance? Reach out any time at info@corestaurant.org.

Where is the CRA/CRF located?

Our office is located at the southwest corner of 7th and Pennsylvania Street, in the Capitol Hill/Governor’s Park neighborhood in Denver.

430 E. 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 830-2972
Toll-free: (800) 522-2972
Fax: (303) 830-2973
Email: info@corestaurant.org

Does the CRA have parking?

Yes. There is a parking lot behind our office at 430 E. 7th Ave; enter from Pennsylvania St. Parking is free for guests and members of the CRA.

What is my CRA member number?

Please send us a note at info@corestaurant.org or call (303) 830-2972, and we’ll gladly provide you with your CRA member number.

What is my National Restaurant Association username/password?

Call the National Restaurant Association at (202) 331-5900 or (800) 424-5156 and ask for member services. You will need to provide your CRA member number when you call. If you don’t know your CRA member number, contact us at info@corestaurant.org or (303) 830-2972.

How much does it cost to join the Colorado Restaurant Association?

CRA restaurant membership dues are based on total annual food and beverage sales volume for all Colorado locations under any single ownership. Dues are calculated this way because the benefits and resources that you receive through your CRA membership are directly related to your volume of business. Dues for multiple locations are combined to make it more affordable for you. Membership starts at $50.83 monthly.

Vendor partner membership dues are based on the total number of employees, including owner, manager, and office staff, employed in the state of Colorado. Vendor members include allied trade firms, brokers, factory representatives, professionals, or any business selling goods or services to CRA restaurant members. Vendor partner membership starts at $740 annually.

Can I make my CRA member dues payment over the phone?

Yes, payment can be accepted over the phone if you are paying with a credit card or bank account information. We’re available at (303) 830-2972.

How can I get involved with the CRA?

There are numerous ways to get involved in the work we do on behalf of Colorado restaurants! You can attend Chapter meetings and programs, participate in our fund-raising events, run for a position on a local chapter or the CRA or CRF Board of Directors, donate, volunteer, and more. Please call us at (303) 830-2972 or email info@corestaurant.org to discuss your interests!

Where can I find information about and upcoming dates for ServSafe® classes? How much do they cost, and where are they held?

Information about upcoming ServSafe® classes can be found on the CRA calendar. The classes are held at the CRA office at 430 E. 7th Avenue in Denver.

ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Certification classes cost $140 per student for employees of CRA member restaurants; classes cost $180 per student for employees of non-member restaurants.

The manager certification course is a one-day immersion course, offering basic food safety concepts. This program has a certification exam; passage of the exam is acceptable in 95% of U.S. jurisdictions with a training requirement.

ServSafe Alcohol® classes last four hours and cost $40 per student for employees of CRA member restaurants; they cost $55 per student for employees of non-member restaurants. The purpose of the ServSafe Alcohol® program is to ensure that servers, bartenders, and managers have the information they need to understand and implement the skills of responsible alcohol service. Participants should leave the program confident in their ability to make sound decisions and handle potentially intoxicated guests. A workbook is provided as a reference tool for your operation.

There are also online ServSafe® classes, including ServSafe® Allergens® and ServSafe® Workplace® , which focuses on creating and sustaining a safe and appropriate work environment for all employees.

How do I get my ServSafe® certificate?

Step 1: Go to ServSafe.com

  • Create an account (use the same email address you submitted on your scantron answer sheet) OR
  • Login to your existing account

Step 2: Click “Certificates” (located on the top menu line)

Step 3: Enter your exam session number/class number (provided by your instructor during class)

Step 4: View, download, share, and/or print your certificate!

If the steps above don’t work or you encounter tech challenges, please reach out to ServSafe directly: 800-765-2122

Do you offer TIPS classes? What is the difference between TIPS and ServSafe® Alcohol?

The CRA offers in-person ServSafe® Alcohol classes, which include classroom training and certification meeting certain municipal requirements. The certification, once earned, is transferable with the employee.

The primary difference between ServSafe® Alcohol and TIPS is that ServSafe® Alcohol is a five-year certification, while TIPS is a three-year certification.

Where can I find a labor law poster? What are the posting requirements?

As a member of the CRA, we are happy to provide complimentary combined federal and state labor law posters to our members that satisfy the most current legal requirements.

Please be aware that there are scams out there that will try to sell you these posters. Call us at (303) 830-2972 if you get any of these “requests.”

What kind of employee training is required by the Colorado Food Code?

Effective January 1, 2019, as part of the adoption of the 2013 FDA Model Food Code, all retail food establishments in Colorado outside of Denver are required to have one individual trained in a manager-level food safety training. The trained employee should be someone who is in a position to oversee food production.

The requirement does not require one employee per shift to be trained, however, the one trained employee for each location should be passing their knowledge on to all other staff.

If I have multiple locations, can I have one employee trained in food safety for all of them?

Yes and no. This is likely a case-by-case decision made by your local health department. If you have one trained employee for three to four locations and they are able to routinely oversee food service production at each of your locations, they can serve as the one trained employee for each of your locations.

However, if you have 10-20 locations covered by one trained individual, you will likely need to get more employees trained.

The important thing is that the trained employee have “active managerial control” over the food service production at the locations they cover.

The CRA provides ServSafe® food safety training classes. Check out our events calendar for upcoming dates and times.

Are there any trade shows through which I can market my business to Colorado restaurants?

The Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show is the premier annual networking and learning event for foodservice and hospitality industry professionals in the Rocky Mountain region, and we’d love your business to be a part of it. You don’t need to be a CRA member to exhibit, but there are additional discounts available to members, as well as marketing opportunities. Reach out at info@corestaurant.org today to find out more.

How can I advertise my company to Colorado restaurateurs?

There are myriad ways to promote your business to the CRA network of hospitality leaders, including our widely-read e-newsletter, Hospitality News; social media marketing; event sponsorship; and more.

Do you offer health insurance?

One of the most valuable benefits of CRA membership is access to our strategic alliance with United Healthcare, which helps address the diverse health care needs of our industry. United Healthcare offers our members exclusive health care pricing and solutions for member businesses, pharmacy discount cards, affordable telehealth options as low as $9 per employee (including household members) per month, vision and dental benefits, and mental health solutions.

I have a labor law question; can you help?

Yes! Our government affairs team is available to answer basic labor and employment questions, as well as provide helpful information from the National Restaurant Association on restaurant issues that pertain to federal law.

In addition, the CRA Legal Resource Center provides members with a strong team of professionals that counsel CRA members on any legal matter that may arise. Members have access to 15 minutes of free legal advice per law firm per month, and discounted rates for larger matters, too.

I’m opening a business. Can you help me with information on business plans?

There are a number of factors to consider and many rules and regulations that require compliance when opening a foodservice business in Colorado. Our restaurant Compliance Center is a great starting point, but also feel free to call us at (303) 830-2972 or email info@corestaurant.org so we can help point you in the right direction.

What do I do if I have been contacted by a music licensing company?

The CRA is extremely familiar with these companies (BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC) and can provide information on next steps. Our role is not to enforce their policies, but to educate our members. Reach out at (303) 830-2972 or email info@corestaurant.org so we can help point you in the right direction.

Can employees touch ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands?

Yes, but only in very specific circumstances. Otherwise, gloves, tongs, or other measures must be used to prevent bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food.

You must get approval from your local health department in advance of any bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food according to both the Colorado and Denver Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. If you would like to obtain this approval, please contact your local health department, who will be able to tell you if your establishment qualifies and what procedures you need to put in place to comply with the appropriate food code.

Can I run a football pool at my restaurant?

Colorado has very specific requirements under which football pools are legal, and it’s important for CRA restaurant members to consider the rules.

The Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division governs gambling in liquor-licensed establishments. The Division allows football pools and other types of gambling only if the participants in the activity are involved in a “bona fide social relationship.” This means those who take part in the pool must know each other. If a person who does not know everyone else in the pool is allowed entry to the activity, or if the establishment retains a portion of the pool money or winnings, the activity is considered illegal.

Manufacturers and wholesalers may lawfully furnish pool cards or other materials to licensed establishments, but it is important to use those materials legally in order to fulfill the requirements of your liquor license.

Still have questions? Reach out at (303) 830-2972 or email info@corestaurant.org.

Are unredeemed gift cards and gift certificates subject to the Unclaimed Property Act?

Yes, if they are redeemable for cash. No, if they are not redeemable for cash

The exact language from Colorado statutes reads as follows: “The provisions of this section shall apply to any gift certificate issued by a business that is redeemable in cash and not to any gift certificate issued for food, products, goods, or services.”

If you do not want your gift cards and gift certificates to be subject to Colorado’s Unclaimed Property Act, make sure that they are not redeemable for cash.

Can I appeal my health inspection?

Yes. Colorado Revised Statutes 25-4-1609.5 allows for any retail food establishment to initiate a grievance process if it feels that a county or district health department has taken regulatory action outside the scope of its authority.

If you would like more information about how to initiate the grievance process, please email us at info@corestaurant.org or call (303) 830-2972.

What are my obligations as an employer when an employee says that they must appear for jury duty?

Your obligation is to allow them to appear for jury duty.

The employee’s failure to appear for jury duty may subject them to penalties imposed by the court. Employers may not terminate employees, deprive them of benefits, or harass, threaten, or coerce them because they receive a juror summons or serve as jurors. Employers may not make demands upon employees that will substantially interfere with the effective performance of juror service (C.R.S. §§ 13-71-134 and 18-8-614).

In addition, Colorado Revised Statutes require employers to pay regularly employed workers regular wages of up to $50 per day for the first 3 days of juror service or any part thereof, unless a mutual agreement provides otherwise (C.R.S. § 13-71-126). “Regular wages” is the amount that the employer normally pays, not including tips paid by customers. This amount is calculated by taking an average of the employee’s hours worked per day during the preceding three months of employment times their hourly rate of pay. The state pays jurors for the fourth day of service and thereafter, at the rate of $50 per day (C.R.S. § 13-71-129).

Payment must be made within 30 days of receiving the juror service certificate from the employee (C.R.S. § 13-71-133). Payment is not required unless the employer is tendered a juror service certificate (C.R.S. § 13-71-132). If payment of compensation would cause financial hardship, the employer may be excused from the requirement by the court (C.R.S. § 13-71-127).

Can employees under 18 years of age be paid less than minimum wage?

Yes. Colorado law provides an exception to the minimum wage for “unemancipated minors.” Colorado Minimum Wage Order Number 38 states that “unemancipated minors under 18 years of age may be paid 15% below the current minimum wage less any applicable lawful credits, for all hours worked.”

To qualify as an “unemancipated minor” the employee must:

  • Be less than 18 years of age; and
  • Not have primary responsibility for his or her own support; and
  • Not be married and living away from parents or guardian; and
  • Be a person whose well-being is not dependent on being gainfully employed.

Please note that while certain employees may qualify for this exception, their qualification status would change immediately upon the occurrence of any change in the employee’s “unemancipated minor” status or upon turning 18 years old.

CRA members are advised to establish a self-notification system that verifies the employee’s unemancipated minor status periodically and changes it upon the employee’s 18th birthday.

How old do my employees need to be to serve and/or sell alcohol?

The CRA was instrumental in passing a law to allow 18, 19, and 20 year-olds to sell and serve alcohol. (The previous age limit was 21 years old.) However, there are several conditions that must be met for those under 21 years of age to serve and sell alcohol:

  • 18, 19, and 20 year-olds may serve and sell alcohol only if they are supervised by another person who is on premise and is at least 21 years old.
  • 18, 19, and 20 year-olds may not serve or sell alcohol in taverns that do not regularly serve meals or in liquor stores. In these cases, the server/seller must be at least 21 years of age.

Remember, even employees must be 21 years old to consume alcohol.

What hours can teens work during the school year?

Important regulations must be followed by employers who hire students between the ages of 14 and 18 years. The fines for violations of these regulations are quite high. Please review the information below to make sure you are in compliance with both state and federal laws regarding youth employment.

Colorado vs. Federal Youth Employment Work Hours Rules

Colorado Law

  • On school days, during school hours, no minor under the age of 16 is permitted employment except as granted by a school release permit.
  • On school days, after school hours, no minor under the age of 16 is permitted to work in excess of 6 hours unless the next day is not a school day.
  • Except for babysitters, no minor under the age of 16 is permitted employment between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., unless the next day is not a school day.
  • Minors may not work more than 40 hours per week** or 8 hours in any 24-hour period* unless there is a business emergency.

Federal Law

14 and 15 year-olds can only work:

  • Before and after school hours
  • After 7:00 a.m. or before 7:00 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when they can work until 9:00 p.m.

14 and 15 year-olds cannot work:

  • More than 3 hours per day on school days
  • More than 18 hours per week in school weeks
  • More than 8 hours per day on non-school days
  • More than 40 hours per week when school is not in session.
  • 16 year-olds and older may work for any number of hours at any time of the day.**

* Indicates most protective of employee
** Indicates state same as federal

NOTE: When there is a conflict between state and federal laws, the law most protective of the employee applies. Businesses with aggregate annual sales of $500,000 or more, and any employee involved in interstate commerce regardless of the annual sales of the business, are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Are teens allowed to take out the trash?

Taking out the trash is a commonly assigned duty for teen workers in retail and service establishments. While most of the duties associated with taking out the trash are safe for teens to perform, there are both safety hazards and potential violations of the federal youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to consider if young workers take trash to a compactor or baler.

Teen workers are permitted to take the trash to the site of the compactor or baler and set it on the ground, but workers under the age of 18 years are generally prohibited from actually dumping trash into the compactor or baler. In addition, they may not operate the compactor or baler, nor may they unload the compactor or baler.

Performing any of these actions may violate Hazardous Occupations Order No. 12 of the federal youth employment provisions. This prohibition applies even if an employer does not own the compactor or baler but uses centralized equipment that is owned or provided by someone else. There is a limited exception in the law which allows 16 and 17 year-olds to load, but not operate or unload, certain compactors or balers.

For details and more information about FLSA youth employment provisions visit YouthRules! or call the Department of Labor’s toll free helpline at 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Who can I legally include in our tip pool?

Employers often ask the CRA if it is possible for management to run a tip pool. The answer is a qualified “yes,” but employers should pay close attention to requirements when considering sharing tips with “non-regularly tipped positions.”

First, you must pay all employees at least the full Colorado minimum wage and not the tipped minimum wage.

Second, you must not include managers, supervisors, or owners in the tip pool.

How do I post an open position on the CRA Job Board?

Found at corestaurantjobs.com, the CRA Job Board is an easy to use and affordable resource for all restaurants in Colorado — and it’s free for CRA members!

To submit an open position, log in on the My Account page, or create and activate a new account using one email for your business; we recommend each business use only one email, if possible, when submitting job listings so managing your posts is easier.

CRA members receive free, unlimited job postings; email us at info@corestaurant.org for the member promo code. Non-member businesses can purchase a 45-day listing for $50 per post. Each position posted remains active on the site for 45 days.

Once you have submitted a job post, please allow 48 hours for review and approval.

Can I allow dogs on my restaurant patio?

In the City and County of Denver, dogs are allowed on restaurant patios if the restaurant owner allows it.

In order for Denver restaurants to allow dogs on their patios, the restaurant must adhere to the following:

  • Must have a patio that has direct access to enter the patio without going through the restaurant
  • If the patio is less than 400 square feet in size, there cannot be table service for food or drink in the patio/outdoor dining area
  • If the patio is larger than 400 square feet in size, at least half of the patio must be designated as a “dog-free zone” and prohibit dogs in that section. The other section of the patio allowing dogs must have direct access to the sidewalk or other outside area.
  • Patios larger than 400 square feet in size that allow dogs must provide clear signage indicating the area where dogs are allowed.

Outside of Denver, restaurants can allow dogs on outdoor patios if the business follows the below criteria:

  • First, you must request approval for allowing dogs on your patio and it must be granted by the local regulatory authority.
  • The dog-friendly area must be maintained – clean and free of animal waste.
  • Dog waste clean-up bags must be available to customers at all times when the outdoor seating area is open for use.
  • Receptacles for the disposal of animal waste must be available when the outdoor seating area is open. The receptacles must be emptied at least daily and must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
  • The dog-friendly outdoor seating area must be accessible from the outdoors. Non-service dogs are not allowed inside the restaurant.
  • Staff are not allowed to pet, hold, or feed dogs.
  • Employees that have incidental contact with dogs or dog bowls must wash their hands.
  • If provided, dog water bowls must be filled, cleaned, and stored in a manner that prevents contamination of food, food equipment, and single-service articles.
  • The following requirements must be communicated to customer using signs, printed brochures, advisories, or other effective written means:
    • Your dog must be well-behaved and on a leash at all times.
    • Keep your dog close to you, but not on tables or chairs.
    • Do not let your dog eat or drink out of the restaurant’s glassware or dishware.
    • Clean up after your dog with the provided cleaning supplies.

NOTE: Service animals must be allowed anywhere that a customer is allowed to go.

How do I know if an animal is a service animal?

Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. The ADA requires restaurants to make “reasonable modifications” in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The service animal rules fall under this general principle. Accordingly, establishments that have a “no pets” policy generally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities.

The are only two types of animals that qualify as service animals under the ADA:

  1. Dogs
  2. Miniature horses

There are only two questions that can be asked of a person about their service animal:

  1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
  2. If the answer to #1 is yes, then you can ask what work or task the animal is trained to perform.

Note: Do not ask any questions about the person’s disability.

You can ask a guest to leave the premises if their service animal is not under control.