CRA Help Center

These are the most frequently asked questions we receive from our members. We will periodically update and add new topics of interest, so please check back often.

Colorado Restaurant Association
430 E 7th Ave.
Denver, CO  80203
P: (303) 830-2972
TF: (800) 522-2972
F: (303) 830-2973

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 or 303.830.2972

Information about upcoming ServSafe classes can be found on the CRA events calendar.

ServSafe Food Safety® Program Training and Certification Classes cost $140 per student forCRA member restaurants (and $180 per student for 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 are four hours long and cost $40 per student for CRA member restaurants (and $55 per student for 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 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.

CRA annual dues are based on your annual food and beverage sales volume. Dues are calculated this way because the benefits and resources that you receive through yourCRA membership are directly related to the volume of business that you do. Dues for multiple locations are combined to make it more affordable for you.

Vendor (Associate) membership is calculated by the number of employees.

For more information or to join, click here.

The Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation offers ServSafe Alcohol® classes, which include classroom training and certification meeting certain municipal requirements. They are transferable (with the employee). The primary difference between ServSafe Alcohol® and TIPS is that ServSafe Alcohol® is a 5-year certification, and TIPS is a 3-year certification.

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, will be required to have one individual trained in a manager level food safety training. The trained person should be someone who is in a position to oversee food production. The requirement does not require one person per shift to be trained, however, the one trained person for each location should be passing their knowledge on to all staff.

If I have multiple locations can I have one person trained for all of them?

Yes and no. This will likely be a case by case decision by the local health departments. If you have one person for 3-4 locations and they are actually able to routinely be at each location often to oversee food service production, they can likely be the one trained person for each location. However, if you have 10-20 locations covered by one trained individual, you will likely need to get more people trained. The important thing is that the trained person have “active managerial control” over the food service production at the locations they cover.

The Colorado Restaurant Foundation provides ServSafe Manager and Food Handler Training Classes. Please check our calendar for a schedule of classes.

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.

Our office is located at 430 E. 7th Avenue (SW corner of 7th and Pennsylvania) in the Capitol Hill/Governor’s Park neighborhood.

430 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

As a member of the Colorado Restaurant Association, we are happy to provide both federal and state labor law posters to our members that satisfy the most current legal requirements. This is a free member benefit to CRA members. Please be aware that there are many scams that attempt to sell you these posters - please call us at (303) 830-2972 if you get these “requests”.

Yes. We have a parking lot located behind our office at 430 E 7th Ave (enter from Pennsylvania St.) with several spaces. Parking is free for guests of the CRA.

There are numerous ways to get involved in the Colorado Restaurant Association. You can attend Chapter meetings and programs, participate in our fund-raising events, run for a position on a local chapter or the state Board of Directors, donate, volunteer, and more. Please call us at (303) 830-2972 to discuss your interests!

The Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show is an annual networking and learning event for restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry professionals. Colorado’s foodservice industry is continuously growing and to maintain a competitive edge industry professionals cannot afford to miss out on the latest trends, processes and solutions to propel their businesses forward.

No, but there are additional discounts available to members, as well as some marketing opportunities. As an exhibitor at Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show, the largest food service show in the rocky mountain region, you will receive a list of attendees, as well as CRA members with key contact information. Please contact us at or via phone at (303) 830-2972 for more information.

Want to get your name in front of decision-makers at prestigious companies?

Hospitality News is the CRA’s premier publication, the most widely-read resource among CRA members and industry professionals statewide. The weekly email reaches 3,000+ members, industry leaders, government and media executives. This newsletter covers industry news and events, current trends, issues and data, and timely compliance and regulatory information. Learn more about advertising here

In an effort to bring valuable benefits to CRA members, we are pleased to share that we continue to work with United Healthcare in a strategic alliance to help address the diverse health care needs of our industry. Together, the National Restaurant Association, CRA and United Healthcare can offer exclusive health care pricing and solutions for member businesses, a free pharmacy discount card, discounts on Health Savings accounts and more. Find more information on these money-saving benefits available only to CRA members on our website, or call our office.

Yes. We have full-time staff that can answer basic labor and employment questions. They can also provide you with helpful information put together from the National Restaurant Association on restaurant issues that pertain to federal law.

In addition, CRA has a Legal Resource Center. Take the guesswork out of the laws and regulations affecting restaurants with a strong team of law firms that counsel CRA members on any matter that may arise. Members get 15 minutes of free legal advice per month, and discounted rates for larger matters. 

Contact us at or via phone at 303.830.2972 for more information.

There are a number of factors to consider when opening a business. Please contact the Colorado Restaurant Association at (303) 830-2972 or at and we will help point you in the right direction.

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. Get more information in this article regarding music licensing - click here.

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

Both the Colorado and Denver Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations allow bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food ONLY in very specific circumstances and you must get approval from your local health department in advance. 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 will need to put in place to comply with the appropriate food code.

Colorado has very specific requirements under which football pools are legal, and it’s important for CRA members to consider the rules before their pools get out of bounds. 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 must know each other. If a person who does not know everyone else 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.

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 they are not redeemable for cash.

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

If you would like more information about how to initiate the grievance process, please email us at or call 303.830.2972.

As an employer, 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 4th 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).

Yes, Colorado Law provides an exception to the minimum wage for "unemancipated minors". Colorado Minimum Wage Order Number 31 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 under 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.

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.

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

Federal Labor Laws for restaurants Fact Sheet.

Colorado Youth Labor Law Fact Sheet.

Comparison of State and Federal Youth Employment Regulations

State Federal

14 & 15 Year Olds

Time of Day
No work between 9:30 pm and 5:00 am unless the next day is not a school day

Maximum Hours per Day
6 hours after school on days followed by school days
8 hours in a 24 hour period*

Maximum Hours per Week
40 hours per week**

16 & 17 Year Olds

Time of Day
No restrictions**

Maximum Hours per Day
8 hours in a 24 hour period*

Maximum Days per Week
40 hours per week**

* 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).

Taking out the trash is one of the duties commonly assigned to 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 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).

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.

Please see the latest CRA legal update on Tip Pooling.

Yes, legally they can, BUT it would probably be a mistake to do so. 

Here’s why: Deduction of credit card processing fees from tipped employees is legal under both state and federal law. However, Colorado law mandates that such a deduction nullifies the $3.02 per hour allowable tip credit. In other words, if a deduction of credit card processing fees is made, tipped employees would need to be paid the full minimum wage of: 

  • 2019 - $11.10 per hour, instead of $8.08 per hour.
  • 2020 - $12.00 per hour, instead of $8.98 per hour.

CRA partnered with Sirvo to be our official job board provider. Each job post costs $40.00, but as a CRA member you receive 15% off all of your job posts. Additionally, your jobs will appear on the CRA job board as well as on the Sirvo network. The first step is to register your business. Click here 

Need help posting your first job? Visit Sirvo's knowledgebase support page here

In Denver, the food code does allow for dogs to be on patios with specific requirements. Learn about those requirements here.

Outside of the City of Denver, the food code doesn’t allow for dogs to be on patios where service is happening...unless they request a variance. 

+ Please note – Service animals must be allowed anywhere that a customer is allowed to go.

How can a restaurant determine if a dog is a service animal? The animal must be a dog or a miniature horse. No other animal qualifies as a service animal under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). If it is not easy to identify that the animal is a service animal, the business is allowed to ask only two questions per the ADA. Learn more about that here.

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