CRA FAQ

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

Colorado Restaurant Association
430 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 830-2972 (phone)
(800) 522-2972 (toll free)
(303) 830-2973 (fax)
info@corestaurant.org
To create an account, click here.
To retrieve your password, click here.
When you first log-in to the website, you will be given a Username and Password, which you may change. If you have forgotten your Username and/or Password, simply note that in the prompt screen and you will be emailed your Username and/or Password.
Call the National Restaurant Association at (202) 331-5900 or (800) 424-5156 and ask for member services. You will need to give your CRA member number to the associate on the phone and they will give you your NRA ID.
Information and schedules on ServSafe Classes can be found here. Link to ServSafe ServSafe Food Safety® Program Training and Certification Classes are $140 per student for CRA members and $180 per student for non-members. The Manager Certification course is a 1-day immersion course, offering basic food safety concepts. This program has a certification exam; passage of the exam is acceptable in 95% of American jurisdictions with a training requirement.

ServSafe Alcohol® classes are 4 hours long and are $40 per student for CRA members and $55 per student for non-members. The purpose of the ServSafe Alcohol® 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.

Our annual dues are based on your annual food and beverage sales volume. Dues are calculated in this manner because the benefits and resources that you receive are directly related to the amount of business that you do. Dues for multiple locations are combined to make them more affordable for you.

Vendor (Associate) membership is calculated by 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.

No. The state of Colorado does not require a food handler’s license for any employees. However, food handler training has significant benefits when it comes to understanding and complying with health department regulations and ensuring that the food being served to your customers is safe.

Even though ServSafe training is not required, having someone in your establishment trained through ServSafe fulfills the requirement in a health inspection for “Demonstration of Knowledge.” Otherwise, in order to comply with the “Demonstration of Knowledge” portion of a health inspection staff will have to correctly answer on-the-spot questions from the health inspector regarding proper food handling.

The CRA Education 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, sponsored by the Colorado Restaurant Insurance Agency. 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!
CRA partners with Sysco to produce WestEx, the largest food service show of its kind in the Rocky Mountain Region. Please contact Nicolle Thompson at nthompson@corestaurant.org or via phone at (303) 830-2972 for more information.
No, but there are additional discounts available to members, as well as some marketing opportunities. As an exhibitor at WestEx, the largest food service show in the rocky mountain region, you will receive a list of WestEx attendees, as well as CRA members with key contact information. Please contact Nicolle Thompson at nthompson@corestaurant.org or via phone at (303) 830-2972 for more information.
We have opportunities for our members to advertise via our website, our monthly flagship print and online newsletter Hospitality News, and in our mid-month e-news blasts. Volume discounts are available for multiple month packages. Contact Carolyn Livingston at (303) 830-2972 or by email at clivingston@corestaurant.org for information.
The Colorado Restaurant Insurance agency is staying on top of all the current health care issues, changes and challenges. We have partnerships with various health insurance providers that offer information on group and individual insurance. Please contact us at (303) 830-2972 for more information.
For a full list by category of our vendor partners, please click here to access the online Buyer’s Guide. We encourage our vendor partners to offer CRA discounts and specials…ask when you call any of our vendors, or contact us about specific programs (POS, merchant services, natural gas programs, just to name a few).
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 established relationships with several employment attorneys we can also connect you with.

Contact Nick Hoover, at nhoover@corestaurant.org 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 info@corestaurant.org 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. Take a look at a recent Hospitality News article regarding music licensing - click here.

Yes, but ONLY in very specific circumstances. Otherwise gloves, tongs or other measures should 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.

Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations 3-401 (Denver’s regulations are the same and can be found in Denver’s Food Establishment Rules and Regulations 3-401D):

D. Food employees not serving a highly susceptible population may contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands if:

1. Written procedures are maintained in the food establishment and made available to the Department upon request that include:

a. A listing of the ready-to-eat food categories that are touched by bare hands;

b. Handwashing facilities are, equipped, maintained, are easily accessible and in close proximity to the work station(s) where the bare hand contact procedure is conducted as specified in section 5-208 (B) – (J) of these rules and regulations;

c. A written employee health policy that details how the food establishment will comply with sections 2-201, 2-202, 2-203, and 2-204 of these rules and regulations, including health conditions upon which the food employee will not be allowed to work and acknowledgement of their responsibilities as specified in sections 2-201 and 2-202;

d. An employee training program that documents completion of the following training areas:

(1) The risks of contacting the ready-to-eat foods with bare hands;

(2) Proper handwashing as specified in section 2-401 and 2-402;

(3) When to wash their hands as specified in section 2-403;

(4) Where to wash their hands as specified in section 2-405;

(5) Proper fingernail maintenance as specified in section 2-406 (A);

(6) Prohibition of jewelry as specified in section 2-408; and

(7) Good hygienic practices as related to section 2-501 and section 2-502.

2. Hands are washed prior to food preparation and as necessary to prevent cross contamination as specified in section 2-401, 2-402, 2-403 and 2-405 by food employees during all hours of operation when the specific ready-to-eat foods are prepared.

3. In addition to the requirements specified in section 2-403 “When to Wash”, food employees contacting ready-to-eat foods with bare hands utilize two or more of the following control measures to provide additional safeguards to hazards associated with bare hand contact:

a. Double handwashing;

b. Nail brushes;

c. A hand antiseptic after handwashing as specified in section 2-404;

d. Incentive programs that encourage food employees not to work when they are ill with a communicable disease that can be transmitted by foods as specified in section 2-201; or

e. Other control measures approved by the Department.

4. Corrective actions are immediately taken when subparagraphs D (1) - (3) of this section are not followed. Accompanying monitoring, corrective actions, and appropriate documentation are required.

As with any part of the Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations, businesses can apply for a variance from the requirements. For details on how to apply for a variance please contact your local health department.

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, Section 11-204 B of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations reads:

The inspection report shall state that failure to comply with any time limits may result in the initiation of administrative or legal regulatory action. An opportunity for appeal of the inspection findings and time limitation will be provided if a written request for an administrative hearing is filed with the Department within thirty (30) days following the date of receipt of inspection. If the request for a hearing is received, a hearing shall be held no sooner than twenty (20) days after the operator is notified of the hearing.
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.

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).
Teen Workers Taking out the Trash 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! at www.youthrules.dol.gov 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 or participate in operating one. The answer is a qualified "yes," but employers should pay close attention to the following Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines on tip pooling:

  • Tip splitting or tip pooling is allowed among employees who customarily receive tips. The following occupations have been recognized by the DOL as falling within the eligible category: bellhops, servers, cocktail servers, bartenders, service bartenders, and bussers. DOL does not allow tip pooling to include occupations such as dishwashers, chefs, cooks, and managers. It is not required that bussers or others who share in tips receive tips directly from the customer. In the case of greeters and food runner s, local practices will determine whether or not such persons can participate in the pool. The amounts retained by servers, and tips given to others, are considered to be the tips of the individual who retains them.

  • According to DOL’s amended regulations effective May 5, 2011, as codified at 29 C.F.R. § 531.54, the FLSA does not impose a maximum contribution percentage on valid mandatory tip pools, which can only include employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. However, to be valid, DOL in its newly issued amended regulation states that the employer must notify its employees of any required tip pool 596 F. 3d 577 (9th Cir. 2010), that where the employer pays the full minimum wage (federal or higher applicable state) in cash, the tips may be distributed by the employer to such staff in a tip pool. As of June 2011, there is uncertainty how these conflicting views will be implemented in states in the 9th Circuit.

Portions of this article were excerpted from the National Restaurant Association's "Legal Problem Solver"
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 $8.23 per hour, instead of $5.21 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

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Network with fellow business owners, stay up to date on legislative issues important to our industry, connect with your peers, take advantage of significant savings opportunities and stay informed. Join the Colorado Restaurant Association!

Restaurant Owners – The CRA is a full-service solution for every type and size of restaurant. We are powerful advocates for the industry, an information hub and a catalyst for networking. And we’re committed to offering meaningful benefits and resources you need to run a profitable business.

Service Providers - Companies that serve restaurants have a strong ally in the CRA. Our restaurant members look to the CRA members first when seeking products and services, they also make the real connections with service providers at local and state events.

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