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Author: My Chef Guru
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Permits and Licensing: What Do You Need to Open a Restaurant?

Opening a restaurant can be a daunting task. Between menu planning and staffing, there's a lot to think about! But don't forget the paperwork - you'll need to get a permit and license before opening your doors.

There are a lot of permits and licenses that you need to obtain before you can open a restaurant, from business licenses to food service licenses. Depending on the type of restaurant, the location, and the menu, the permits and licenses required may vary. However, there are some common ones that most restaurants will need to obtain.

However, there are some common ones that most restaurants will need to obtain. This blog post will explain the basics of what you need to start the restaurant business.

Permits and Licensing: What Do You Need to Open a Restaurant?

Permits and Licensing: What Do You Need to Open a Restaurant?

Planning to open a restaurant? Great! The food industry is a booming business, and there's always room for another eatery. But before you can start cooking up your dream menu, you'll need to obtain the proper permits and licenses. Here's everything you'll need to get started:

1. Business License

A business license is one of the most important things you'll need before opening a restaurant.  This document gives you the right to operate your business in accordance with local laws and regulations. 

You'll need to complete an application and submit it to the appropriate government agency to get a business license. Once your application is approved, you'll be able to pick up your license and pay the required fee. Then, you'll be one step closer to opening your restaurant!

2.  Food Service License

This permit is obtained from your state's health department and ensures that your restaurant meets all the safety and sanitation requirements. 

You must apply to your local health department to obtain a food service license. The application will then be reviewed by an inspector who will determine if your restaurant meets all the requirements. 

3. Liquor License

If you want to serve alcohol at your restaurant, you must obtain a liquor license. Without a liquor license, you will not be able to serve alcohol at your establishment. In order to get it, you will need to apply to your local Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) office. 

The application process can vary from state to state, but generally, you will need to provide information about your restaurants, such as its name and location. 

4. Health Inspection

Before opening for business, you must pass a health inspection from your local health department. During this inspection, an inspector will check for compliance with all applicable health codes. 

This inspection is typically free, but you may be required to pay a fee if any violations are found. Violations can range from minor infractions, such as not having proper signage, to more serious offences, such as not having proper food storage facilities. If you pass the inspection, you will be given a certificate that allows you to open for business.

5. Food Handler's Permit

When you're ready to open your restaurant, one of the things you'll need is a food handler's permit. This permit shows that you and your staff have been trained in food safety and sanitation and are following all the necessary regulations. Getting a permit can be a bit of a process, but keeping your customers safe and your business compliant is worth it.

To get started, you'll need to contact your local health department to determine the specific requirements in your area. You'll likely need to submit an application and pay a fee, and then you'll be scheduled for an inspection. Once you've passed the inspection, you'll be issued your permit.

6. Sales Tax License

In order to open a restaurant, you'll need to get a sales tax license. This permit allows you to collect and remit sales tax on food and drinks sold at your establishment. 

In most states, you can apply for a sales tax license online, by mail, or in person at your local taxation office. The application process is usually fairly straightforward but checks with your state's licensing agency to confirm the requirements. 

Permits and Licensing: What Do You Need to Open a Restaurant?

7. Live Entertainment and Music License

Performing live entertainment at your restaurant can set it apart from the competition and help you attract customers. But before you can start booking bands and hosting open mic nights, you'll need a live entertainment permit or license.

Getting a permit will vary depending on your city or state, but it typically involves applying for a business license and completing a background check. 

8. Parking Permit

This permit allows you to operate your restaurant in a specific location. In order to get a parking permit, you need to have a valid business license. The parking permit fees vary depending on the type of restaurant you are opening, the location of your restaurant, and the amount of traffic your restaurant is expected to generate. 

In some cases, you may also be required to submit a site plan showing where your restaurant will be located in relation to other businesses and landmarks.

9. Employer Identification Number(EIN)

If you're thinking of opening a restaurant, one of the first things you'll need to do is obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This nine-digit number is assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is used to identify your business for tax purposes.

While you may be able to operate your restaurant without an EIN, there are many reasons why it's beneficial to have one. For starters, having an EIN will make it easier to open a business bank account. 

The Benefits of Having All the Proper Permits and Licenses In Place

Permits and Licensing: What Do You Need to Open a Restaurant?

Having all the proper permits and licenses in place can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run. Here are just a few of the benefits of having everything in order.

1. Avoid Fines and Penalties.

If you don't have the proper permits and licenses for your business, you could be subject to fines and penalties from local, state, or federal authorities. It can cost you a lot of money, so it's best to avoid this problem by ensuring you have everything in order from the start.

2. Stay Within the Law

Operating without the proper permits and licenses can also put you at risk of breaking the law. This could lead to serious consequences, such as jail time, so it's important to ensure you're always operating within the bounds of the law.

3. Protect Your Business

You could be held liable if something goes wrong at your business and you don't have the proper permits and licenses.  It could mean having to pay damages or even losing your business entirely. Having all the proper paperwork in order can help protect your business from these risks.

4. Save Time

Trying to get everything in order after the fact can be a huge hassle and take up a lot of time you could be spending on running your business. It's much easier to get everything sorted out before you start operating.

5. Peace of Mind

Knowing that you have everything in order can give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on running your business. This can help you avoid a lot of stress down the road.

Permits and Licensing: What Do You Need to Open a Restaurant?


Opening a restaurant is no easy task. Aside from the usual business considerations, you must also ensure you have all of your permits and licenses in order.

This article has outlined what you need to know about restaurant permits and licensing requirements. Feel free to contact us for any permit and licensing inquiries.

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