If you think of opening a restaurant as a business idea you should know that they are heavily regulated by several state and local health authorities.
So as an entrepreneur you should be very organized and knowledgeable about various licenses and the permission to open a restaurant that health authorities require before the first customer arrives at your business.
If you don’t get the necessary licenses, your restaurant will result in fines and penalties and perhaps close down your business.
Licenses and permission to open a restaurant
Business license: Like any business, your restaurant must exist as a legal commercial entity at state and federal level.
Well, just as you need a permit for opening a restaurant, so you must obtain a commercial license or business license that will allow you to legally operate your restaurant within a specific jurisdiction.
Even if you registered it as a corporation with the IRS and the IRS Department of State Revenue, your restaurant must comply with local business licensing guidelines.
It means you must register the trade name in the county.
Food Driver’s License:
Some states and cities require that as a restaurant owner or manager you complete mandatory food handling and sanitation training.
Even in some cities, food handling licenses require class certification and on-site inspection.
Because many restaurant owners prefer to certify several staff members, since at least one certified professional must remain on site while the restaurant is in operation.
Construction permit: Building permits such as occupancy permits are issued by the commissioners, who verify the operational safety of the site.
Building Permit: The building permit requires you to keep fire extinguishers, fire and emergency exits clearly marked and working.
Some cities may also require testing of the building to verify that it can withstand a tornado, earthquake or flood.
Federal Trade Licence:
If your restaurant is involved in activities regulated by a federal agency such as interstate transportation of animal or plant products, the Small Business Administration may require you to obtain a federal business license.
Even county or local state agencies may require you to manage licenses and charge you an annual fee or percentage of sales to keep your license.
Food Handling Permit:
Permission to handle food ensures that your restaurant complies with regulations regarding food sanitation, storage, protection and preparation.
Food manipulator permit:
You need to apply for a food handler permit to ensure that you have successfully completed food safety certification.
Depending on the requirements of your business area, you may need a tax permit, in addition to the health permit, building permit, signage permit, alarm permit or zoning permit.
Signalling permission: You must obtain the signalling permission by managing it in the location of your restaurant, as some cities have very strict rules regarding signage allowed.
Alarm Permission: If you have installed an alarm system you should contact your local government to request it.
Resale Permit: If your restaurant is in a state that requires sales tax, you must obtain the resale state permit, which allows you to collect sales tax from customers.
Building Health Permit: By obtaining a health permit from the City or County Health Department, as a permit holder you are subject to health inspections to ensure that the site complies with food handling practices, because if you do not comply with these practices you could be fined or risk losing your health permit.
Employee health leave:
Not only does the building need a health permit, but also employees handling food and beverages.
Usually employees must successfully complete a state-approved course.
The food handler course teaches employees proper sanitation, food storage and handling practices to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
Firefighter’s Permit: You may need the fire marshal’s local fire marshal permit, as the fire inspector will periodically inspect required facilities and fire prevention systems.
Licence for alcoholic beverages:
State authorities require you to obtain an alcoholic beverage license if you plan to serve alcohol in your restaurant.
Cabaret license: You will need a cabaret license if you plan to open your restaurant with live music even if it doesn’t fit the definition of a luxury restaurant, because the presence of live musicians obliges you as an owner to adhere to the interpreter’s common security standards.
Trademark license: As owner of a new restaurant you can be included in one of two categories:
As an owner who franchises or owns your own brand from scratch.
You should be aware that both types of owners require specific licenses.
For example, as a franchisee, you must comply with local licensing requirements and register the trade as a subsidiary of a business entity by dealing with local or state authorities.
As an independent business owner, you must perform a thorough brand verification, especially if you market across state borders.
Keep in mind that there are cases where as a restaurant owner it is possible to reach an agreement with companies with similar names before investing in signage and marketing.
Liquor License: Many county and city governments may also require a liquor license. This type of license usually has several levels or series of licenses that you can apply for according to the type of liquor you want to sell and where you can sell the liquor.
For example, if you want your restaurant to be part of a local culinary festival, you must obtain a license to serve alcoholic beverages at the festival, even if you already have a license to serve alcoholic beverages.
Music license: If you intend to have music from CDS in your establishment, you will need a music license and even to play music with copyright, because you need them if you hire services from a DJ and for a karaoke.
Requirements and permission to open a restaurant
In addition to the permission to open a restaurant, since you plan to open a food business you must meet many regulatory requirements.
Some of these apply to all food businesses and others are specific to the particular food product such as low acid canned foods, juices and seafood.
As an overview of the regulatory requirements related to starting a food business, you should be aware that in addition to the Food and Drug Administration requirements, your business will be subject to other federal, state and local requirements, which will vary depending on the products you serve in your restaurant.
Therefore, you should contract with the FDA District Office and state and local regulatory agencies to help you identify which state and local regulations you must comply with.
FDA Regulation: The FDA regulates all foods and food ingredients introduced or offered for sale in interstate commerce with the exception of meat, poultry and some processed egg products that are regulated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Home Restaurant: If you have a physical space in your home to open the restaurant, you can do so but you will need to understand FDA, state and local health department regulations.
Because local and county health agencies inspect food service establishments, food retailers, and provide you with technical assistance.
Register of Food Facilities: As your facility will manufacture, process and store food for human consumption, you must register with the FDA before starting your activities.
Importation of food: If your restaurant buys and serves imported food products you must comply with the same laws and regulations as food produced in the United States, as it must ensure that they do not contain prohibited ingredients and the labelling and packaging is informative and truthful.
Therefore, you must obtain all licenses and permits before opening your restaurant either in your own home or out of it and you can operate your business with the peace of mind that you are within the law requires.