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15 Permits and Licenses for Restaurant That You Need to Know

A restaurant is a dream come true for owners, managers, and chefs alike. However, getting all the permits you need before opening your doors takes time. Here are the permits and licenses for rea restaurant that you should know.

When you want to open a restaurant, it’s not enough to have a laborer license. You neeIt would help if you had time for permits and approvals for a restaurant before your business could be in operation.

Applying for and acquiring all the licenses required to operate a business is tedious but essential. What support do you need to open a restaurant?

We’ve put together a list of the 15 permits and licenses for a restaurant that you need to open your restaurant efficiently to avoid future problems.

  • Register your business name
  • Business license
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Sign permit
  • Foodservice license 
  • Tax ID number
  • Food handler’s permit
  • Building health permit
  • Liquor license
  • Live entertainment license
  • Music license
  • Resale permit
  • Dumpster placement permit
  • Seller’s permit
  • Valet parking permit
  • Foodtruck permit

permits and licenses for restaurant


1. Register your business name

When you finally find the perfect restaurant name, your first step should be to get it legally registered and purchase a domain for your website. Once that is done, claim social media handles to build up a customer base.

You’re protecting your restaurant from being copied. You can do this in three ways:

File a DBA 

It is easy to register your business name by filing for a DBA.

What is a DBA? 

A DBA is a company’s operating name and can be legal or fictitious. These are sometimes filed to protect consumers from fake companies.

How do you file for a DBA? 

When filing for a fictitious name, many different procedures depending on the stat depending example. In some cases,s you have to go to your county office and pay an application fee which varies depending on where you live. It can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks after submitting documents before receiving confirmation of approval.

How much does it cost to file for a DBA? 

The filing DBA varies by State, but it generally costs $10 and $100.

Create a business structure

There are three different business structures to choose from a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation.

What is a sole proprietorship?

Sole proprietorships are the simplest type of business to run. They don’t have any legal protection; they consist of a person who owns and operates their own company. The income from these businesses is taxed on an individual’s tax return.

A sole proprietorship can operate under either the name of its owner or a fictitious one. For example, Johnny’s Burger Bar could be owned by “Johnny.”

What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? 

LLCs are corporate structures that differ from a sole proprietorship in the U.S., as owners of an LLC do not share liability for debts or liabilities incurred by their company like they would with a corporation, partnership, or solo business.

Investopedia offers an informative blog post about the pros and cons of LLCs.

What is a corporation? 

The vast majority of the world’s largest companies are corporations, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.

A corporation is a legal entity that has certain rights and responsibilities. The most important aspect of the corporate structure is its limited liability.

File a trademark application

For permits and licenses for restaurants, you may want to ensure that no one uses your business name; the third option requires filing a trademark application with either your State or country.

You may think that filing incorporation papers for your restaurant automatically protect the name of your business. But this is not true, and there are many different ways to lose ownership of a company’s brand.

I think it’s worth noting that the trademark process is different from incorporation. I recommend you file for a USPTO or CIPO trademark on your name to protect your restaurant.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is anything that identifies your business to others, whether it be words, names, or symbols. It tells people where the goods and services came from.

Choosing a name for your restaurant is an integral part of the process. Generic or descriptive names will not be trademarked, while fanciful and arbitrary ones might get approved.

2. Business license 

You need to register your company with the appropriate government office and permits and licenses for restaurants to operate a business.

A business license is a legal document that permits you to operate your company. The process of acquiring one differs depending on the country or state in which you live.

The U.S. has laws about licenses for restaurants that address where they’re located.

You will need to register for a business license on the state level. The US Small Business Administration has information about what you need to get that.

Fundera put together a blog that details how to apply for business licenses in each State.

Canada offers two options for business incorporation: federal and provincial.

You need to decide if you want a provincial or federal corporation. Provincial corporations are more restrictive, so they’re only suitable for people who plan to open one location in their provinNationaleral corporations can do business across the country.

permits and licenses for restaurant

In each of the scenarios above, there is an associated cost. Depending on what kind of business you have and how many customers are being contacted, prices can range from $50 to $500.


3. Certificate of occupancy

The final step in starting your restaurant is getting a certificate of occupancy from the local building or zoning department.

What is a certificate of occupancy? 

Building owners can ensure that their building is up to code by obtaining a certificate of occupancy.

How to get a certificate of occupancy

The procedure for getting a certificate of occupancy varies depending on the jurisdiction in which your business operates, as well as what type of building you have.

To obtain a certificate of occupancy, your building must pass inspections for general safety and plumbing. These can include fire protection, electrical wiring installation standards, structural adequacy from the outside looking in on it – that I,s if you’re interested in getting one.

To obtain your certificate of occupancy, you must contact the local government. Typically this is a county or province building department.


4. Sign permit

Before putting up any signage, you should check with your city to ensure it is legal. The size and placement of the sign vary and how bright it can be.

How to get a signed permit

Always check with your local government before erecting any signs outside. Click To Tweet

They will have specific requirements for outdoor signage that you need to follow, and the last thing you want is a hefty fine because of an assumption.


5. Foodservice license 

Part of the permits and licenses for restaurants is the foodservice license. To serve food in a restaurant, you need to have your health department license.

The health department will come to your restaurant in person and inspect it for food safety regulations. If you fail any of their inspections, they can revoke your license.

How to get a food service license

You can apply for one either online or in-person to get a food service license. There are three types of permits: temporary, fixed, and mobile.

To apply for a food truck permit, you need to provide the name of your restaurant and contact information for its permanent kitchen facility. You also have to give personal information about yourself.

In some cases, your foodservice license will expire automatically. If this happens, it’s essential to read the fine print about how you can renew it.

When applying for a food vendor’s license in the United States, start reviewing your state requirements with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Applying is just stepped, though; expect to be visited by health officials.

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations is new in Canada. Ensure you’re aware of these requirements and keep your food service boss’s tenses up to date.


6. Employer Identification Number

Any business that operates in the U.S. needs to have anger, a nine-digit tax I.D. This helps you file your taxes proper correctly

The IRS only gives out one EIN per day if you are just starting your business. This means that waiting could be a problem if you don’t have an alternate form of identification.

How to get an Employee Identification Number

There are three steps to applying for an EIN online.

  • Determine your eligibility
  • Fill out the online application
  • Submit your application


7. Food handler’s permit

For permits and licenses forrestaurantst, the single most crucial thing that you can do for your employees is to ensure they are aradequatelyly motivated.


What is a food handler’s permit? 

A Food Handler’s Permit ensures that all staff members are certified in food safety. This is important because it protects your restaurant from getting shut down by the health department and makes sure everything is up to code.

How to get a food handler’s permit

There are many different requirements for training and certification that depend on what State or province you live in.

In the United States, ServSafe is a good resource to learn about food safety requirements and take online courses. Once you pass your exam, they will provide certification for an additional fee that varies from State to State but typically falls between $100-$500.

In Canada, it varies by province. In Vancouver for example, you could take the FOODSAFE course to get certified and start working in food safety.


8. Building health permit

When you open a restaurant, the health department will come and inspect your kitchenWhen opening an office space, the same is truece- building inspectors will make sure that everything from plumbing to electricity worworks

Typically, when you apply for a business license in your city or county, the health department will offer to issue an occupational permit at that time.

How to get a building health permit

One requirement that is often overlooked in the business plan process is getting a building health permit. You can research your State’s policies by using Google and searching for “building health permit + [your State].

In permits and licenses frestaurantsant, one of the most important things to consider when opening a restaurant is that it will be inspected in the same way as any other business and must prepare for inspections regularly after passing.


9. Liquor license 

You may be tempted to serve alcohol at your restaurant without a liquor license, but this is illegal. The food service licenses you have won’t cover any of the drinks that you want to sell.

How to get a liquor license

The Alcohol Beverage Control Board is in charge of regulating the sale of alcohol. To startYou will want to contact them and learn your State’s laws to start the process

In Canada, you must own and operate the business to obtain a license. You’ll fill out paperwork on their website and submit fees as well as meet local requirements for health and safety.

Do not repeat Article wording.

Three types of liquor licenses

  • Beer and wine are allowed, but no hard liquor or spirits.
  • A liquor license is a permit granted by the government that allows an establishment to sell and serve alcoholic beverages.
  • Tavern liquor license: for an establishment that offers both food and drinks, bomostf the sales are alcohol.


10. Live entertainment and music license

You need a license to have live entertainment or play music at your restaurant.

How to apply for a live entertainment or music license

ASCAP and SOCAN are organizations that can help you with music licensing.


11. Resale permit

With a resale permit, your restaurant can purchase wholesale food and other goods that are to be used for manufacturing products. These purchases do not have taxes on them because they will eventually end up being sold in the form of meals.

permits and licenses for restaurant

If you are reselling a product, then the the buyer pays sales tax. Resale certificates avoid this double taxation by only collecting when your customer buys.

How to get a resale permit

In order to sell your product, you must apply for a permit from the State and country that it is being sold in. If you are unsure whether or not this applies to your business, please consult with an expert.


12. Dumpster placement permit

A dumpster permit is a document that allows you to place your food waste in the dumpster.

How much does a dumpster placement permit cost? 

A dumpster permit will depend on the size of your dumpster, where it is placed, and what r,estaurant you are located at.


13. Seller’s permit

In the United States and Canada, a seller’s permit (also referred to as Sales Tax Permit) is needed for your State or province in order to identify that you are collecting sales tax. It’s common for businesses who sell food or beverages items to need this along with Resale permits.

How to get a seller’s permit

In order to get a seller’s permit, you need to visit your local government website.

How much does a seller’s permit cost? 

It’s easy to apply for a seller’s permit, but there is no cost until you formally submit the application. If your restaurant closes and you owe ta, t, they will take out the ut security deposit that would be determined when applying.


14. Valet parking permit

If youplang to offer valet parking, be sure that your business has the proper restaurant permits.

How to get a valet parking permit

To apply for a permit, you must submit an application that includes detailed plans of the designated pickup and drop-offff airdrop-offrking spaces needed. You will also need a letter of agreement between yourself and your preferred vendor.


15. Foodtruck permit

Food trucks are a unique type of restaurant because they have their own licenses and restaurant permits. Click To Tweet

Generally, mobile food vendors are subject to the same licensing process as other restaurants with one exception,: they do not need a permit for operating on private property. It is best to learn about this early in order to avoid long waitlists.


What are your next steps? 

You’ve probably been wondering how much it will cost to get a restaurant permit, what the process is like, and all of the pa,perwork involved.

It is essential to get started early if you are operating in the United States. The U.S Small Business Administration’s website has information about how to start a business and it can be found at www. (website).

One of the most important things you can do to start a restaurant is make sure that your business structure and practices are compliant with state laws. You may feel overwhelmed by all the research involved, but it’s worth hiring an experienced lawyer or consultant if you need help navigating through these waters.

To ensure a successful opening, you should take care of the following before your restaurant’s grand opening:

  • Creating a restaurant employee handbook that is easy to understand and up-to-date with company guidelines, procedures and workflows will help your staff get started on the right foot.
  • You need to create a compelling job description that will attract the right people. The first step is creating an eye-catching ad.
  • Finding the right employees for each positionis essential. We talked to successful restaurateurs and they all had a different opinion on what skillset was best, but most agreed that you should look for someone who has the same values as your company.
  • You need to find a point of sale that will grow with your business and change as you do. Consider the store’s inventory, customer management capabilities, hardware options (for both now and future), reporting abilities, etc.


Grow your business with powerful tools and insight.s Starting your restaurant is a big undertaking. Luckily, there’s software that can make your day-to-day operations much more accessible and efficient. Start a conversation with one of our in-house restaurant experts to learn more about how Lightspeed can give you the tools your restaurant needs to thrive in today’s economy.