Getting into the hospitality industry is not as easy as people may think. The industry is highly regulated. You should prepare to face all types of challenges. To avoid any issues, it’s best to comply with a web of local, state, and federal regulations. You’d rather be safe than sorry, and the only way to do so is by knowing which restaurant licenses and permits you need to run a successful business.
You cannot operate a restaurant without having a business license. If you fail to have one, it means you’re operating illegally. How much it will cost will depend on where your restaurant is, and the registration fee could be approximately $50. In contrast, the filing fee ranges between $25 to $500. To find out how much you’ll need to get your business license, Google your city’s name and business license, then check the US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s website for details. Every city has different rules, but there’s one rule across the board that renews the business license annually.
If you’re planning to keep alcohol, then you need to understand the state’s ABC laws. This Alcohol Beverage Control board regulates the sale of alcohol in each state. Maintaining a liquor license is not as easy as registering your business. Ensure that your staff understands the repercussions of either selling liquor to minors, over serving, disorderly conduct, or even selling unauthorized times. You need to be careful because we can guarantee loss of sales for your restaurant if you lose this license. Depending on the state you’re in, full liquor licenses can range between $12,000 to $400,000. On the other hand, if you choose to sell beer and wine, it can cost as little as $3,000.
Getting this license needs approval from the health department. Their job is to ensure that your restaurant is by restaurant food safety regulations and that your staff are fully compliant. All you need to do is apply online with the name and location of your restaurant. The cost will differ based on the classification and size of the restaurant plus the number of employees. You should prepare your budget to range between $100 to $1,000; it also depends on your location and requirements.
Employee Identification Number (EIN)
You might be a little nervous if you have to deal with the IRS. Still, to get an employee identification number, you’ll need the IRS since this is a tax ID number. This is also the one thing you will not have to invest any money in because it’s free.
Food Handler’s Permit
You wouldn’t want health department workers to storm into your restaurant and find the kitchen filthy, with no storage and staff not dressed appropriately for the kitchen. To avoid this, your employees will need to complete a state-approved food handler’s course and get a food handler’s permit. Find out the cost of an employee health permit. It varies from state to state and can range between $100-$500. This permit usually expires after 3-5 years, so we advise you to keep your dates on your calendar.
Everything you need in your restaurant will need a license, including signage. Yes, that beautiful, well-lit sign needs a permit. Once again, sizing, location and cost are determined by your city.
This is not an exhaustive list of the restaurant licenses and permits you need to get, as laws vary by city and state. Make sure to check with your town to ensure you are following all local regulations.
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