Restaurant Industry Licensing

Overview

Restaurants are highly regulated by various state and local authorities often requiring complex and detailed licensing. The restaurant industry is subject to rigorous inspections and enforcement of the law due to public health and safety concerns. Every restaurant business needs to be properly licensed before it can start operating. The experts at LicenseLogix are familiar with all agencies governing the restaurant industry. We will oversee each application and help ensure that your business is properly licensed.

Background

The restaurant industry can encompass a variety of licenses, from basic business licenses to tax registrations to industry- specific licenses. Furthermore, each license may be issued by the federal, state, county or local government, based on the specific activities and location of the restaurant. Below are a few industry specific licenses that may be triggered by certain business activities.

Food Handling and Safety License

In order to open a restaurant, most jurisdictions require a food service establishment permit. Owners and managers are generally required to obtain food handling permits, which often require the completion of a mandatory food handling and sanitation training. These permits ensure that the restaurant meets regulations regarding food sanitation, storage, protection and preparation.

Building License

A building license is required for any restaurant in order to verify the location’s operational safety. This can include clearly marked and working fire extinguishers, fire escapes and emergency exits as well as obtaining an occupancy license, often issued by the local fire commissioner. Depending on location, the restaurant may also be required to obtain a tax permit, sign permit, alarm or zoning permit and other building permits.

Liquor License

Liquor licensing can vary dramatically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. State authorities require restaurants to obtain an alcoholic beverage or liquor license if the establishment intends on serving alcohol. Many city or county governments also have liquor license requirements. In fact, they may even cap the number of licenses available in a neighborhood or on a block, making it impossible for a new restaurant to obtain a license.

Music License

If a restaurant intends on playing music, live or recorded, a license must be obtained from a music licensing organization in order to be compliant with federal laws. The nation’s three most prominent clearing houses include BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. These organizations are music performing rights organizations, representing songwriters, composers and music publishers. Obtaining licenses from all three can eliminate worries over expensive penalties. In addition, restaurants that allow dancing may be required to apply for an additional license, often called a cabaret license.

Ramifications of Non-Compliance

Restaurant businesses operating without appropriate permits or with an expired permit are subject to both state and local penalties. Penalties range from high fines, cease and desist orders and even criminal penalties, such as jail time and probation.

How we help your business:

  1. Our licensing specialists will help you get organized, get informed and get licensed.
  2. Our flat rate service fee will save you money by taking a time-consuming task off of your desk for a fraction of what it might cost elsewhere.
  3. We will ensure that your application is filed correctly and that you are operating in compliance with the law. Let us do what we do best so your business can do what it does best.

More Resources:

- National Club Industry Association of America
- National Restaurant Association


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