When you’re opening a new restaurant, you likely already know that you need to get a business license and file for an employer identification number. However, like many business owners, you might not know the other essential licenses and permits you must obtain before opening your restaurant. Some paperwork takes months to complete, so you’re always better off starting the paperwork ahead of time. Here are some licenses and permits that you might find you need to open your restaurant.
Food Service Permit
To ensure that your establishment and employees are preparing, storing and serving food correctly, you will be required to get a food service permit. State or county officials will inspect your business to ensure that your fridges and freezers are cold enough, that you don’t have any signs of bugs or infestations and that you have adequate handwashing sinks and food prep areas.
Every employee in the restaurant will also be required to undergo a food handler’s training to teach how to avoid spreading food-borne illnesses by practicing proper food storage and handling and sanitation.
When you open a restaurant, getting approval from the health department doesn’t mean you can start selling liquor alongside your food. You must have a separate license approving your establishment to sell liquor. Additionally, you might be required to apply separately for both a liquor and a beer and wine license, so you want to check with your TABC license division before finalizing your paperwork.
Music is an excellent way to create ambiance and set the mood in a restaurant. However, you won’t be able to simply plug in a CD player and put in your favorite tunes. You also aren’t legally allowed to do karaoke or enjoy live music in your restaurant without the proper license. To avoid copyright infringement, you must first apply for a music license. Without it, you could find yourself paying fines that could go as high as $30,000.