Opening a restaurant is a dream come true for some people. Starting a restaurant is like starting any other business; you have to know how to serve your target audience and remain competitive.
However, just like with any other business, there are legal considerations to have in mind before you actually open your food business. Laws and regulations must be attended to if you want your business to succeed. With that in mind, here are a few key legal considerations to focus on when starting your own restaurant.
The business structure
First and foremost, you have to choose a business structure for your restaurant business. This step will help you take care of other legal aspects regarding a food business. As an example, a business structure will help determine all the paperwork you need to file, such as taxes, licenses, permits, insurances and so on.
What’s more, it will also determine the amount of liability for the owner. With that in mind, the best suggestion would be to start as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), in order to adequately protect both yourself and your restaurant.
Health and safety inspection
Restaurants are serving and preparing food for consumers on the premises. The key legal concern here is health and safety inspection. They will visit you often to determine if your restaurant is compliant with all the necessary health and safety standards.
In other words, they won’t be looking just at your food or how you prepare it but also at all of the equipment you utilize as well. As an example, it’s a good idea to have a heat exchange system from a reliable heat exchanger manufacturer. That way, the health and safety inspection won’t raise any concerns about potential fire hazards or food getting spoiled due to an ineffective refrigerating process.
Licenses and permits
Every restaurant requires specific licenses and permits, in order to operate legally. You’ll have to research which permits and licenses you’ll need because every country has specific rules and regulations regarding food businesses.
For instance, aside from a general business license, specific insurance plans, food service license and health and safety permit, you’ll also need a liquor license, which is a specific category on its own. Any other license or permit may depend on the local city laws and their regulations so make sure you get well-informed.
Every food business owner knows that opening a restaurant in a heavily residential area is a good idea. After all, you want to be as close to your customers as possible. However, the local zoning laws may disagree with your decision. Zoning laws are a separate entity, which means you have to get permission from a local zoning office to open a restaurant in a specific location aside from state, federal and local authorities.
What’s more, you have to be compliant with their own set of rules in order to get that permission, in the first place. For example, you may not be allowed to have a large parking lot or a neon sign. In other words, anything that may disturb the people living in the area is under the jurisdiction of the zoning laws.
In most cases, business insurances are optional for the majority of businesses. However, when it comes to restaurants, insurances may be mandatory due to the risk and liability involved.
For example, someone might slip and fall, thus get injured, food poisoning is not uncommon either, fire and other hazards are an issue and so on. Therefore, in order to avoid any legal troubles, make sure you obtain all the necessary insurances for your restaurant before you open it for the public.
Opening a restaurant can be a profitable endeavor. However, legal concerns are always present and you should take care of that matter as soon as possible. That way, you can enjoy your business and work hard to reach success.