Legal Documents that You Need to Open a Restaurant

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Opening any business needs the necessary permit and licenses. If you plan on putting up a restaurant, you need to make sure that it meets certain codes and regulations. Failure to secure these documents can hinder your potential business. To help you, here are some of the most important paperwork that you need to secure to open a restaurant business.

Register Your Business Name

To make your business a legal entity, the first thing that you need to do is to register your business name. The process is pretty straightforward, and the four main ways that you can do it are:

  • Entity Name — entity name registration protects you at the state level, and this is how the state will identify you as a business. Each state has its own set of rules, but generally speaking, most of them won’t allow you to register a name already in the database or being used by someone else. Some states also require you to use an entity name that reflects the nature of your business.
  • Trademark — trademark name protects your business name, services, and goods at a federal or national level. This prevents others, usually in the same industry, from having the same trademarked name. When violated, an entity will be subject to trademark infringement lawsuits which can be inconvenient and costly.
  • Doing Business As — also known as DBA, this type of name allows you to perform business under an entirely different identity as long as it is under your own legal personal name. Getting a DBA also allows you to obtain a business bank account.
  • Domain Name — to fortify your presence online, you will need a properly registered domain name, also known as a URL and website address. It is an added layer of protection to your brand because once you register your domain name, no one else can use it.

Business License

In the United States, you are prohibited from opening and running a business without a government-issued license. It is one of the most important documents you need to secure once you decide to become a business owner. The cost to obtain this license may vary from state to state, but the registration fee usually costs around USD 50. The price of the filing fee, on the other hand, ranges from USD 25 to USD 500.

To find out where exactly you need to file for a business name, you can go to the official website of the Small Business Administration (SBA) for details, or you can go to your local state office to inquire about the process. Keep in mind that a business license needs to be renewed every year so take note of the date of issue.

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Occupancy Permit

As per the National Building Regulations and Buildings Standards Act, a certificate of occupancy is a mandatory document that is required before occupying a particular building. It is needed to safeguard the owner and to prove that all requirements have been met.
The cost to have an occupation permit mostly depends on the area or square footage of your building or commercial property. The fee starts at 3 cents per square foot with a minimum of USD 90 and a maximum of USD 600. A USD 30 is also charged per inspection whenever it is required.

Some occupancy permit needs to be renewed annually. Still, this document is permanently valid in most cases as long as the business does not move location, change ownership or expand.

Food Permit

Any business that handles food is required to secure a food service license. The type of food permit you need to apply for depends on the type of restaurant you wish to have. For example, food trucks in the United States only need a food vendor’s license, so ensure that you are clear with your type of restaurant business.

This license is issued by your local state health department, so you need to check first with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the specific requirements in your state. As you apply online, don’t forget to include the name and location of your business.

A food business license cost depends on your restaurant’s size and classification, like the location and number of seats inside. It is also sometimes influenced by how many employees you have, but the typical cost can range from USD 100 to USD 1,000

Sanitation Permit

The Department of Health Food Safety and Sanitation Program required all foodservice businesses and establishments o have a food sanitation permit. This ensures that the products are not exposed to harmful bacteria and are not possible sources of food-borne illnesses.

This license can be obtained from your local city health department. The process involves inspection t make sure that your restaurant follows food safety and sanitation protocols.

They will also look at the other aspects of the business, such as sewer cleanliness, which you can address through services such as sewer jetting. Everything should be up to the city health department’s code.

Getting the necessary documents when opening a business can be a long and daunting process. However, as a budding entrepreneur, you should understand that legal paperwork is vital to ensure your business operation is legal.

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