Opening a Restaurant In California – Licenses And Permits

When one thinks of a quality restaurant, one imagines good food, good ambiance, and great company. If you want to open a restaurant in California, this blog can help you. Figuring everything out can be difficult but worth it in the end. 

Establishing a restaurant involves choosing the location, the type of food you want to serve, the theme of the place, etc. It also involves researching the specific laws and regulations about opening this particular type of business. Every state has differing laws. 

California may require different licenses and permits than other states. It helps to have a restaurant CPA in Oakland to guide you. An expert can ensure nothing comes in the way of your dreams. 

Licenses and permits required to open a restaurant in California

Opening a Restaurant

Zoning and building permit

A Zoning and building permit is required to ensure that the chosen location for the restaurant is appropriate for its operations. The cost of obtaining this license varies, depending on how big your structure is going to be. You can register for them online. 

Business license

The business license is obtained in the city or county where you establish your business, be it a restaurant, bar, or food truck. Depending on the city, make sure to check if you meet all of their requirements to open a business. If your town has a business development center, visit them to ask your queries. 

A business license can cost anywhere between $50 to $100, depending on the size of your business. Larger companies may be charged more based on their forecasted revenue. 

Liquor license

If your restaurant is going to have a bar, it is necessary to obtain a liquor license. While getting licenses may sound like a chore, getting this one is actually beneficial. The profit margin for liquor goes up to 80%. However, the process is not quick or straightforward. In any case, getting approved to sell liquor in your restaurant can take about 90 days. 

Certificate of Occupancy in California

A certificate of occupancy shows that the space you want to use for the business is appropriate, safe to use, up to code, and up to date with its checks and inspections. Not every county requires them. However, it becomes mandatory when you change the use of a space completely from residential to business. 

A Certificate of Occupancy costs anywhere between $20 and $200. 

Public Health permit

Public health is a crucial factor you must consider when opening up a new restaurant in California. Once you receive the license, it confirms that you adhere to health and safety standards laid out by the Health Department. The prices for the permit range from $319 to $1,438.

Food Safety permit

The state of California requires that the owner, manager, and other employees within a restaurant be responsible for the food they serve within and outside their establishment. There are various training courses for the people who handle food in restaurants to prepare them to pass the examination. For example, health-department-sponsored or third-party courses. 

Food Seller’s Permit

All businesses that intend to sell goods that are subject to sales tax must obtain a food seller’s permit. In short, having a seller’s permit allows you to charge a sales tax. You can register for it online on the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration website. There is no fee to apply for the permit, but you may be asked to pay a security deposit. 

Entertainment and valet parking permits

If your restaurant is going to be big enough to have valets, you need a valet parking permit. You also have to separately obtain an entertainment permit if you plan on hosting live entertaining events. This can include music, performances, etc. 

Ensure compliance with a CPA!

With so many permits and licenses to apply for, it is easy to be confused and forget a few things. Hire a restaurant CPA today to ensure compliance and avoid legal trouble. 

Clare Louise