Restaurant Startup FAQs: What Kind of Safety Permits and Licenses Do I Need?

Apr 12, 2022

It’s no secret that starting a restaurant is no simple feat. There are over 1 million restaurants in the U.S., with more opening each year. All that competition can make it tough to stand out in the industry!

So, what helps a business stand out from the crowd? A great dining experience, memorable marketing, and owners who get all the proper permits and licenses to keep the doors open.

Here are the permits and licenses you need to secure before opening your restaurant.

Logistic Licenses

Any time you want to establish a business (restaurant or otherwise), the first thing you should do is get a business license. In the U.S., all business owners need a license and employer identification number (EIN) to designate their business as a legal entity with the government.

In addition to your business license and EIN, you’ll also need the following:

  • Certificate of Occupancy – verifies that your space is up to code
  • Sign Permit – gives you the right to post signage to advertise your restaurant
  • Resale Permit – allows you to by non-taxed wholesale food products
  • Seller’s Permit – allows you to collect sales tax from your customers

Health and Safety Permits

Safety is of the utmost importance in the restaurant industry. Customers expect a clean and safe dining experience, and research shows that they remember when a restaurant fails to meet expectations. One survey even found that 75% of customers will avoid a restaurant if they know it’s had even one safety violation!

handling food restaurant

With that in mind, it’s critical to get the following licenses:

  • Food Service License, that confirms that your business follows all food safety regulations
  • Building Health Permit, which ensures that your location is sanitary
  • Food handling permits for all your employees, which confirms that your staff has proper training on food storage, handling, and more
  • Dumpster Placement Permit, which allows you to place a dumpster outside your building for safe disposal of food waste

Entertainment Licenses

To create a complete dining experience, your restaurant will need some additional entertainment. However, many entertainment options also require special licenses!

Depending on how you plan to entertain your diners, you might need one of the following:

  • Liquor License, so you can serve alcohol
  • Music License, so you can play copyrighted music without issue
  • Valet Parking Permit, so you can offer valet services
  • Pool Table License, which confirms that your space can safely house a pool table
  • Live Entertainment License, which allows you to host live bands, cabarets, exhibitions, or other public performances


Getting the proper permits to run your restaurant may seem daunting. But if you take the time to secure the correct licenses, you can open your restaurant on a firm foundation that will help you achieve success.

For any questions or challenges about starting your restaurant on the right foot, please reach out to Synergy for more insights