Start Up: Licenses vs Permits; Building Codes

liquor license

Once you’ve got your licenses, signed the lease, begun interviewing potential employees, and feel like things are smoothing out…there are still a slew of local laws you have to be aware of and make sure you’re complying with. These local laws are different in every city, obviously, and most are enforced by state agencies. Your local health department, for instance, determines that health codes you must comply with and the local building department outline how you have to make your location safe for patrons.

Here’s a list, courtesy of One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment, of laws and ordinances your local or state government probably governs:

• When you can open and when you must close.
• How to apply for required permits.
• Where you can have your outdoor seating area.
• How big your location’s sign can be and where you can post it.
• Specific details about building codes. This typically includes handicap access, bathroom accessibility, and loads more.
• How, where, and in what containers you can sell liquor. Areas have very specific liquor laws, so you’ll want to get in compliance with you local ones very early on.

What’s the difference between all these licenses and permits and rigamarole? Well, a “license” is a legal document given out by a government agency who gives you the permission to do a specific thing. In the restaurant business, for example, you need a license to sell liquor. Without one, you can be heavily fined, lose the chance to get a liquor license in the future, and possibly lose your restaurant.

There is no difference between a permit and license – the words mean the same thing. Some local and government agencies choose one word over the other for no real apparent reason. Don’t sweat what name your agency chooses.

Commonly, getting a license for something is a one-time thing. usually you need to renew or update your licenses and permits annually. Create a system with your bookkeeper, attorney, or whoever to remind you when licenses and permits are going to expire. Stay on top of processing fees, applications, etc. so nothing sneaks up on you.

When preparing to open your restaurant, make necessary licenses a priority. It keeps you out of trouble and prevents you from having to scramble a week before opening. Ultimately these licenses and building codes you must comply with help keep your employees and patrons safe.

One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment

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