To open a restaurant in Florida, you will need a business license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants. You will even need this license if you are the new owner of an existing restaurant, actually.
If you have a new restaurant, a remodeled restaurant, a restaurant that’s been closed for a year that you wish to re-open or a restaurant that will be converted from another use, you’ll have to submit a food service plan to the Division of Hotels and Restaurants (DHR) for approval. Submit this early to avoid the cost of having to modify construction later. The DHR website has the application forms online. If you want to serve alcohol, you will obviously also need to apply for a liquor license. When you buy an existing restaurant, you won’t have to start from scratch, but you will have to apply to have the liquor license transferred to you. The DHR calculates the license fee based on the number of seats in the place and the type of operation you have. On its website, you will find a food service fee calculator. DHR will have to inspect the restaurant for safety and sanitation before you open too.
You will need to get a sales tax registration number from the Department of Revenue. Alternately, if you will be exempt, you have to have proof of the exemption prior to opening. You will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). See, all businesses must have either an EIN or tax ID number.
You will also have to deal with local and county requirements too in order to open a restaurant in Florida. Permits and requirements that county and local governments require can include:

  • Sign permit
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Flammable materials permit
  • Health department permit

If you want to open up a restaurant in Florida, it’s best to make sure your business attorney has experience in the foodservice industry. This isn’t required, but it will be incredibly helpful.

RE/MAX Keys Connection

Upscale, Comfortable Commercial Real Estate Office

The RE/MAX Keys Connection office is located in the Historic Heritage House in the heart of Old Town, conveniently located immediately nearby major downtown hotels. Our unique, cafe-style real estate office offers our valued clients a welcoming, upscale, professional environment. Enjoy complimentary beverages, free wi-fi, and a private conference room or expansive front porch, depending on the level of privacy you’re most comfortable with.

Experienced Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Company

RE/MAX Keys Connection’s owner and broker Curtis Skomp is one of South Florida’s top commercial real estate brokers. With over two decades of experience and a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation, Curtis has brokered commercial real estate including industrial properties, shopping centers, strip malls, trailer parks, bars, restaurants, hotels and multi-unit apartment buildings. Unlike many brokers, Curtis isn’t intimidated by bank foreclosures either.
RE/MAX Keys Connection offers clients international exposure with local service. Our service area includes  Key West, Big Pine Key, Marathon, Islamorada, Key Largo, and all of unincorporated Monroe County.  Our office is fluent in Spanish, which is highly important when doing business in Southern Florida.

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