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
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