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What Do You Need to Start a Restaurant in California?

F. Michael Ayaz

If you want to open a restaurant in California, there are many decisions and steps you need to take to ensure you do things properly. Besides the typical things you need for any business, starting a restaurant requires a number of additional licenses before you can open the doors and begin operating.

According to the California Secretary of State, before you do anything you should have a business plan. This can help you organize everything and map out details. A good plan should discuss:

  • Budgets
  • Number of employees needed
  • Potential investment sources
  • Marketing and advertising plans
  • Location
  • Management structure
  • Profit projections

If you need assistance in picking out a location, the state offers specific services to help select the right site for your business. Once you have details written down, you will need to form the business structure and register it with the state. An attorney can help you determine the best entity, such as LLC, partnership or corporation, for your needs.

You will need a tax and employer identification number in order to hire employees. The Chron discusses additional steps you need to take as an establishment that serves food. You will need a license from the health department that states you passed the sanitation inspection. If you plan on serving alcohol, you need to obtain a liquor license. You also need to register the restaurant with the Food and Drug Administration. Before building out the space, you will need to get a zoning permit. This allows you to remodel the building for your needs.

There are many aspects involved with starting a restaurant. However, if you do everything correct, your grand opening should go as smoothly as possible.

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