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Licenses: Opening a Restaurant in Florida

Small group of young people at a business meeting in a cafeYou love to cook and you live in Florida.  Everyone you know rants about the food you prepare.  The next logical step is for you to open your own restaurant and start raking in money.  But before you hang up the open sign, there are some licenses you will need to obtain first.

As soon as you know you are opening a business, you need to give it a name.  As soon as you have that catchy name, you need to license it.  Choose something that no one else is using.  Picking McDonald’s Burger Joint if your name is Sam McDonald isn’t going to work very well.  McDonald’s already has that tied up.  Once the name has been decided, you need to determine what kind of business set up you are using.  Will it be a sole proprietorship, an LLC, a partnership or a corporation?  Each of these types of business setups has a distinct legal definition.  Many restaurants are sole proprietorships or partnerships.  Now you need to license your business with the local and state authorities.  You will also need a tax ID number to do business.

Ok. Your business structure and name are licenses and you have your Federal and State tax ID numbers.  What’s next?  You will need a general business license as all business are required to have and also a sellers permit to collect taxes.  Prepared food is taxable.  And let’s not forget the tax numbers to allow you to collect Social Security, Medicare and withholding taxes from your employees.

Since you are dealing with food, you must make sure all your food is certified.  Spoiled, dirty and low quality food will not bring in the customers.  And you will have to have a certificate from the local Health Department stating you passed its inspection.  Building inspectors will make sure the building is up to code as well as your local fire marshal.  And you will need insurance in case of injury of illness that may happen in your restaurant.

You may have second thoughts about opening up that restaurant will all the regulations, laws and licenses that will be needed.  Knowing that Florida requires these things will allow your customers peace of mind knowing you are operating a safe and clean establishment.  Display your licenses proudly.   Now all you need to do is provide friendly employees and great food to ensure your success as a restaurant owner.