Have you been thinking about opening a restaurant? If so, there are certain things you need to consider before opening. For instance, how will you find the best location for your restaurant? How should you go about designing it? What should be your budget? And what other costs will you have to anticipate? These are just some of the questions that come into play when considering a new business venture. You will also have to think about what kind of food you want to serve, what your budget is going to be, creating the aesthetics and menu of the restaurant, selecting an apt location, investing in specific equipment, and more. It is all included in facility planning. But the most important list you need to check right is the list of legal obligations and documents needed to run a food service business.

Starting a restaurant in India is not as easy as it may seem. There are a ton of licenses and documents you will need to comply with before you can even open your doors. Getting the right licenses is an important first step for opening a restaurant. It’s not just about paying taxes and issuing receipts. There are many regulations you’ll have to satisfy before you can open your doors, including zoning laws, fire safety regulations, public health regulations, and more. You will need to find the appropriate authorities for each of these regulations before you apply for any licenses. The following article will tell you all about the legal aspects of starting a restaurant in India, and how to get started.


Here are some of the actual food and hygiene-related licenses you may need:

FSSAI License:

Register for GST


For a food business operator, an FSSAI license which is also known as a ‘Food license’ is extremely crucial. Named after the issuer organisation FSSAI that is the Food Safety and Standard Authority Of India, this license is an approval towards your business by the government of India. The license contains a 14-digit number which is presented to every party involved in the restaurant. This assures customers that the place they are dining at follows the necessary safety protocols regarding their food. A number of documents are needed for issue of this license which can be initiated on the official FSSAI website.


Eating House License

This license is required right at the opening of your restaurant and is issued by the city’s Licensing Police Commissioner. It is required by all restaurants, hotels, street shops that sell food and food trucks. The Delhi Police Act made it a mandate. You can register and sign up for the license online.


Liqueur License

Restaurants planning to sell liqueur must absolutely acquire a license first. State government websites usually have the informations and registration process regarding acquirement of this license and it is issued by the Local Excise Commissioner. You may have to be very particular about the rules and regulations regarding this since it is very strictly checked and rechecked. Which is why it is well known that a liqueur license is the most difficult to acquire in food business. No license will be issued to businesses nearby hospitals, schools and temples.


Health Trade License

The Health Trade license came into existence for the reason that public health must be given importance and was actualated in the 11th Schedule of the Muncipal Corporation Act of 1957. Your state’s Health Department of the Muncipal Corporation may be able to issue this license and the application can also be done online.


Here are some of the finance and safety-related licenses you may need:

GST Registration

GST refers to the ‘Goods & Services Tax’ that is extremely important for any commodity-based business. Though it keeps making a lot of changes in the functioning of a restaurant, it is indeed essential. This came into existence in July 2017 and has been inevitable for businesses ever since. You can register online on the GST government website.


Shop and Establishment Act License

Any food service business is required to be registered under the Shop and Establishment Act. The limit to registering for this license is 30 days from the commencement of business. All the documents required must be submitted to the local inspectors and has to be renewed.


Certification from the Fire Department

To avoid accidents and ensure the safety of customers as well as the employees of the restaurants, certain fire hazards must be taken care of. And a certificate of safety must be acquired from the local fire department.


Signage License

Acquired through Municipal corporations, a signage license is required for when you wish to sell your restaurant in the market.


Here are some of the environment and ambience related licenses you may need:

Environment Clearance Certificate

Any business is morally bound to ensure the safety of the environment that it gains its resources from. Certain environmentally friendly aspects are legally required. So it is also recommended and actually crucial in today’s market that restaurants acquire an Environment Clearance Certificate. You can apply for this certification on the official website of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.


Lift Clearance

A clearance certificate is required from the city-specific Labour Commissioner and the electrical department if you wish to install a lift in your restaurant building.


Music License

Any restaurant or eatery ambience is incomplete without music playing on the premises. But according to the Copyright Act of 1957, any form of copyrighted material cannot be played commercially or non-commercially without a license. So you must get a restaurant music license which can be applied for online.

In restaurant or hotel facility planning, acquiring licenses and certificates is the most important step which can legally subject you to many things. So according to this list, make sure to check your list before you start your restaurant!