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Licenses Required to start a restaurant business in India

Are you planning to open a restaurant in India? But you don’t know where and how to proceed?

Do not worry, this article will guide you on the first step to open a restaurant in India, which is getting the required restaurant license which enables smoother operations.

Consider if you wish to start a Cafe in India, then to proceed you have to be highly confident on the requirements especially the licenses required to open a Cafe in India.

The number of licenses required to set up a restaurant might vary depending on the state and size of operations. You can know the restaurant license cost in India, the pre-requisites, and the steps as we have listed out the 12 essential eating house licenses that are needed to get your restaurant up and running smoothly.

What are the licenses needed to start a restaurant in India?

Restaurants licenses
12 essential licenses required to open a restaurant in India
  • FSSAI License
  • Eating house license
  • Health/Trade license
  • Liquor license
  • GST Registration
  • Environmental clearance license
  • Fire safety license
  • Lift license 
  • Signage license
  • Music license
  • Shop and establishment license
  • Insurance

1. FSSAI License:

This is the first and foremost license that qualifies you whether you can run a restaurant or not. FSSAI is abbreviated as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The license issued by FSSAI is not only a license to run your restaurant but also a legal document representing the approval by the authority.

FSSAI license also provides confidence to customers visiting your restaurant that they are dining in at an FSSAI certified restaurant.

Types of FSSAI license:

FSSAI licenses are divided into three categories, based on the revenue generated by a restaurant per year.

There are 3 variations of the FSSAI license:

  • FSSAI Registration – For food business < ₹12 lakhs revenue/year
  • State License – For food business > ₹12 lakhs and less than <20 crore revenue/year.
  • Costs ₹2000/year.
  • Central License – For food business > ₹20 crore revenue/year.
  • Costs ₹7500/year.

FSSAI license can be applied for a maximum period of five years and can be renewed periodically.

Where and how to apply?

FSSAI license can be applied directly through the FSSAI portal and the inspection will generally happen between one week to a month based on the paperwork. Acquiring the FSSAI license needs a list of legal documents that need to be uploaded along with the application, the documents required are listed below.

Documents required for FSSAI license

  • Valid Email ID and Contact Number
  • FSSAI form duly filled and signed by the Restaurant Owner
  • Identity and Address Proof issued by a Government Authority
  • List of main stakeholders along with their identity proof
  • Declaration of Food Safety Management plan
  • Proof of possession of the location/premise
  • No objection certificate from the local Municipal Corporations or local bodies
  • Kitchen Layout Plan
  • Water Testing Report provided by ISI certified organization
  • List of Food Category
  • Partnership Deed/ Affidavit of Proprietorship (in case of business operated in other
  • premises or case of partnership firm)
  • Medical certificates of employees
  • Types of equipment to be used

It might look daunting but if the documents are uploaded properly the license request will be processed quickly without any delays.

The detailed help guide to get FSSAI license is listed below:

2. Eating House License:

Eating house license
Eating house license is mandatory for a public eatery

An eating house license is a license that is mandatory food license for a restaurant to open a public eatery where food and beverages are supplied for consumption. If you are planning to open an Eating house you must apply for the same under the City or the State Headquarters.

Documents required for Eating House License:

  • Fire NOC if the seating capacity is greater than 50
  • Site plans and photographs
  • Documents of the restaurant building and NOC form property owner
  • Trade license
  • FSSAI license
  • Photocopy of valid NDMC/MCD/DCB/ Airport Authority of Indian trade license and valid fee receipt
  • Undertaking regarding the installation of a CCTV camera recording facility with a minimum of 30 day’s recording stored

How and where to apply?

The eating house license can be brought from the respective websites of the city or state licensing policing commissioner. Users have to register using the user id and upload the necessary documents for verification. Although the documents required are high, the cost of getting an Eating house license is around Rs 300.

3. Health/Trade License:

According to the Municipal corporation act, the public’s health should be given the highest concern. This license comes into the act as abided by local authorities like the health department or municipal corporation.

Documents Required for the Health/Trade License

  • Three copies of the site plan
  • Electricity and Water bills
  • Rent Agreement or NOC from landlord
  • Sewer Connection Proof
  • Proof of property tax
  • Letter from local police
  • plan and Layout of the restaurant
  • Indemnity bond for Rs.100
  • Structural Stability Certificate signed by the concerned Structural Engineer
  • Water Testing Reports
  • Medical Certificates of Employees
  • Lal Dora Certificate, if applicable( only in Delhi)

How to get the Health/Trade License for your Restaurant

You can receive your heath/trade license either by applying for Health/Trade License either at CSB or online. The forms are available at the State’s Municipal Corporation website or Zonal Citizen’s Service Bureaus. The cost of the trade license is base on the location or zone of the restaurant is located.

4. Liquor license

Liquor license
Liquor license is by far the toughest to obtain

Serving liquor at your restaurant is not possible until you get a proper liquor license. Getting a liquor license is the most challenging of all licenses. The license for it can be collected from the local exercise commissioner and the respective forms are available with the state government website. For example, if you need a liquor license required for a restaurant in Mumbai, you need to collect the forms from the Maharastra state government website. Liquor license is different for each level of the hotel and selling liquor without a valid license might attract a huge penalty which may even result in closing up the restaurant.

Types of liquor license that you can apply:

  • L-1 – Granted to company society or partnership running with manufactured units
  • L-3 – Granted to working distilleries or bottling plans that are issued by the state or central government
  • L-6 – Granted for retail vendors for liquor and beer by the state government
  • L-10 – Granted for sale of foreign liquor and select Indian brands
  • P-13 – Temporary license provided to hotels, pubs, and restaurants which are licensed to sell liquor inside or outside the premises for one specific day
  • P-10 – Granted to serve liquor at a function on a specific day for anywhere in the city other than public parks

Documents required for LIQUOR license:

  • Address proof of the restaurant
  • Orginal application and a copy with business details
  • NOC from the fire department and municipal corporation
  • List of all directors of the company
  • MOA and AOA if the applicant is a company
  • Copy of the latest IT returns
  • Concern applicant photographs
  • Affidavit of the applicant stating there are no criminal records under their name

How to apply for a liquor license?

You need to submit the application for the restaurant license to the concerned state authority. For example, if you need an eating house license in Mumbai, you need to submit the application to Maharastra state. In each and every license application that you’ll be submitting all the required documents with fees Description of the type of license you are applying for must be clearly mentioned. The state authority will verify all the given details and contact for any additional details if required and you have to submit that for further steps.

5. GST Registration

GST registration
GST registration is a key process in setting up a restaurant

The Indian government has made GST mandatory for companies to have a GST number registered. In general, any business including Restaurant business with over 20 lakhs turn over need to have a GST number registered. Standalone restaurants with AC attract a GST tax of 5% whereas if the restaurant is run in a hotel and if the rates of the room are above 7500 then a GST tax of 18% will be applicable. 

How to obtain GST number for a restaurant:

The GST number for a restaurant can be applied online at under GST REG-01 form which requires the following information

  • Applicant details
  • Mobile number
  • Email Id
  • Pan card number
  • Proof place of business
  • Copy of valid rental agreement/lease agreement
  • Valid bank account from India
  • Provisional ID and password received from the state’s VAT department

6. Environmental clearance license

Restaurants are legally and morally bound to do their share in protecting nature, so it is essential to get an environmental clearance license (CEC), This permit is from the EMA for certain types of projects or activities. You can obtain it from the Ministry of Environment and Forests after submitting the questionnaire for environmental appraisal.

How to apply:

You can apply for the certificate of environmental clearance from the ministry of environments and forests website

7. Fire safety license

Fire safety license
Fire safety license is a very essential license required to start a restaurant

All restaurants need to be established in such a way that they safeguard customers in all cases. Restaurants have to ensure compliance with all the fire safety guidelines by getting the fire license for restaurants. This has to be done before submitting the application, for obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC). On applying, an inspection is carried out and on fulfilling all criteria the officials of the Fire Department will grant the NOC.

Applications can be found online on state government websites. Currently, there are no charges levied on the NOC. It typically takes 15-30 days for the license to be issued upon inspection.

8. Lift license 

Lift license for restaurants
Lift license is essential for safer operation

If your restaurant is located in multi-story buildings with lifts, then a lift license is very essential for safe operation. For this, restaurateurs have to register for the Lift Clearance License which ensures that the lift operations comply with safety norms. The lift clearance license can be obtained from the electrical inspector in the office of the Labour Commissioner.

9. Signage license

Signage license
planning to advertise? Make sure you have a signage license

If you are planning to advertise your restaurant through the use of words, symbols, and pictures or images you need a legal permit called the Signage license. Restaurants can obtain this license from the local civic bodies like Municipal Committee or City Corporation.

10. Music license:

If you are planning to add music and videos to set the tome in your restaurant you can absolutely do so, but you should have a license that is in compliance with the Copyright Act of 1957. This license is obtained from Phonographic Performance Limited or Indian Performing Right Society.

The license can be obtained through the PPL website

11. Shop and establishment license

One of the most important rules that establish employee welfare is the Shop and Establishment Act which regulates the terms and conditions of employment in commercial establishments which includes restaurants. This law is enacted under the Ministry of Labour, this act regulates working hours, overtime pay, intervals for rest, opening and closing hours, public holidays, paid leaves, maternity leaves, etc.

An application has to be submitted to the Area Inspector along with the following information. The application for the same shall contain the details which include the name of the employer, name, and address of the employer, category of establishment, number of employees and other relevant details as required.

The application has to be submitted within 30 days of beginning work. After due verification and review by the chief inspector, a Registration Certificate shall be issued to the occupier. The certificate is valid for 5 years after which it has to be renewed.

12. Restaurant Insurances

Although there are no general rules on getting insurances for restaurants it is essential that you insure your restaurant on the bellow four parameters.

  • Public Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Fire Policy
  • Building & Asset

Insurances can be obtained from any legally registered entity

Do not be overwhelmed by the number of licenses for restaurants needed for smoother operations. If you have the necessary documents getting the licenses wouldn’t be a big problem. Now that you have a clear idea of the licenses required to start a restaurant, now check out how your restaurant operations can be automated with our complete Restaurant solution.

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