Legal Considerations When Starting a Restaurant

Legal Considerations When Starting a Restaurant

Learning how to deal with legal issues is part of starting any business. A restaurant has a lot of regulations because it’s a service business that deals with people directly. It also affects public health. That is why there are legal considerations in place to protect the people and the business. If you don’t know where to begin, hiring a lawyer will be a great start. However, you still have to learn all the common restaurant legal issues. A lawyer will disentangle the complex maze of sales quotas, contract terms, regulations, and other requirements. These are some of the legal decisions you will have to make.

  1. Choosing the Legal Structure of Your Restaurant

A charcuterie service or any other business, for that matter, needs a legal structure. Choosing the legal structure for your restaurant can be the most significant decision you will ever make. The structure you choose will dictate how you run the business, pay taxes and keep accounts. Sole proprietorship, limited partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporations are some of the available structures. You have to understand the limitations and liability issues associated with all the structures. It will help you a more informed decision for your business.

Think about the tax structure and how it can affect your restaurant. The decision you make at this point will determine a lot of things in the future. A lawyer will analyze the specific needs of your restaurant and advice you on the most advantageous entity. They will also help you file the paperwork. But when you know a few things about the legal structures, you can decide on your own.

  1. Licensing

    legal permit

A restaurant needs a lot of permits and licenses. These requirements differ depending on where you are starting the business. Different states will request different things from you. Find out all you can about the required permits and licenses in your location so that you can prepare accordingly. There are health inspections that will happen routinely for as long as you own a restaurant. You should be equipped with your permits at all times to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

Knowing all the requirements is the best thing you can do to comply with the law. A single license can cost you weeks of not operating or closure of your business. It sounds dramatic, but it’s the reality of opening any business. The good thing is you will have to get your facility inspected before it’s opened. That way, you will know which perms you lack before you start operations.

  1. Zoning

Your restaurant can not operate anywhere at any time. There are zones where you will not be allowed to start such a business. Consult your local government to find out if you can operate a restaurant in the area you are eyeing. If the site is zoned correctly, you can proceed to other plans. Assuming the place you want is an appropriate zone will be a very costly mistake. If even if there are similar businesses around the location, you should never assume.

Get everything cleared out by the local government officials before you proceed with other things. Zoning can change while other businesses are in operation. So the presence of other restaurants is not a clear indication that the zoning is appropriate. Zoning guidelines can include the type of building you can use or the signs for marketing. Some cities don’t allow any sidewalk signs, while others do. So do yourself a favor and do a bit of research beforehand.

  1. Employee’s Legal Issues

Wage cases are the most common litigation in the workplace. A restaurant needs a lot of employees from cooks, bartenders, servers, and other independent contractors. All these people will fall under you. There are rules in place to protect the employees at the workplace. Do not start a restaurant before you find out what all these rules and regulations are. Trying to lessen the payroll taxes by misclassifying employees can lead to serious penalties.

Try to stay on the good side of the law as much as possible when it comes to employees. You should know things like occupational safety laws, labor laws, and immigration issues. These are the common types of employee legal issues your business is likely to face. When you are prepared, it will be easy to handle any situation when it arises.  You also need insurances to protect your assets and workers to help you avoid litigation because accidents can happen at any time.

These are four of the many legal considerations any restaurant owner should know. Having problems with the law will tarnish your business name. It can even cripple your business and cost you a lot of money. So to stay on the safe side, understand all the possible legal considerations.

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