You’ve done your research, found the perfect location, hired a great chef and are ready to open – or are you? A new restaurant takes a lot of work to get off the ground and one of the most important elements is the correct licences and permits.
Without the proper permissions from your local district, municipality or province, your restaurant could fall down before you even get started. The penalties under South African law for not having the right restaurant licences and certificates can range anywhere from a fine to imprisonment of the owner. The rules are so strict because an establishment that sells perishable food can have a major impact on the health and safety of the community in which it operates.
The licences and permits you need to apply for
• Business licence – Restaurants, or in fact any business that sells perishable foods, require a business or trading licence under the Business Act of 1991 before they open. This also applies to bars, cafes, take away places and catering companies.
• Liquor licence – In order to sell any alcohol on your premises, you must apply for a liquor licence. It’s advisable to do this well in advance of your planned opening as approval can take some time to go through.
• Health and safety certificate – Hygiene is of vital importance when selling food and there are strict rules governing health and safety in South Africa. Once your restaurant is set up, you must get it inspected in order to get a certificate of acceptability.
• Music licences – If you wish to play music in your restaurant, you may need to apply to both the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) and the Southern African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA). These are two separate bodies that can supply you with the two different licences that are required for playing music publicly.
It’s important to note that the permits for a restaurant can change between different districts or municipalities. This is where the help of a licenced attorney with experience in the restaurant industry can come in handy.
What if I don’t get my liquor licence in time?
Plenty of restaurants open up without their liquor licence in place yet. All this means is that you can’t sell alcohol on the premises until the licence gets approved. Patrons can come and enjoy a meal at your restaurant and bring their own drinks if they want. The only concern with this is what happens if your liquor licence doesn’t get approved.
Call Simon today to get assistance on applying for your liquor licence and other permits for your new restaurant.