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A Typical Legal Process for Building a Restaurant

The process for building a restaurant usually includes these steps:

  • Check with the zoning board to ensure that the zoning at your proposed location allows a restaurant. If it doesn’t, don’t panic. Zoning restrictions can sometimes be changed. Contact your lawyer or real estate business broker for assistance.
  • Obtain a site approval from the planning board or commission.
  • A public hearing takes place at which time people can and sometimes do voice their objections concerning your business and plan, especially if you’re serving alcoholic beverages. Try to find out about any possible objections before the meeting so that you can address them appropriately during the meeting. At the hearing, the board considers environmental impact, traffic impact, community impact, and more.
  • A plan review meeting is held with a building department official and a fire department official present. They review the plans in detail for structural integrity, fire code compliance, occupancy capacity, and more.
  • Make a formal application for a building permit. After a building permit is issued, construction may begin.
  • The building inspector makes periodic announced and unannounced inspections of the construction or renovation to ensure its compliance with codes.
  • When the construction is complete, both the fire inspector and the health inspector make a final inspection.
  • When everything meets the required codes and guidelines, a certificate of occupancy (C of O) is issued to the owner of the business.

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