Restaurant Licenses and Permits You Need in Miami

9 Restaurant Licenses and Permits You Need in Miami

Launching a restaurant in Miami requires meticulous attention to detail when securing the required licenses and permits. From business registration, certificate of occupancy to health permits, ensuring compliance with the necessary licenses and permits is paramount for a seamless and lawful operation.

Obtaining the necessary paperwork and documentation establishes a solid foundation for your restaurant’s success while ensuring compliance with local regulations, which is governed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Here Are the Licenses and Permits Needed to Open a Restaurant in Florida

1. Business Registration

Before opening a restaurant in Miami, FL, it’s essential to establish your business legally in the State. 

  1. Gather Required Information: Before initiating the registration process, ensure you have all necessary documentation and information ready. This includes your chosen business name, entity type (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation), and details of your registered agent (if applicable).
  2. Visit the Official Website: You’ll find the online registration portal at the Division of Operations website.
  3. Start the Registration Process: Begin the registration process by selecting the option to register a new business entity. This typically leads you to a series of forms and prompts to guide you through the process.
  4. Provide Accurate Information: Fill out the required fields with accurate information about your business, including its name, address, type, and ownership details. Ensure all information provided is up-to-date and correct to avoid delays or complications.
  5. Submit Your Application: Once you’ve completed all necessary forms and provided the required information, review your application carefully to ensure accuracy. Then, submit your application through the online portal.
  6. Pay Any Applicable Fees: Depending on your business structure and type, registering your business in the State of Florida may involve fees. Ensure you pay any applicable fees as part of the registration process.
  7. Await Confirmation: After you submit your application and processing has been completed, you’ll receive confirmation of your business’s legal establishment in the state.
  8. Keep Documentation: Upon receiving confirmation, retain copies of all relevant documentation related to your business registration for your records. This includes any confirmation emails or certificates provided by the state authorities.

To conform with business and professional regulations for restaurants, consider getting in touch with a Miami hospitality attorney from our firm.

2. Certificate of Use (CU)

The Certificate of Use (CU) confirms that your restaurant complies with local regulations and safety standards.

  1. Online Application: Start applying for the Certificate of Use online through the official Miami city government website. Look for the designated section or portal related to business permits and licenses.
  2. Provide Detailed Information: You must furnish detailed information about your restaurant during the application process. This includes location details, size and layout of the establishment, and intended use of the premises, specifically indicating it as a restaurant.
  3. Submission of Application: Once you’ve completed the online application, submit it through the designated portal. Ensure all information provided is accurate and up-to-date to avoid any delays in the processing of your application.
  4. DERM Inspection: After receiving your application, the Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) will schedule an inspection of your restaurant premises. During the inspection, DERM representatives will assess various aspects to ensure compliance with regulatory standards, including building safety and structural integrity, sanitary conditions, compliance with zoning regulations, adequacy of fire safety measures
  5. Address Identified Deficiencies: If any deficiencies or issues are identified during the inspection, promptly address them to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. This may involve repairs, adjustments, or modifications to your restaurant premises per DERM’s recommendations.
  6. Approval Process: Once DERM is satisfied that your restaurant meets all required standards and regulations, they will approve your application for the Certificate of Use. You’ll receive a notification of approval indicating that your restaurant is authorized to operate legally in Miami.

3. Business Tax Receipt (BTR)

The Business Tax Receipt (BTR), also known as an “occupational license”, is a mandatory requirement for operating a business within the city limits of Miami.

  1. Online Application: You can begin by applying for the BTR online through the City of Miami’s official website. Again, look for the section specifically dedicated to business permits and licenses.
  2. Gather Required Documentation: Before initiating the application process, ensure you have all the necessary documentation ready. This typically includes proof of business registration, such as your State of Florida business registration certificate, and identification documents, such as driver’s license or passport
  3. Complete the Application Form: Be prepared to provide details such as your business name, address, type of cuisine, and any additional services offered.
  4. Payment of Fees: The fee amount may vary depending on factors such as the type of business and its size. Ensure timely payment to avoid delays in processing your application.
  5. Submission of Application: Once you’ve completed the online application and made the necessary payment, submit your application through the designated portal. Double-check all information provided to ensure accuracy and completeness.
  6. Processing and Receipt Issuance: Upon submission, your application will be processed by the relevant authorities. Once approved, you will receive your receipt electronically or via mail, depending on the preference indicated during the application process.
  7. Receipt of BTR: Upon receiving your BTR, you are officially authorized to operate your restaurant within the city limits of Miami. Display the BTR prominently at your establishment as proof of compliance with local business regulations.

4. Code Compliance/Fire Inspections

Code compliance and fire inspections are critical to ensuring your patrons’ and staff’s safety and well-being.

  1. Prepare for Inspections: After obtaining your Certificate of Use, it’s time to schedule both code compliance and fire inspections. Visit the Miami city government website to access the online inspection scheduling portal.
  2. Online Scheduling: Use the online scheduling portal to request inspections for code compliance and fire safety. Based on your restaurant’s operating hours and availability, choose a convenient date and time for the inspections.
  3. Pre-Inspection Preparation: Prior to the scheduled inspections, thoroughly prepare your restaurant premises to ensure compliance with all relevant safety codes and regulations. This may include ensuring adequate fire exits, proper placement of fire extinguishers, and adherence to sanitation standards.
  4. Addressing Deficiencies: During the inspections, inspectors may identify deficiencies or issues that require attention. Address any identified deficiencies promptly to bring your restaurant into full compliance with safety regulations.
  5. Post-Inspection Approval: Once your restaurant passes both code compliance and fire inspections, the inspecting authorities will confirm compliance. This confirmation indicates that your restaurant meets all safety standards and is ready to open to the public.

Ready to ensure your restaurant’s legal compliance and success in Miami’s hospitality industry? Trust Reichard Tornes, your experienced legal partner. Our specialized hospitality attorneys offer tailored solutions for your restaurant.

5. Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is essential for establishing your restaurant as an employer and enabling you to put employees on the payroll.

  1. EIN Application: Obtaining an EIN is straightforward and completely free. To apply, visit, where you’ll find the online application form.
  2. Online Application: Fill out the required information on the IRS website’s EIN application form. Provide accurate details about your restaurant, including its legal structure, business activities, and ownership information.
  3. Submission: Once you’ve completed the form, submit it through the IRS website. Upon successful submission, you’ll receive your EIN instantly, allowing you to hire employees and manage payroll.

6. Food Service License

A food service business license is essential for demonstrating that your restaurant safely handles, prepares, and serves food, ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations.

  1. Contact Health Department: Your city or county health department issues the food service license. To initiate the licensing process, contact your local health department directly.
  2. License Application: Obtain your health department’s necessary application forms and documentation requirements. Complete the application accurately, detailing your restaurant’s food handling practices and safety protocols.
  3. Inspections: Once your application is submitted, health department inspectors will conduct inspections of your restaurant to ensure compliance with food safety standards and regulations. Address any identified deficiencies promptly to expedite the licensing process.
  4. Approval: After completing inspections and meeting all regulatory requirements, you’ll receive approval for your food service license. This license demonstrates your restaurant’s commitment to food safety and compliance with health regulations, instilling confidence in customers and authorities.

By obtaining a food service license, you’ll ensure the safety of your patrons and demonstrate your restaurant’s dedication to maintaining high standards of food handling and hygiene. 

7. Food Safety and Sanitation

Florida Health has a requirement that you must provide annual training for employees who are involved in the storage, preparation, or serving of food, or cleaning of equipment, utensils, or food contact and non-food contact surfaces.

In addition, as a “food manager”, you as the business owner must hold an up-to-date food manager certification. You’ll find approved providers of this at the Florida Health site.

8. Sign Permit

A sign permit is necessary for any alterations or installations of signage outside the restaurant premises. This permit verifies that the signage adheres to county regulations concerning factors like size, positioning, brightness, and other specifications. 

Each County has its own department that regulates this requirement. For example, Miami restauranteurs should consult with the Miami Dade sign permits information

9. Certificate of Occupancy

Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy is essential for brick-and-mortar counter service restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes. This document confirms that the building has undergone a final inspection and meets safety standards, allowing for lawful operation. 

  1. Schedule Inspection: Contact the local building or zoning department to schedule an inspection for the Certificate of Occupancy.
  2. Prepare Premises: Ensure that your restaurant premises comply with all safety standards and regulations before the scheduled inspection.
  3. Undergo Inspection: Allow inspectors from the building or zoning department to thoroughly inspect your premises to verify compliance.
  4. Address Deficiencies: Address any deficiencies or issues identified during the inspection promptly to ensure compliance with regulations.
  5. Receive Certificate: Once the inspection is successfully completed and all requirements are met, you will receive the Certificate of Occupancy, allowing for the lawful operation of your restaurant.

Additional reading: restaurant lease agreement guide

The Value of Skilled Legal Counsel for Obtaining Restaurant Licenses and Permits in Miami

Having to work through the ins and outs of obtaining licenses and permits for restaurants in Miami can present formidable challenges. Here’s why partnering with a Florida hospitality attorney from our firm can significantly enhance your chances of success:

  1. Legal Expertise: We specialize in business and hospitality law, possessing in-depth knowledge of the legal requirements and regulations governing restaurant operations in Miami. We can provide valuable insights into the specific paperwork your restaurant needs to operate legally.
  2. Customized Guidance: Every restaurant is unique, with its requirements and challenges. We can offer personalized guidance tailored to your restaurant’s needs and circumstances. Whether opening a small café or a large-scale eatery, we can help you navigate the licensing process effectively.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: Staying compliant with local, state, and federal regulations is crucial for avoiding legal pitfalls and potential penalties. We ensure that your restaurant obtains all the necessary licenses and permits, helping you maintain compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
  4. Streamlined Process: Obtaining restaurant documents involves navigating bureaucratic procedures and paperwork. We streamline the process by handling paperwork, submitting applications, and coordinating with regulatory agencies on your behalf. This frees up your time to focus on other aspects of your restaurant business.
  5. Legal Protection: We can provide essential legal protection in legal disputes or challenges related to licensing and permits, representing your interests, negotiating with regulatory authorities, and advocating on your behalf to resolve any issues.
  6. Peace of Mind: With us guiding you through the process, know that your restaurant documents are in good hands. We will work diligently to meet all legal requirements, allowing you to focus on successfully launching and running your restaurant.

If you need assistance on what’s required to open a restaurant in the Magic City, contact us today to take the next step.