What are the Permits You Need to Start a Cafe in Chennai?

Last Updated at: Jul 06, 2021
Cafe in Chennai
Food safety regulator FSSAI has recently proposed a ban on plant-based  milks from using the label “milk” to differentiate such products from animal-based milk.  That has not gone down well with the makers of soy, almond, and coconut milks, etc. They argue that these are healthy alternatives that have always used this labelling.


Chennai is one of the premier jewels in India. Situated in the southern regions of India, it is located on the Coromandel coast which extends from the Bay of Bengal to the end corners of southern India. What makes Chennai such a brilliant jewel amongst Indian cities are several things, of which culture is the central theme. If you are planning to start with your cafe in Chennai, this article is a must-read to know the compliances it requires.

Know About Chennai

Chennai, also known as Madras, is very popular for its local cafes serving the famous filter coffee which the local populace calls Kaapi ( coffee with a twist of the local accent). While the culture of the cafe in Chennai I very popular in and around the city, it truly stands out with its vintage culture amalgamated with modern ways of living. Around the city you will find several ancient Hindu temples, built in ancient India –  these temples are a hub attracting tourists and worshippers from across the world. The temples are the best living examples of ancient Dravidian architecture.

But Chennai is not just famous for these temples, it is also a buzzing hub of the southern film industry, often touted as Tollywood. With a massive fan following, every new movie release has often seen complete cinemas being booked out by fans. You cannot truly enjoy southern culture without embracing the generation-defining movie industry which is celebrated and enjoyed throughout the country.

While these are not the only defining features of Chennai, to top it off, Chennai is also one of the largest IT hubs in Asia. The city, Chennai is seen as the Silicon Valley of Asia and is often even called ‘Detroit of India’. Moreover, Chennai has an IT hub that sprawls across the city and houses some of the most prestigious multinational companies and their offices.

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Chennai Café Culture

All the music, arts, drama, movies, and tourist attractions would be incomplete without food. Moreover, food is seen by many as the culture-defining element and that is surely the case with Chennai, its local café culture, and the popular South Indian dishes.

South India, and especially Chennai, is famous for its robust and flavourful dishes such as Idli Sambar for breakfast and dinner. The dosa and Uttapam are also popular dishes that are healthy and delicious at the same time. South Indian cuisine heavily depends on rice and coconut which is why most dishes and food have rice and coconut as its main ingredients.

Foods You Enjoy In Chennai

Chennai is also popular for the famous filter coffee. It uses boiled, frothed milk and a deep concoction of coffee. It gets the rich and aromatic flavour through the mix of coffee, chicory, and milk along with sugar.

All these foods are the constituents of a staple morning breakfast in Chennai. At the local joint, they serve Dosa, Idli Sambar, or Uttapam and filter coffee in the morning.

With friends and family, enjoy all these foods, sitting in a busy and bustling cafe in Chennai. It emancipates your senses with all the aroma and visual decadence. Chennai folks find this thoroughfare soothing embedding the café culture strongly embedded in the city.

With the deeply ingrained café culture, Chennai makes it easy for entrepreneurs to start up a coffee business and cafes.

You too can start up your café or coffee business, but first, let’s have a look at the legal regulations you will need to follow.

  1. FSSAI Certificate

    You need an FSSAI Certificate which will allow you to legally serve food. FSSAI Certificate is a Food and Safety License made mandatory by the Government of India.

  2. GST License

    With its unified tax system, every business in India now requires a GST License. You too will require upon starting your café.

  3. Professional Tax Registration

    Starting a café would be incomplete without employees and workers. Professional Tax registration will allow you to employ workers but you pay a professional tax for it.

  4. Business Registration & Trade License

    Legally register your business with Chennai’s Trade and Commerce Association.

  5. Shops and Establishments Certificate

    Before you set up a shop, you need permission to open a shop and employ workers. Get this done by registering for a Shops and Establishments Certificate.

  6. Liquor License

    Liquor and alcoholic drinks must be regulated as they are only for adult consumption. If you will be serving alcohol at your café then a Liquor License is a must.

  7. Eating House License

    Your café will function as an eatery. Therefore, it will need to meet certain safety regulations and health standards. Getting an Eating House License should be your top priority. This ensures a safe and lovely environment for your cafes’ customers.


Before starting your café, don’t forget to plan and build your coffee shop business plan. This will help you in becoming successful at running your new cafe business.