A complete guide to starting a restaurant in India

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A complete guide to starting a restaurant in India - FSSAI Registration


The word restaurateur may sound fancy but it is not as easy as it may appear. Anyone can start and manage a restaurant whether it is a person with a 9 to 5 job, a chef, a celebrity, a retiree, etc., But before rushing to success, just like any other normal business there are important things required like hiring the right employees, finalizing the type of restaurant and location, assessing the opportunities, planning of marketing activities and more. Also one needs to ensure whether the legal documents and licenses are in place.

Here is a complete guide on starting a restaurant in India.

Step 1: Analyse the diverse restaurant industry

With the changing food habits and the increased number of people interested in gastronomy, it is key to understand the type of food joints like resto bars, cafes, themed restaurants, takeaway joints, etc. Once the type and the concept is finalized, it is important to calculate the average price per customer which means the amount a customer would spend on the restaurant.


Step 2: Calculate the funding and operational expenses

Better planning always leads to favourable outcomes. A well-crafted business plan mentioning the prospects of the business, financial aspects which include a detailed report of the expenses in equipment, advertisement, interiors, overheads like electricity, workforce, gas and more.


Step 3: Get the required licenses

In India, the mandatory food license to be obtained is from the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). The license is a unique 14-digit number that ensures the food conforms to the safety standards.

Liquor license

If the restaurant serves both liquor and food, then a liquor license has to be obtained from the state’s local excise commission. It can be downloaded directly from government websites. The sale of alcohol inside the restaurant without legal permit is an offence and the owner is liable to a hefty penalty and the business may also be forced to shut down permanently.

Eating house license

This license can be procured from the Licensing Police Commissioner of the particular city where the restaurant is being opened.

Health/Trade license:

Keeping in mind the well-being of the public, the Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 mandated the Health Trade license for all eateries alike. This has to be issued by the respective state’s Municipal Corporation.

Shop & Establishment Act:

As per the law, all commercial establishments including eatery joints, food trucks and all other types of restaurants have to get the Shop & establishment act within one month of registering the business. This act regulates all the working conditions of the employees like work timings, leave policy, recruitment of children and so on.

By hiring a legal expert, availing all these licenses is not a hassle.

GST registration:

Ever since the GST was introduced to avoid double taxation, a lot of changes are taking place. Hence, it is important for the owners to keep a tab on the new rules for restaurants and their implications.

Certificate of Environmental clearance

A restaurant is legally obliged to ensure its operations are not causing a hazard to nature and environment and is required to get the Certificate of Environmental Clearance from the government.


Step 4: Recruit the right manpower:

Employees are the strength of any business and hiring the right people is one of the biggest challenges. Depending on the type of the restaurant, the workforce has to be a balance of people at all levels, executives, chefs, waiters, stewards and so on. It is also essential to decide whether they would be in permanent or contractual positions and all legal agreement documents have to be drafted well.


Step 5: Design the food menu

Although there might be a fair idea on the type of cuisine, a smart menu can create a significant impact. While ideating new dishes, the cost, sourcing of the ingredients and other raw materials, the expertise of the selected chefs all should be kept in mind.


Step 6: Explore new tech trends

One of the most ignored aspects of the restaurant business is technology. The innovation of technology has been tremendous in the food space ranging from mobile apps, ghost restaurants, artificial intelligence to robot kitchens and the list is endless. A bit of research on how to use the latest innovations in streamlining the restaurant operations to add a personal touch to the customers can help a way more in branding and popularity.


Step 7: Advertising and marketing

To get a name in the market applying an effective advertising and marketing startegy is needed. One of the traditional methods that still garners a lot of attention is the distribution of pamphlets in newspapers mentioning about discounts and coupons and other offers. Having a dedicated website and social media channels increase the popularity and credibility of the restaurant and reaching out to food bloggers for influencer marketing is another potential way.

Want to know about FSSAI completely? Read this article: A complete guide of FSSAI online registration in India.

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