Find out about permits and licenses to open a restaurant


Don’t you know which legal procedures you have to follow to open your first restaurant? We have prepared this article to tell you about them without falling into technical endings that make the reading tedious.

If you want to start a business in the gastronomic sector, you should know that there are a number of legal formalities that you need to collect. Although it is usually a long and exhausting process, it is strictly necessary to exercise any business activity in Spain.

Complying with all the permits and licenses to open a restaurant is the first step to the success of your business. Let’s get started!

What are the permits and licenses to open a restaurant?

Opening a restaurant, bar or cafeteria is a challenge that undoubtedly requires great initial efforts. Especially, because there are several legal processes to go through first.

To give you an idea about it, in the following lines we will talk about the documents to open a restaurant.

Registration of the business or company

The first legal step you must take is to get your company’s papers in order. To do this, you will need to register your hospitality business with your local municipal administration as soon as possible.

Subsequently, you will need to apply for the activity license. In case you need to do some structural remodeling on your premises, you will need to apply for the building permit.

Once you have completed these formalities, the next step is to register your restaurant with the Department of Industry. In this way, it will be legally recognized as an establishment dedicated to the gastronomic sector.

Tax declaration

The tax return is also one of the most important legal aspects for a restaurant to keep up to date. It is advisable to pay the taxes before starting the operations of the establishment, all with the purpose of entering the Financial Reporting Standard.

Then, make the registration in the “Declaraci├│n de Alta de Inicio de Actividad” and later make the VAT and tax payments. Keep in mind that these aspects must be fully complied with before taking the next legal steps.

It should be noted that, the payment of taxes in Spain is a tough process. This is because municipal and national payments are made according to the amount of income, or the growth of the gastronomic establishment.

Special certifications

There are other formalities for opening a restaurant that are somewhat delicate. For example, food handling requires a specific sanitary authorization that even the restaurant workers must have in force


It is also necessary to prove that your business does not generate a negative impact on the planet, either by solid or noise pollution. For that you will have to submit an environmental impact report to the municipal authorities.

Other permits and licenses to open a restaurant are:

  • Fire protection measures.
  • Sanitary safety.
  • Emergency exits.
  • First aid kit or application of safety protocols.

A report must also be submitted certifying that the restaurant is not exposed to hazards or threats to employees, diners and neighbors.

Social Security

It is essential to initiate the civil liability registrations to start hiring the personnel that will work in the restaurant, then:

  • The restaurateur has to enter the Special Regime of Self-employed.
  • Then, to register in an accident insurance
  • And, finally in the discharge of work center.

At the time of reporting to the corresponding governmental agencies, it will also be necessary to carry a work schedule and risk assessments. This in addition to prevention strategies against possible risks in the work area.

Restaurant opening license

When you have completed and checked all the registrations, certifications and tax payments previously exposed, it is time to apply for the license to open your restaurant business.

This is a certification, which guarantees that the authorities confirm that your establishment complies with all the requirements imposed by law. And even, that your operations will not be a problem for the neighbors.

Remember that depending on the locality, the type of restaurant and the kind of food you offer, the requirements are imposed and others are more specific.

Recommendations at the time of collecting licenses for a restaurant opening

Collecting the necessary licenses for a restaurant is a time-consuming process. If you want to make this journey simpler check out the following recommendations:

Don’t stress

First of all, we must tell you not to stress!

Remember that this is a cumbersome but necessary process to take your first steps as an entrepreneur. Do it calmly and dedicate as much time as necessary to complete all the paperwork.

Seek advice from professionals

In the best case, let yourself be advised by professionals in the sector. They will guide you on this path so that everything goes correctly, and even, so that you do not forget any of the procedures to open your restaurant.

Pay attention to the materials and furnishings

Now, have you finished the permitting and licensing process?

There are still things you need to pay attention to.

Once you have finished with the legal licenses, it is time to choose the materials that meet the sanitary parameters. These according to the requirements established by the current law.

It will also be opportune that you let yourself be advised on which are the characteristics that must have the furniture of your restaurant. It is necessary that you make sure that your equipment and machinery fulfill their function and respect the laws in force.

Final conclusions

To avoid leaving anything to chance and to take care of every last detail, try to have professional help to guide and instruct you with the various legal processes, from institutional procedures to the various requirements of machinery, finishes and conditioning.

Finally, if you wish to obtain more information about permits and licenses to open a restaurant in your area, go to the nearest AEAT office. Also, you can choose to ask for legal advice regarding the subject.


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