A checklist of essential permits and approvals for opening a new or franchised Restaurant or Café

Essential Permits & Approvals for opening a new or franchised Restaurant, Cafe or other hospitality business - Picture of the interior of a restaurant with tables and seats, and plates and cutlery laid out on tables.

Are you planning to open a Restaurant or Cafe in Melbourne or Victoria? Congratulations on your exciting venture! 

To help you get started, we’ve put together a checklist of essential permits and approvals you’ll likely need before you can start serving customers. Keep in mind that specific requirements may vary based on your location and the nature of your hospitality business.

**The below content is not planning advice**

8 permits and approvals that may be be required when opening a new Restaurant or Cafe in Melbourne or Victoria:

1. Planning Permit

You should begin by contacting your local Council or a Town Planning consultant to see whether you need to obtain a planning permit. If a planning permit is required from your local Council, you will need to receive this prior to operating. Possible permit triggers for a restaurant or cafe (commonly referred to as a ‘food and drink premises’) include:

  • Use and/or development of land based on the zoning and any overlays that cover the property.
  • Car parking reduction if you can’t provide all of your required car spaces on site.
  • Business identification signage and other types of signage.
  • Serving of liquor and the need for a red line plan.

Depending on the proposal and permit triggers, technical reports may be required such as traffic reports, acoustic reports, waste management plans, etc.

2. Building Permit

If your plans involve structural changes or renovations, securing a Building Permit is crucial. This permit ensures that your restaurant meets construction and safety standards. This is done through a private Building Surveyor, however some local Council’s still offer the service too.

3. Food Act Registration

To operate a food business, including franchise restaurants, you must register with the local Council. Compliance with food safety and hygiene regulations is a must. 

4. Liquor License

If your restaurant intends to serve alcohol, obtaining a liquor license is necessary. The type of license required may vary based on the extent of your alcohol service.

5. Outdoor Dining Permit

If you plan to offer outdoor seating for your restaurant, you’ll need to secure an outdoor dining permit. These permits often have specific requirements that vary by council, focusing on safety and compliance.

6. Occupancy Permit

Before opening for business, ensure that your restaurant or cafe complies with Building Regulations for public safety. An occupancy permit may be required.

7. Music License

If your franchise restaurant will play music, you may need to obtain the necessary music license. The type of licensing depends on the music’s nature and your establishment’s size.

Both your local Council and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Victoria can provide advice on music and noise requirements.

8. Health and Safety Compliance

Your restaurant will need to adhere to health and safety regulations, including fire safety and accessibility, as well as maintain workplace safety standards.

WorkSafe Victoria can provide advice on health and safety protocols within the workplace.

Whether you’re opening an independent restaurant or you have licensed a new franchise location, this checklist is a helpful starting point. 

A Planning Consultant can help you prepare a permit application for your restaurant.

Navigating the permit and approval process can be complex, and it’s crucial to ensure that your business complies with all relevant regulations. 

We strongly recommend seeking support from a qualified Planning Consultant like AS Planning who can provide expert guidance, help you with the application process, and ensure a smooth opening for your restaurant, franchise or cafe. Their expertise can save you time and ensure a successful launch. Contact us today

Remember, early engagement with your local Council is key to a successful start. Each step in this checklist brings you one step closer to realising your dream of running a restaurant. Best of luck with your new business venture!