Converting a commercial space into a restaurant is complicated. Even before you get enmeshed in the construction and maintenance process, you have to get your approvals and paperwork in order. Then you can get to the fun stuff like choosing your griddle, menu, and other specifics of making your restaurant come to life! If you’re curious about what goes into the regulatory and conversion process, here are four important organizations to start with:
1. The Department of Buildings
Most major cities and suburbs have a local department of buildings or a building inspections division. Each locality has different requirements for new businesses that want to open, even in existing spaces. Converting a non-food commercial space into a restaurant is even trickier. This department keeps buildings safe from disasters such as fires by requiring different preventative equipment and systems.
2. The Department of Health
If you’re not new to the commercial food world (or the business world in general), you’re probably familiar with local, state, or national departments of health. These organizations set tight requirements for food safety, sanitation standards, and more. They decide if your restaurant has to post its health rating (like in New York City), the exact specifications for your culinary practices, and what sanitation standards your restaurant has to meet. Choosing the right cooking equipment with reliable cook times is one of the best ways to stay compliant.
3. The Department of Zoning
Before construction or reconstruction even gets underway, a department of zoning has to permit you to convert the space. Different areas of any locality are zoned for commercial, residential, and municipal use. Commercial zones are even divided into different categories based on what you plan to serve, the surrounding businesses, and dozens of other factors.
4. Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
Just like the name implies, this organization will inspect your restaurant. It provides Retail Food Establishment licenses that allow you to legally sell food on the premises and liquor licenses that let you sell and serve alcohol within strict limitations.
You have to tangle with most of these organizations during the normal course of business. Good equipment, good training procedures, and well-organized kitchens can help you stay in good standing. Browse our griddle selections and specs to find the cooking tools that can help your restaurant succeed.