Starter Kit for

Restaurant/Catering Businesses

If you're thinking about setting up a business as a building contractor, start here for a checklist of items to consider and permits that you may need to obtain to get your business off the ground. Please note that this guide does not substitute for legal or professional advice, and additional permits may be required depending on the circumstances of your business.

Requirements for Restaurant/Catering Businesses

The Restaurant Checklist covers key items that you may consider when starting your business. Getting a restaurant off the ground can be complex and there are numerous government agencies that you may need to interact with to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of yourself, your team, and your customers. Get a head start on the planning process by knowing upfront what to expect so you don't run into surprises that may delay your grand opening.

Required

  • Contact your local health department: Local health departments are community-based public health service providers and the front-line forces responsible for essential public health services that protect the health of New Jersey's residents. The local health department will need to approve the floor plan of the business and will make an initial and regular follow up inspections. In New Jersey, every municipality is required to be served by a local health department that meets the requirements of state public health laws and regulations. The local health departments listed in this directory  are recognized by the New Jersey Department of Health as the provider of public health services for those municipalities within their jurisdiction.
  • Food Safety Checklist: The New Jersey Department of Health oversees food safety and its website offers a checklist to help businesses maintain food safety.

Recommended

  • Food Safety Certification: It is recommended that food managers receive Manager Food Safety Training & Certification. A fee based provider is listed below.
  • ServSafe
  • Will you serve liquor? Each municipality is allowed to issue a number of liquor licenses based on their population. The first step in purchasing a liquor license is to contact your Municipal Clerk or to purchase a license from an existing license holder. The purchaser also must meet the requirements of the New Jersey Alcohol Beverage Control Act.  For more information you can visit https://www.nj.gov/oag/abc/abc-hb-eng-esp.html and download the ABC Handbook.  
Download Checklist

If you're planning to rent a commercial office space, make sure the property you’re interested in has the right zoning for a restaurant by looking on ZIMAS. Also look to see if there are any overlay zones or other special planning zones – these may suggest additional restrictions above and beyond the zoning requirements.

  • Are you planning to operate out of your home? Take into account City zoning requirementsfor working out of your home, as there are regulations around the number of deliveries and clients you may have per day to limit the impact of your business activity on your neighbors. You may also not park commercial vehicles at your home or use mechanized equipment that wouldn't normally be used in a residential setting.

  • Review your lease closely before signing it. Keep in mind that commercial leases are very different from residential leases. You may also consider hiring a lawyer to help you review and negotiate your lease.

If you are planning to store or rent out equipment, you may need to find a property located in a manufacturing zone. Visit one of the City’s Development Services Centers or call (213) 482-7077 to connect with city staff who can help you review the zoning and physical requirements of your business.

If you're planning to rent a commercial office space, make sure the property you’re interested in has the right zoning for a restaurant by looking on ZIMAS. Also look to see if there are any overlay zones or other special planning zones – these may suggest additional restrictions above and beyond the zoning requirements.

If you are planning to store or rent out equipment, you may need to find a property located in a manufacturing zone. Visit one of the City’s Development Services Centers or call (213) 482-7077 to connect with city staff who can help you review the zoning and physical requirements of your business.

If you're planning to rent a commercial office space, make sure the property you’re interested in has the right zoning for a restaurant by looking on ZIMAS. Also look to see if there are any overlay zones or other special planning zones – these may suggest additional restrictions above and beyond the zoning requirements.

If you are planning to store or rent out equipment, you may need to find a property located in a manufacturing zone. Visit one of the City’s Development Services Centers or call (213) 482-7077 to connect with city staff who can help you review the zoning and physical requirements of your business.

If you're planning to rent a commercial office space, make sure the property you’re interested in has the right zoning for a restaurant by looking on ZIMAS. Also look to see if there are any overlay zones or other special planning zones – these may suggest additional restrictions above and beyond the zoning requirements.

If you are planning to store or rent out equipment, you may need to find a property located in a manufacturing zone. Visit one of the City’s Development Services Centers or call (213) 482-7077 to connect with city staff who can help you review the zoning and physical requirements of your business.

If you're planning to rent a commercial office space, make sure the property you’re interested in has the right zoning for a restaurant by looking on ZIMAS. Also look to see if there are any overlay zones or other special planning zones – these may suggest additional restrictions above and beyond the zoning requirements.

If you are planning to store or rent out equipment, you may need to find a property located in a manufacturing zone. Visit one of the City’s Development Services Centers or call (213) 482-7077 to connect with city staff who can help you review the zoning and physical requirements of your business.

If you're planning to rent a commercial office space, make sure the property you’re interested in has the right zoning for a restaurant by looking on ZIMAS. Also look to see if there are any overlay zones or other special planning zones – these may suggest additional restrictions above and beyond the zoning requirements.

If you are planning to store or rent out equipment, you may need to find a property located in a manufacturing zone. Visit one of the City’s Development Services Centers or call (213) 482-7077 to connect with city staff who can help you review the zoning and physical requirements of your business.