Other Considerations

Music License

If your business plays copyrighted music without a license (whether you have live music, "music-on-hold" for your phone or play copyrighted CDs in your restaurant), you may be subject to a significant fine. Fees for these licenses are collected by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Broadcast Music, Inc. and SESAC Inc.

Note: If your restaurant will be featuring entertainment on an ongoing basis, you may need to obtain a Minor Use Permit. Check with the Planning & Economic Development Department.


Other Considerations

  • Certain restaurants such as brewpubs will need to pay the alcoholic beverage tax, which is a state per-gallon excise tax.
  • Before opening an alcoholic beverage business, an ABC applicant should contact the nearest office of the United States Treasury Department, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. If a Federal basic permit or a special Occupational Tax Stamp is required, it should be applied for by and issued to the same persons applying for an ABC license and at the same address.
  • Consider garbage pickup when researching restaurant sites. Restaurants produce a lot of garbage. Is there a place for a dumpster nearby? Or can you share with other local businesses?
  • You must have a certain amount of bathroom stalls per restaurant seats and all must be ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant. If all you have is a one-seater, is there enough room to add more bathrooms?
  • Restaurant kitchens produce a lot of smoke, grease and odors. Therefore, ventilation is necessary, not only to keep the dining room free of smoke but to maintain the kitchen as a healthy work environment. Finding outdoor ventilation can sometimes be a problem in older downtown buildings.
  • Check to see what the parking (see Table 3-4) and loading space (see Table 3-8) requirements are for your restaurant site. (Keep in mind that new ordinances such as Ordinance 3944 may affect these requirements as well.) Also, make sure that there aren't any impending zoning changes that will affect your potential restaurant site.
  • Make sure that you are in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. (For example, a new FDA regulation is pending that requires chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie content on their menus).