How to Start a Restaurant in North Carolina

by Devra Gartenstein; Updated September 26, 2017
Cover all of your bases before opening the doors of your restaurant.

In order to start a restaurant in North Carolina, you will need to complete all of the general state and local licensing requirements for North Carolina businesses as well as the specific licensing requirements applicable to the restaurant industry. In addition, you will need to register your business with federal agencies as an employer. Be sure to complete all necessary paperwork before you open your doors in order to avoid expensive penalties and closures.

Items you will need

  • State business license
  • Local business license
  • Health department application
Step 1

Register your restaurant business name with your county's register of deeds if it will be a sole proprietorship or partnership. If it will be a limited liability corporation, S corporation or C corporation, register its name with the North Carolina Secretary of State Office. Also register as a business entity with the North Carolina Department of Revenue in order to receive quarterly sales tax reporting forms. Also set up as employer account with the state's industrial insurance and employment insurance agencies. Contact the Internal Revenue Service in order to open an employer account and to receive an employer identification number. Contact you city or locality's revenue department and file for a local business license.

Step 2

Contact your local health department and ask for details about rules and regulations for opening and operating a restaurant in your North Carolina county. Design your restaurant kitchen, so it complies with local codes. Fill out an application for a food service plan review and submit it to your local health department, along with a professional drawing of your restaurant kitchen. There may be a fee of up to $200 for the plan review.

Step 3

Construct your restaurant kitchen according to the plan your local health department has approved, and schedule a pre-opening inspection once it is complete. Upon completion of this inspection, your local health department will issue you a license to operate. Display this permit where it is visible to customers.

Step 4

Design restaurant systems that comply with local health codes. Develop protocols for cleanliness and sanitation and for cooling and heating food quickly to safe temperatures. Create guidelines for safe storage of materials and conscientious rotation of stock.

About the Author

Devra Gartenstein is an omnivore who has published several vegan cookbooks. She has owned and run small food businesses for 30 years.

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