Opening a restaurant in Pennsylvania requires careful planning. You should write a carefully thought-out business plan that details how you will operate and be successful. You should also survey your local market to see if there is demand for the type of restaurant you plan to open. You will also need financing. Once you have determined that you can be successful, there are a number of steps to take to open your restaurant.
Register your business with the Pennsylvania Department of State's Corporation Bureau. If you have a sole proprietorship, file the fictitious name registration form. Limited partnerships must file a certificate of limited partnership. Limited liability companies and corporations should file articles of incorporation and a docketing statement.
File Form PA-100 with the Pennsylvania department of revenue to set up your sales tax account. This form also registers you for employee withholding tax, franchise tax and workers' compensation coverage. You also need to file for an employer identification number with the IRS. This can be done by filing Form SS-4 online at the IRS website.
Lease a space zoned for commercial use. Try to acquire a rental that is already outfitted with a restaurant kitchen. If it does not have a kitchen, you will have to have one built, which can cost a significant amount of money. Contact a commercial real estate agent to help you find available leases.
Furnish and decorate the inside of your restaurant. You will need commercial kitchen equipment, serving trays, tables, chairs, menus, glassware, utensils and plates. It is best to purchase these items from a specialty restaurant supplier.
Contact your local department of health to set up an inspection. You need to be approved and receive a retail food facility license before you can operate your restaurant. You will be subject to periodic health inspections after that. Check with your local Department of Health for specific requirements.
Hire the necessary employees and file new-hire paperwork with the Pennsylvania department of labor and industry. Post the required notices in your restaurant, which include the minimum wage law fact sheet, abstract of equal pay, workers' compensation information and no smoking signs. Additional signage may be required by your local department of health.
Market your restaurant aggressively. Have grand opening festivities to attract customers. Advertise in local publications and online. Install a large sign on your building to help bring in foot traffic. Invite local food critics and hotel concierge to come in and sample your restaurant.