There's more to opening a coffee shop than selecting comfortable chairs and the perfect brew. Before you open your doors, you must acquire the appropriate permits, licensing and insurance to legally operate. In Oregon, the health department is responsible for overseeing the licensing and inspection of coffee shops and food service businesses. If you're considering opening a coffee shop, make sure to follow all rules and regulations..

Business License

Before you can begin doing business in the state of Oregon, you must obtain a business license. If you plan to operate as a limited liability company or corporation, you must register with the Secretary of State. If you're operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you are only required to file for an Assumed Business Name certificate. At the time of publication, the fee for filing an assumed name is $50. The fee to register a corporation or limited liability company is $100. Assumed named certificates are good for two years, while business licenses must be renewed annually.

Food Service License

In addition to a business license, you must apply for a food service license, which requires two basic steps. First, you must obtain a plan review from your local health department. Provide the health department with a copy of your proposed menu and a detailed floor plan of your coffee shop that illustrates the location of your electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems. Once your plan is approved, you may apply for a separate food service license. The amount of the licensing fee is based on the number of guests your coffee shop will seat. Both you and your employees must also successfully obtain a food handler certification from the department of health.

Tax Identification Numbers

All businesses in Oregon with employees must register for state and federal tax identification numbers. You can obtain a federal employer identification number by visiting the IRS website. State tax identification numbers can be obtained by contacting the Oregon Department of Revenue. You may use your state tax identification number to report and pay all payroll taxes, including withholding tax, unemployment tax, the Oregon Workers Benefit Fund, and TriMet Transit Tax and Lane Transit Tax, if applicable. There is no fee for obtaining tax identification numbers.


Before opening your coffee shop, Oregon law requires you to purchase a worker's compensation insurance policy through a certified agent authorized to do business in the state. You must also register with the Oregon Employment Department to make unemployment insurance payments. Additionally, you will need to purchase liability insurance for yourself and your employees, as well as a policy covering damage to your business structure and its contents.