If you are considering opening up a restaurant in Los Angeles, congratulations. I’m a major foodie and love restaurant’s. (I like French and Italian!) So, I’m always very stoked when I see a new one open up in town.
The problem is that if you’ve never done it before, (or even if you have) the permit process can be very confusing, time-consuming and all together ridiculously labyrinthal to figure out. This LA Times article about City of Los Angeles permit problems with the process is a good example.
To open up a restaurant in Los Angeles, you need to be aware of all the different agencies, sign-off’s, requirements and more so for those of you who have done this, please tweet this article or like it on facebook for me.
Top Ten Los Angeles Permit Tips For Getting Restaurants Approved.
- If you are remodeling the place, get your Health approvals from the County and get your building permit from the city. (Phew!)
- If you are going to serve alcohol, you need to get two (2) permits. One from the State ABC Licensing Board and the other from the City. A conditional use permit. They are separate approvals from your remodeling permit and the ABC depends on the CUP.
- If you are dealing with grease, you’ll need to make sure the owner installed a grease trap interceptor. If not, one will have to be put in, and you’ll need to make sure your lease clearly states who pays for such upgrades.
- If you want outdoor seating, you need a permit from the Department of Engineering.
- If you don’t have ADA access to your restrooms, you may need to bring the space into compliance. This is a sign-off and not a separate permit in the City of Los Angeles
- Remember that all of these agencies are located in other areas of the city and you will need to plan accordingly and schedule time to drive to the locations and go through the process.
- The City and County of Los Angeles have experienced huge staff reductions and limited hours due to the City budget crisis. Make sure you allow for additional processing time for your applications, allow for scheduling delays for appointments and allow for limited hours for staff.
- If you are changing from a retail store to a restaurant you must apply for a change of use permit, not to be confused with a conditional use permit. They’re different, but sound the same. The first one is easier than the second one.
- If you do have to get a change of use permit, then you must show that you have adequate parking available, which means you must show it on your plans.
- Remember that City and County employees work hard just like you do. They care about their community and what goes into the area. Tell them the details about your project and ask about them as well. Build relationships with them because they may be your first customers.