Opening a Restaurant in San Diego

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit, love the restaurant lifestyle, and want to combine the two? If you are in the San Diego area, you might wonder how to open a restaurant

What to Expect When Opening a Restaurant in San Diego

Aside from that huge rush when you first open the doors to your restaurant, there are a few things you should expect when you open a San Diego restaurant. To ensure your first day is successful, you need to start from the ground up. A solid business plan, the right licensing, and training your employees who share your passion can help keep your restaurant relevant, friendly, and inviting. This includes teaching your employees the proper hygiene and health requirements as dictated by your local health depart. In fact, you will need to pass an initial health inspection before your first customer can even arrive. (You will likely have to pass many more as San Diego has ongoing requirements for continued inspections throughout the lifespan of your restaurant.)

What Permits Do You Need to Open a Restaurant?

There are several permits you need in order to open a restaurant.

  • City building permits are required if you are planning on tenant improvements.  The City of San Diego defines Tenant Improvements as nonstructural interior alterations to an existing commercial or industrial space.  
  • If you are doing light work in the space you may qualify for No-Plan Permits.  A no-plan permit is for work that does not need construction plans to be reviewed by the City before construction. By using SimplEpermits, you can request a plumbing and gas, electrical, or mechanical no-plan permit. Work covered by these permits includes water heater or furnace replacement, moving or adding a natural gas line, or adding or moving electric sockets.
  • Everything involving food will need County of San Diego Environmental Health Food Facility permits.  Depending on your scope you can read about Food Facility Plan Check requirements here.
  • If you are going to serve alcohol, you will need both a Conditional Use Permit from the City and State Alcoholic Beverage (ABC) permits and licenses.
  • Sellers’ permits are also required in the state of California for all restaurants.
  • If you will have employees, you much also apply for workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Food safety certifications will also be required.
  • Food handler certifications will need to be obtained for any employee who will prepare, store or serve food.
  • A music license will also need to be attained if you plan on playing recorded music in your facility.
  • Certain areas or property owners will require you to get a sign permit as well.

How Permit Place Can Help

Permit Place can help you obtain all permits and licenses required to open a restaurant in San Diego. We thoroughly investigate what your locality requires for restaurants to legally operate within their borders. In addition to this, we file all paperwork and stay on top of the status of each of these required permits and licenses. This allows you to focus on other aspects of how to open a restaurant in San Diego.

If you are interested in learning more about how Permit Place can help a business obtain all the permits and licenses they need to operate, contact us today.


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