Reading time: 4 minutes

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and are buying a restaurant. Congratulations! But the reality is that buying and setting up a restaurant is not always a simple task. Without a comprehensive understanding of the legal issues when buying a restaurant, it can be a costly exercise and one that ultimately ends up as a failed business venture. As a restaurant owner, you will mostly likely be involved in tasks such as designing a menu, choosing the décor, hiring and training staff, managing financial accounts and ensuring a high standard of customer service. But what are the legal issues you must account for when buying a restaurant? At the end of the day, you are running a business, which warrants certain legal requirements that must be met.

Licensing, Qualifications and Permits

It is important that you ensure you have obtained the appropriate business licensing requirements within the state you wish to buy your restaurant.

Food Business License

Firstly, you must get the correct business license from your local council. Depending on the category your food business falls into (E.g. Restaurant, Hotel, Bakery etc.) different rules and regulations apply. Each state dictates their own food business classifications so it is advised that you visit the appropriate website provided below to check which classifications apply to your restaurant:

Remember, each council implements different licence costs and processing times so it is best you check with your local council when applying.

Food, Health and Safety Regulations

Under the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSANZ) and Food Act 2003 (NSW), restaurant businesses must satisfy the food and safety regulations. For instance, a common storage requirement for restaurants is storing meat products like beef and chicken in a cold chamber storing unit. You must ensure that you meet these food, health and safety regulations in operating your restaurant.

Food Safety Supervision

It is also a legal requirement in many Australian states, namely NSW, VIC, ACT, SA and QLD, to have a Food Safety Supervisor available at all times. A Food Safety Supervisor is an individual who has the required training, qualification and registration to operate the restaurant. Such an individual could either be a current employee or an external contractor and is responsible for compliance with all food safety regulations during the operation of your restaurant.

Through the Registered Training Organisation (RTO), the Food Safety Supervisor must complete the online or classroom training provided. The training program must be specific to the restaurant business you are in (Retail & Hospitality, Food Processing, Transport & Distribution or Health & Community) and the relevant state.

Outdoor Dining

If you want to enable customers to dine outside, you must provide appropriate tables and chairs on a footpath. Café owners may also be required to obtain an outdoor dining licence from the relevant local council.

Serving Alcohol

Another legal issue is if your restaurant will be providing alcohol service to its customers. You must refer to the relevant Office of Liquor in your state. If your restaurant is in NSW, for example, you must submit your alcohol license application to the NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing. It is also important for all the employees who will be serving alcohol to have the required Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate (RSA).

Basic Training

In relation to training your staff, you are legally required to provide proper training that covers both basic training and food safety, and food handling. Training programs come in many forms and it is up to you to decide in which method to train staff, i.e. online, classroom, manuals and in-house training.

Conclusion

Remember that buying and running a successful restaurant is not only for the love of food, but is first and foremost a business. It is crucial that you comply with all the legal requirements and regulations within the relevant state or territory. Various legal issues such as food, health and safety requirements and licenses/permits are vital when buying a restaurant. All these considerations can be extremely difficult without the proper business and legal experience and it is strongly recommended that you speak to a lawyer after considering the above factors.

A business lawyer at LegalVision will gladly assist you with buying a restaurant, so do not hesitate to call us 1300 544 755.

Webinars

Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Online
Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards