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Restaurant Legal Basics

Four Areas Restaurant Owners Should Understand


Running a restaurant involves far more than just serving food and drink. Restaurant owners and managers are responsible for everything from employee safety to liquor liability. Insurance, licenses and safety procedures are just a few of the areas that restaurant owners should be familiar with. Read on for the basics of behind the scenes at a restaurant.

Restaurant Liquor Licenses

The sale of alcohol can boost restaurant profits, because liquor and beer have great profit margins and low labor cost (it’s a lot easier and faster to prepare a martini than a hamburger with fries). However, selling alcohol comes with responsibilities. States don’t want just anyone selling liquor. Therefore they require restaurants and businesses to apply for a liquor license.

Federal and State Laws for Restaurants

As a restaurant owner, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with state and federal employee laws, such as those pertaining to minimum wage, overtime, and tips. Here is a basic overview of employer responsibilities, which every new restaurant owner should be familiar. Failure to comply with these rules can result in hefty fines from local, state and federal authorities.

Restaurant Insurance Basics

One area in the restaurant business you do not want to skimp is insurance. Insurance can protect you and your business for a myriad of problems, from broken equipment to liability lawsuits. Depending on where you live, you will need certain types of insurance for your restaurant. You will also need to carry certain types of insurance to satisfy your bank loans and mortgage.

How to Serve Alcohol Responsibly in a Restaurant

Any restaurant that serves alcohol should have its staff trained in the TIPS program. This program teaches staff how to know if a patron has had too much to drink and how to deal with drunk customers. It can help protect a restaurant owner from potential lawsuits stemming from alcohol related accidents. Some states, such as Utah, require that all employees who serve alcohol undergo some type of training.

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