Assuming you have done your research and have planned the marketing strategy for your restaurant including;
Starting a restaurant requires some careful planning and it is better managed when broken down into steps. These are some of the most important steps you need to think about. You can find a lot of information on internet about how each step can be done properly.
Food Business Licenses In Japan
In Japan, as is the case in other countries if you start a food business such as restaurants or food manufacturing, you need to obtain a permit for your business. There are various categories in food businesses, which require a business license under the Food Sanitation Law.
This guide explains everything you need to know about how to start a restaurant in Japan. The process is generally the same in all areas of the country.
How To Start A Restaurant In Japan
To open a restaurant you need to rent a property which for foreigners nowadays, is not as difficult as it was just a decade ago. There have been cases where the property owners have refused to rent to foreigners or have asked for a deposit of an amount equal to nearly 1 year’s rent to form a contract. However, these days there are a growing number of property owners who are willing to rent to foreigners as well.
Starting a restaurant requires a permit from the Local Public Health Center "保健所 - hoken-jo", and if you intend to operate after 22:00 or serve alcohol you also need to obtain a permit from the Public Safety Commission "公安委員会 - koan-iinkai". The process is simple – all that is required is for the restaurant owner to present the application for the permit and attend a few hours food sanitation manager course.
Note that for serving certain food like raw oysters or puffer fish, you may be required to obtain special permits. You can find a list of food industries that requires license on the Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health website.
License for restaurant is relatively easy to get, and you can always find information about the application fees and procedures for your specific case from the public health center "city office" of the area where you want to start your business.
Restaurant Application Procedure
Make sure to consult with the Environmental Health Division of Public Health and Welfare Center of the area where you want to open your restaurant beforehand. If your Japanese language ability is not sufficient, someone who can understand Japanese should accompany you in case you receive technical explanations.
A food service license can be obtained through the following steps from application to permission:
Documents to be attached to the application form for your restaurant:
Depending on the capacity and floor area of your restaurant you may be required to obtain a fire prevention license from your local fire department (Restaurants with the capacity of fewer than 30 people, no license needed). Make sure to apply for necessary insurances including those for your employees.
Depending on the robustness of the facility and durability of the equipment of your restaurant which will be screened, the validity period of your license may be anything between 5 to 8 years. The timing may vary for different restaurant types and location in Japan, but generally, most of the documents are handled within 10-20 days before the opening.
Note that public health center staffs visit food service facilities on an irregular basis.
Once you open your restaurant you can prepare foods and sell in your restaurant. But, if you want to pack your foods (Kebab, Hamburger, Boxed Lunches…), and sell them online or to food shops or..., you need a different type of license; whether the product is potentially hazardous (shelf-stable foods), or not potentially hazardous (foods that need to be refrigerated; oftentimes they contain meat or dairy).
Using Your Restaurant As A Cooking Class
You need to contact your local public health center and ask if there are any special requirements for a cooking class. Normally, only employees of your restaurant who are authorized personnel can enter the kitchen. For this reason, you may not be able to run cooking classes in your restaurant kitchen.
If you want to use your restaurant as a cooking class, you need to mention this when you are getting consultation on drawing of your premises.