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Set up a Restaurant in Italy

Set up a Restaurant in Italy

Opening a restaurant in Italy can be an attractive idea for starting a business in this country, due to the fact that the Italian restaurant industry continues to grow. The increase of the Italian catering sector is given by the new trends of the local consumer market, which is now more keen to dining out, rather than dining at home. 

This is sustained by the data provided by the Italian Federation of Public Concerns, which showed that, at the level of 2016, 39 million Italian citizens ate at least one meal outside their home, while 13 million consumed meals outside the home four or five times per week. Businessmen who want to start a company in Italy in this industry should know that, at the level of 2016, the Italian restaurant industry accounted for EUR 71 billion. 

When opening a restaurant in Italy, there are numerous aspects that need to be considered and our team of lawyers in Italy can assist with advice on this matter; our lawyers may offer information on the business permits that need to be obtained in this case and may also provide legal advice on how to start a restaurant through a franchising agreement, which is a popular way of conducting a business in this sector. 

What should one consider when starting an Italian restaurant? 

Investors who want to open a company in Italy as a restaurant or any other type of catering unit should take into consideration numerous aspects. First and foremost, it is necessary to verify the characteristics of the local consumer market, the types of restaurants Italians usually prefer to dine at, the types of menus offered by other competitors etc. Our team of Italian lawyers can assist businessmen with advice on the following matters, which are highly important for anyone starting a catering unit here: 

  • • find a suitable location for the Italian restaurant that can attract the type of clients your business is interested in;
  • • decide on the types of foods that will be served (Italian or international cuisine) and the types of alcoholic beverages available in your restaurant;
  • • establish a theme for the restaurant, in accordance with the menu provided;
  • • purchase the necessary kitchen equipment and the furniture for the restaurant;
  • • obtain the business permits that are required for this business activity. 

What are the legal requirements for selling alcohol in an Italian restaurant? 

As an Italian restaurant will most likely sell alcoholic beverages, it is necessary to know the legal requirements that are imposed in this case. In Italy, the local legislation distinguishes between alcoholic beverages (beverages that have an alcoholic content of minimum 1.2 degrees) and super-alcoholic beverages (beverages with a gradation higher than 21%).  

It is important to know that any business operator that sells alcoholic beverages is prohibited from selling such products to minors. In the case of Italian restaurants or in the case of any other similar type of business that sells alcoholic beverages to minors, the fine can increase up to EUR 2,582 or it can be punishable by detention, provided that the minor has an age below 16 years old, as stated by the Article 689 of the Italian Civil Code

What types of licenses does an Italian restaurant need? 

In most of the countries in which an investor will set up a restaurant, the local authorities will generally require the same types of permits and business licenses. For example, all restaurants should obtain a business license, which will allow the businessmen to legally perform their operations and our law firm in Italy can offer in-depth information regarding this subject.  

Since the restaurant will have as a main object of activity the sale of food (and its handling, cooking and so on), it is compulsory to obtain a food license, which is issued by the health authorities of the country. In Italy, the main institution which regulates health matters is the Health Ministry (Ministero della Salute). When applying for this type of permit, the premises in which the restaurant will be set up will be verified by a representative of the institution, who will check if the unit respects the applicable standards. 

As the restaurant will also sell alcoholic beverages, it will be required to apply for an alcohol license, as well as for a license which certifies that the company’s employees have the necessary qualifications for handling food products; in this case, the company should also obtain a Food Handler’s Permit. Through this type of permit, the company’s representatives will be able to prove that the food products are stored according to the safety and health standards

Other relevant steps when opening a restaurant in Italy are registering with the local tax authorities, register the company’s employees for social security and numerous other legal matters, that are compulsory for every type of legal entity operating in this country. Investors are invited to contact our law firm in Italy for in-depth legal assistance on the procedure of opening an Italian restaurant.