Restaurant Licenses (Food & Alcohol)

Restaurant (Food) License in Thailand | Umpire Legal | Photo credit http://www.freepik.com

If you are operating a restaurant or bar with the area larger than 200 square meters, you will need to apply for the food and/or alcohol (retail) license for your company whereby the license certificates should be placed in a visibly located area of the restaurant or bar

Restaurant (Food) License

While restaurants having an area exceeding 200 square meters have to apply for a restaurant license from the local government, smaller establishments are only required to notify their presence to the local authority (which will issue a certificate of notification).

Application Process

The application for the license to sell food in a restaurant is to be submitted at the district office responsible for the area in which the restaurant is located, and the process consists of the following steps:

  1. Umpire Legal will assist you in preparing the government forms and supporting documents as will be necessary for submission at the responsible district office for the application. It is important to note that the construction permit for the building in which the restaurant is located allows for such business operations.
  2. A week or two after the application has been accepted by the officials, an appointment will need to be made for the officials to inspect the premises of the restaurant. Further to the inspection, additional documents might be requested at the official’s discretion.
  3. All Thai employees working in the restaurant would then be required to go to the district office to take a test which consists of 50 multiple choice questions, of which at least 40 questions must be answered correctly. The questions mainly concern maintenance of standards and hygiene in the restaurant. The district office provides a booklet which the employees may study prior to the test. Prior to issuance of the license, the staff will also be required to provide a medical certificate.
  4. Once the officials determine that the documents, inspection of the restaurant, and employees test results meet their requirements, a license will be issued. The issuance of the food license may take up to or slightly longer than a month depending on several factors including the availability of the officials for an inspection, the state of the restaurant, and so forth.

Once issued, the food license must be renewed annually as from the date of issuance. In addition to the government forms, company registration documents, documents from the legal owner of the property and the authorised director’s passport or Thai ID copy, the following information and documents will be required to support the application:

  • Commercial name of the restaurant, which may be different from the company’s name
  • Photos (print out) in front of and inside the restaurant
  • Layout of the restaurant (interior and floor plan)
  • Total size in square meters of the whole restaurant (including tables, kitchen, counter etc.)

The government fee is calculated based on the square meters of the restaurant.

Related Licenses

Alcohol License

If you will be selling alcohol in your restaurant or bar, we can also assist you in applying for the retail license to sell alcoholic beverages. This license application requires some government forms, company registration documents, documents from the legal owner of the property and the authorised director’s passport or Thai ID copy. It can be obtained from the Excise office located in the district where you are located within a couple of business days if all documents are in order.

However, it should be noted that the location of the restaurant/bar (selling alcohol) should not be in close proximity to a school, temple, hospital, etc., and the officials may request to drop by the premises for an inspection before issuing the alcohol license.

Construction Permit

It is important to note that the construction permit for the building in which the restaurant is located is mandatory for application to operate a restaurant.

As mentioned in the first step of the application process above, the premises of the restaurant must comply with the building regulations. Simply put, this permit makes sure the restaurant is safe to operate in the selected building and, conversely, that the building allows for such business operation.

Operating a Restaurant Without License

Needless to say, operating a restaurant serving food and/or alcohol without the relevant license violates Thai law and such operator will be punished by fine or even imprisonment under the Public Health Act, Liquor Act and Building Control Act.