As restaurant consultants, we work with clients all over the USA from start to finish in the process of opening their restaurants. Often, among the many tasks that the start-up restaurateur faces is the process of attaining a liquor license. The rules and requirements for liquor licenses differ from one jurisdiction to the next. But there are several constants that should be understood from the onset; here are a few important ones:
1) Location – are there any obstacles in your choice of a location that may preclude your ability to get a liquor license? Many jurisdictions require certain distances to exist between a licensed location and a school or religious facility. Don’t make the mistake of contracting a location before you’re sure it will qualify for liquor licensing, if that’s a critical component of your business model.
2) Funding – every liquor licensing authority in the country will want to see where your funding is coming from. This requirement is rooted from old prohibition days when organized crime ruled the alcohol distribution world. Your funding better be coming from transparent sources who are willing to be “looked at” by liquor enforcement entities. If they’re not, you’ll have problems.
3) The “Hood” – most jurisdictions will give the local population of businesses and residents within a certain distance of your location the opportunity to support or oppose a liquor licensed business in their immediate neighborhood. Typically, the applicant is required to “petition” door-to-door for the “yays or nays” of their neighbors. There are companies that will do this for you, or often you can do it yourself. If you have the time, it’s worth doing it yourself so you can meet your neighbors and market your future business, while assuring them that you will control the issues that might concern them about alcoholic beverages being sold near their businesses or homes.
There are many more issues to be discussed about owning a liquor license, and I will address them in future blogs. But the three points listed above may help you understand what you’ll face in the process of acquiring a liquor license.
W&W Restaurant Consulting Group