If the premises you’ve acquired wasn’t a restaurant before—or was a restaurant but requires renovation to build it out to your dream location, you will need a building permit. Want to hang a sign outside the restaurant? You’ll need a building permit.
You apply for a building permit with your local municipal government (kommun). Keep in mind when planning and carrying out renovations that your premises must be accessible to disabled people, as this will be part of the inspection by the kommun’s building authority (Byggnadsnämnden).
LPG gas permit
If you are going to be handling LPG gas, such as propane, in your restaurant kitchen, a permit is required for the handling of flammable goods. You must apply for this before turning on any gas in the restaurant. You can apply for this permit from emergency rescue services (Räddningstjänsten) or your kommun’s Byggnadsnämnden.
Food handling permit
To be able to handle and serve food, you also require a permit. This can be applied for from your kommun’s environmental and health authority (miljö- och hälsoskyddsförvaltningen).
You, as the restaurant owner, have ultimate responsibility for producing, serving and selling safe food. It is important that you have knowledge of—and experience with—the workings of your restaurant so that you know you meet all the requirements. Developing a self-monitoring system can help ensure that the food you serve is safe and that you fulfill all the legal and health requirements.
If you serve alcohol, you are required to have at least one bathroom that guests can use. Any other establishment with more than 12 seats also requires a bathroom or patrons..
In order to be allowed to serve alcohol at your restaurant, you also require a permit from your kommun. This requires first a course and then a test to ensure that you have an adequate understanding of alcohol legislation, among other things.
As a restaurateur, you are also responsible for your restaurant’s waste and that it is handled and disposed of properly. Check what rules apply in your kommun: some are stricter than others when it comes to sorting of waste. If you don’t handle garbage and waste properly, it’s not hard for others—neighbouring residents and even guests—to notice and file complaints.
When it comes to noise levels, background music inside your establishment is often not an issue. But if your restaurant is partially or wholly outside and you are considering having live music, it’s important to check how loud the music can be, as well as if there are restrictions on how late music can be played.
If you are playing recorded music in your restaurant, you may also need to pay for licensing, which is typically an annual fee based on the number of guests you can serve. You will need to have licensing agreements with both STIM and SAMI, the two bodies that administer payments to artists, composers and music companies.
To keep your guests and staff safe, you need to have a plan in place for when the worst happens: fire. You need a plan for how to easily get everyone out as quickly and orderly as possible. Doors should preferably open outwards and if your restaurant has two floors, there should be separate escape routes on each floor.
If your restaurant has outdoor seating, it is important to think about how it fits into the outdoor environment and that even there, it is easily accessible to someone in a wheelchair, walker or impaired vision. There also needs to be ample room next to serving areas so that people can easily get in and out.
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Learn more with our free guide
If you want to know more about everything you need to think about before opening a restaurant, download our free checklist.