How to Obtain a Restaurant License in Hong Kong

How to Obtain a Restaurant License in Hong Kong

Opening a restaurant in Hong Kong requires obtaining the necessary licenses, including a General Restaurant License from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. This involves establishing a business entity, selecting a suitable location, submitting an application with required documents, attending an Application Vetting Panel meeting, fulfilling licensing requirements, and undergoing final verification before the license is issued.

Opening a restaurant in Hong Kong can be an exciting venture, but it requires careful planning and adherence to legal requirements. One crucial step is obtaining the necessary licenses to operate your establishment legally.

This guide will walk you through the process of obtaining a restaurant license in Hong Kong, ensuring a smooth and successful journey towards opening your culinary haven.

Unveiling the Significance of Restaurant Licensing

In Hong Kong, the pursuit of a restaurant license transcends mere formalities; it represents an unwavering commitment to safeguarding public health and fostering a culture of excellence within the city's dynamic food and beverage industry.

The Hong Kong government meticulously regulates this sector through the Food Business Regulation, a legislative framework enforced under the Food Safety Ordinance (Cap. 612).

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) assumes the pivotal role of administering and enforcing these regulations, ensuring that food establishments operate in a sanitary and safe manner while adhering to stringent hygiene standards.

By obtaining the requisite licenses, you not only demonstrate your dedication to culinary craftsmanship but also your respect for the well-being of your patrons and the integrity of Hong Kong's esteemed culinary heritage.

How to Obtain a Restaurant License in Hong Kong: A Step-by-Step Guide

With a clear understanding of the licensing landscape, it's time to embark on the journey to secure the necessary permits for your restaurant.

This process, while intricate, is a testament to Hong Kong's commitment to upholding the highest standards in the food and beverage industry.

Step 1: Establish Your Business Entity

Before delving into the licensing process, you must first establish your restaurant as a legally recognized business entity in Hong Kong.

This crucial step involves registering your company with the Hong Kong Companies Registry and obtaining a Certificate of Incorporation.

Steps to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong

During this phase, you'll also need to choose an available name for your restaurant, prepare legal documents such as the Articles of Association, and open a business bank account.

Step 2: Identify the Ideal Location

Choosing the ideal site for your restaurant is a critical decision that can profoundly influence the triumph of your culinary endeavor.

Obtain a Restaurant License in Hong Kong

Not only must the chosen premises align with your culinary vision and target market, but it must also comply with stringent health, building, and fire safety requirements set forth by the FEHD, Buildings Department, and Fire Services Department, respectively.

Step 3: Prepare and Submit the General Restaurant License Application

With your business entity established and an ideal location identified, it's time to initiate the application process for the General Restaurant License.

This comprehensive application requires the submission of several crucial documents, including:

  • Certified true copies of your Certificate of Incorporation, Business Registration Certificate, and Articles of Association
  • Certified true copies of your Notice of Situation of Registered Office and recent annual returns
  • A detailed, scaled metric layout plan of the restaurant premises, encompassing the kitchen, preparation area, refreshment area, toilets, and storage spaces, adhering to the FEHD's minimum statutory requirements
  • An authenticated true copy of the stamped tenancy agreement or proof of ownership documentation for the intended premises.
  • A copy of the Board Resolution confirming the appointment of an authorized individual to represent the company in the licensing process

Upon receiving your application, the FEHD will conduct a preliminary screening of the layout plan to ensure compliance with basic requirements. If approved, separate site inspections by the FEHD, Buildings Department, and Fire Services Department will follow to assess the suitability of the proposed premises.

Step 4: Attend the Application Vetting Panel Meeting

Within 10 days of the site inspections, an Application Vetting Panel meeting will convene, bringing together officers from the three departments and the applicant.

During this pivotal meeting, any identified issues, proposed remedial works, and the applicant's construction or decoration programs will be discussed in detail.

Step 5: Fulfill Licensing Requirements and Report Compliance

Based on the feedback received from the Buildings Department and Fire Services Department, the FEHD will issue a letter outlining the specific licensing requirements that must be fulfilled within six months.

Once these criteria have been met, the applicant must submit a compliance report to the FEHD for verification.

Step 6: Final Verification and License Issuance

Upon receiving the compliance report, the FEHD will conduct a final verification of the premises within 10 days.

If the premises are deemed satisfactory, the General Restaurant License will be issued within seven days of the final verification, contingent upon the payment of the prescribed license fee.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Licensing Process:

  • Start Early: The licensing process can take time, so it's important to start your application well in advance of your intended opening date.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consider consulting with professionals such as lawyers or business consultants who specialize in restaurant licensing in Hong Kong. SMEBrother - specialized knowledge can guide you through the proceedings with greater efficiency.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with any changes in regulations or requirements related to restaurant licensing in Hong Kong. The FEHD website is a valuable resource for information and updates.
  • By following these steps and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can successfully obtain a restaurant license in Hong Kong and embark on your culinary journey.