Ultimate Guide to Opening a Small Food Joint in India: Licenses, Permissions, and More

Opening a small food joint in India can be a rewarding venture, given the country’s rich culinary culture and the growing demand for diverse food options. However, it’s not just about cooking delicious food and serving it to customers. There are several legal requirements and procedures that you need to follow to ensure your business operates within the confines of the law. This guide will walk you through the necessary licenses, permissions, and other related aspects of opening a small food joint in India.

1. Food License from FSSAI

The first and foremost requirement is obtaining a food license from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). This is mandatory for any food business operator in the country. The FSSAI license ensures that the food you serve meets the set standards of quality and hygiene.

2. Trade License

Next, you need to get a trade license from the local municipal corporation or the health department of your city. This license is proof that your business is permitted to carry out the trade it is engaged in within the premises it is located.

3. GST Registration

Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration is another crucial requirement. It is compulsory for businesses with a turnover of more than Rs. 20 lakhs (Rs. 10 lakhs for North-Eastern States). Even if your turnover is less, it’s beneficial to register for GST as it allows you to claim input tax credit.

4. Shop and Establishment License

Depending on the state where you plan to open your food joint, you may need to obtain a Shop and Establishment License from the state’s labour department. This license should be applied for within 30 days of starting your business.

5. Fire Safety License

If your food joint has a seating capacity of more than 50, you need to apply for a Fire Safety License from the fire department. This is to ensure that your establishment has adequate measures in place to handle fire emergencies.

6. Liquor License

If you plan to serve alcohol at your food joint, you need to get a liquor license. The process and cost for this license vary from state to state.

7. Environmental Clearance

Lastly, depending on the size and location of your food joint, you may need to get environmental clearance from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

While these are the primary licenses and permissions required, it’s advisable to consult with a legal expert or a business consultant to understand all the legalities involved in your specific case. Remember, non-compliance can lead to hefty fines or even closure of your food joint. So, ensure you have all the necessary permissions before you start serving your customers.