Be sure to secure the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance for your business. Some might have additional costs. Some license, permits and insurance to consider include: 

Liquor license: If you will be serving liquor, you need an alcoholic beverage license. 

Food licenses: To certify that you are safety, handling, storing and serving food up to code.

Cottage Food Business: You may be thinking about starting a food product from your home kitchen such as preserves or baked goods you can sell at a local farmer's market or community event. Before you get started, visit DC Department of Health to make sure you're fully compliant. 

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O): In some cases, a business operating in an office building may operate under the umbrella of the C of O issued to the owner of the building as long as the C of O is issued for the entire building. Check with the building owner or management company for the holder’s name, C of O number, and Issue date.

The inspection covers food storage, preparation and serving as well as maximum occupancy, fire hazards, ventilation, food surface, types, sink placement, restroom, regulations and other factors within your business. For more information, see the DC health inspection details.

You need the following insurance coverage: 

  • Restaurant insurance:
  • Property insurance
  • General insurance
  • Liquor insurance
  • Auto insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Fire insurance
  • Loss of business insurance
  • Food contamination insurance