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How to obtain a business license for Restaurants in Las Vegas

There are several industries in the city of Las Vegas that have witnessed a stable growth and one such industry is the restaurant industry. Over the last decade many small and medium sized startups obtained a Las Vegas restaurant license to get into one of the fast paced and growing industries of gastronomy. The industry in Las Vegas is dominated by fast-food, casual and fine dining, seafood, home-made food, and even ethnic-inspired culinary art..

An Introduction to the Restaurant industry in Las Vegas

The city of Las Vegas is home to one of the largest tourism industries in the USA and an essential part of any tourism industry anywhere in the world is food. In reality, food itself is a key driver of the economy in Nevada and hence restaurants are considered to be an integral part of the Travel and Tourism industry. In order to create a foothold in this industry, you will need to register your business in Nevada and obtain a Las Vegas restaurant license and other permits as necessary. The Las Vegas Valley is home to both high-end restaurants attached to casino’s as well as street food favorites. The Sin City also specializes in buffets that provide tourists the opportunity to choose from 500 different varieties of food.

Las Vegas – A Booming Food Destination

Whether it is world class fine dining or street food culinary concepts, the city of Las Vegas seems to have a slice of space of different varieties of food. The restaurant industry has grown along with the growth of the gaming industry to accommodate the appetite of the 42.5 million tourists that visited the sin city in 2019. It is no surprise that businesses with a Las Vegas restaurant license have experienced good growth thanks to the increasing number of tourists each year. Independent restaurants’ like Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab served 260,000 meals and reported sales of $22,264,200 followed by Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres, SW Steakhouse, Mon Ami Gabi, and Prime Steakhouse among others.

The history of the Las Vegas restaurant industry goes back to 1954 when the first restaurant named El Torito was started in Henderson. It was followed by Bob Taylor Original Ranch House in 1955 and then slowly the concept of buffet crept in. The Venetian Pizzeria downtown on Fremont Street and The Golden Steer Steakhouse became iconic restaurants with their history connecting the likes of Frank Sinatra, B.B. King, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin among others as some of the frequent guests. These restaurants came to be known as the “Rat Pack-style” restaurants till the era of fine-dining or gourmet rooms came into existence in the 1960’s. It is said that Vegas is constantly evolving as a culinary destination and startups or new restaurant owners will definitely benefit from this evolution once they have the mandatory Las Vegas restaurant license.

Steps to apply for Restaurant License in Las Vegas

The restaurants in the city of Las Vegas perform the role of ensuring tourists visiting the city get a taste of a wide variety of ethnic cuisines right from Mexican and Salvadoran restaurants to Japanese, Indian, Thai, Persian, Mediterranean, African, Chamorros, and eastern European among others. You can start a restaurant offering specific cuisine or an eclectic mix of different cuisines. In order to start any restaurant, you will have to apply for a Las Vegas restaurant license and there are certain requirements you will be required to fulfill to obtain the license. Let’s identify what your requirements are in Las Vegas or Nevada:

1. Business Location Limit within Las Vegas

One of the important requirements for Nevada business licenses for restaurants is the location of your business. If your business falls under Las Vegas commercial and industrial zoning districts as mentioned in Unified Development Code 19.00.100 then you will be able to apply for the license. If it falls outside of this area then you will have to apply for a Clark County restaurant license. Some of the other aspects of zoning that you need to consider include:

  • If you are planning to start your restaurant in overlay districts like Designed Commercial Overlay, Downtown Las Vegas Overlay District, and Las Vegas Boulevard Scenic Byway Overlay etc.
  • The drainage improvements and facilities of your restaurant should comply with the Las Vegas City Standards and this is one of the requirements of a Las Vegas restaurant license.
  • According to Las Vegas Zoning Code 19.04.010 any building or structure can only be used in accordance with the uses as permitted by the “Land Use Table”. The options are:
    • P = Permitted Use
    • C = Conditional Use (Permitted with Conditions)
    • S – Special Use Permit Required
    • A – Accessory Use
    • H = Home Occupation Permit
    • T = Temporary Commercial Permit Required (pursuant to Section 19.18.100)

Once you have identified the location of your business (Zoning Map) and the zoning category, you can visit the office of the City of Las Vegas Development Services to confirm your business location. You will be required to file your zoning application in compliance with the Unified Development Code Title 19.12 as this is an important requirement for Nevada business licenses.

2. Provide proof of compliance with the Nevada Secretary of State

A restaurant in Las Vegas is defined under the food establishment’s category and is governed by Chapter 446 of 2015 Nevada Revised Statutes. According to NV Rev Stat § 446.020 (2015), a food establishment is any place, structure, or premise where food is served for human consumption. The regulations that your restaurant needs to be compliant with in order to obtain a Las Vegas restaurant license will vary from facilities and operations to prohibited acts, inspection of the restaurant, review of existing plan or remodeling of food establishment, disposal of waste, and adoption of regulations pertaining to construction, operation, maintenance, or safety of structure or building among others.

In order to apply for and obtain Nevada business licenses for restaurants or food establishments, you will be required to submit proof of compliance with all requirements of NV Rev Stat § 446. The proof of compliance has to be submitted with the office of the Nevada Secretary of State.

3. Apply for Restaurant License Online

If you are planning to start a restaurant in Sin City then you can apply for your Las Vegas business license through the online portal for City of Las Vegas. You will have to apply at least 30 days prior to commencing your food establishment business.

4. Apply for and obtain a Health Permit from the Southern Nevada Health District

A food service establishment in Las Vegas is required to obtain a permit from the Environmental Health Department of the Southern Nevada Health District. This is an integral part of the process of obtaining a Las Vegas restaurant license. There are several aspects you need to consider for obtaining a health permit and they are:

  • You have to prepare a food establishment plan and specifications pursuant to Nevada Revised Statute 446.930 and Nevada Administrative Code 446.955 in order to obtain the required Nevada business licenses. This plan has to be submitted to the Health Authority for review and approval. This restaurant plan has to be submitted primarily by newly constructed restaurants, extensively remodeled restaurants, or if you are changing an existing structure into a restaurant.
  • A label review is important towards obtaining Nevada business licenses and it means that any type of packaged food sold in the restaurant including processed foods and dietary supplements should have the necessary labels as approved by the Southern Nevada Health District Authority.

Once you have submitted the plans for review, the Southern Nevada health district authority will conduct an inspection at your restaurant to determine whether it is in compliance with the provisions of NAC 446. If everything is in compliance then you will get the health permit required for obtaining your Las Vegas restaurant license. It is important to note that every new restaurant in Las Vegas will also be required to submit a “Supplemental Food Establishment Application”.

5. Fees

If you are planning to establish a restaurant in Las Vegas then you will be required to obtain a restaurant license. The fee for Nevada business licenses is $150 and this includes a $100 license fee and a processing fee of $50. The license fee is based on the gross revenue generated by the restaurant and will be due in advance semi-annually.

There will be another fee that will be applicable when applying for a Las Vegas restaurant license. The fee is for an annual permit issued by The Division of Public and Behavioral Health and is calculated according to the number of seats in a restaurant. A restaurant with 40 seats will be required to pay a permit fee of $200 pursuant to NAC 446.830 and an additional $1.50 for each extra seat it may have.

6. Review license with Planning Department and Fire Department (if applicable)

A restaurant or food establishment in Las Vegas needs to comply with the codes of the Planning and Fire Department. This is necessary for obtaining Nevada business licenses for a Las Vegas restaurant. There are special permits issued by the Department of Building and Fire Prevention Bureau for restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. These permits can be for construction or operation regulated by the fire code. You will be required to submit a plan for permitting, which needs to be compliant with the Clark County Fire Code.

Similarly, the Planning Department is responsible for ensuring code compliance by restaurants in the city of Las Vegas. The role of the planning department is to carry out inspections of the restaurant premises or buildings. They are also responsible for issuing permits for specific events or for building. Once you have received your permit or the necessary inspection has been completed by the Planning and Fire Department, you will be able to obtain your Las Vegas restaurant license and can make your restaurant operational.

Register your Restaurant Business in Las Vegas Today

How IncParadise can help you

A restaurant also considered as a food establishment is one of the most attractive business options in the City of Las Vegas. The restaurant industry is constantly evolving and has a consistent growth pattern. If you are planning to operate a restaurant in the city then there are several state and county requirements to be fulfilled and this is where IncParadise as one of the most respected registered agents in the nation can assist you. We can assist you with business formation in the state and also help you obtain various Nevada business licenses that your restaurant may require. You can benefit from:

  • Our expert team will help you to register your new business in Las Vegas – We have a team of experienced professionals with expertise in new business formation in the state of Nevada. Our team can help you with incorporation and obtaining a state business license. The primary objective of our team is to provide services and guidance that will help minimize business formation time while maximizing benefits of these services. Apart from your mandatory Las Vegas restaurant license, you may require specific county permits and other licenses depending on the nature of your business and we are not responsible for these licensing requirements. At the same time, we offer you information through our Business License Report that will help you identify your business licensing needs in Las Vegas and apply accordingly.
  • Our other services for Nevada businesses – A Las Vegas food establishment is considered as a commercial business entity and hence there are several other initial as well as annual requirements that have to be fulfilled including Nevada business licenses. This is where IncParadise can provide you with a range of additional business related services, which will not only help streamline the overall new business formation process but also help save time. Some of the additional services include certificate of good standing, annual report filing service, obtaining EIN (Tax ID), mail-forwarding service, Foreign Qualification, and LLC or corporate kits among others

Register your Restaurant Business in Nevada today!