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License for a restaurant or bar

To operate a restaurant or bar over 200 square feet, you must obtain a license to sell food and/or liquor (retail). Once obtained, license certificates must be posted prominently in the restaurant or bar. Smaller establishments must only notify the local authorities and obtain a certificate upon notification.

Licensing assistance

Restaurant (Food) License

Application process

An application for a license to sell food in a restaurant is submitted to the district office responsible for the restaurant's location. The process consists of the following steps:

  1. Prepare the government forms and supporting documents required to apply to the responsible district office. The intended purpose of the building must allow the use of the premises for a restaurant or cafe.
  2. A week or two after the officials accept the application, it will be necessary to make an appointment to inspect the restaurant premises. During the inspection, officials may request additional documents at their discretion.
  3. Then all Thai employees working in the restaurant will be required to report to the district office for a test. The test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. You must answer at least 40 questions correctly. The questions are mainly about maintaining standards and hygiene in the restaurant. The district office provides a booklet for employees to review before the test.
  4. Employees must also provide a medical certificate before a license is issued.

Once officials determine that the documents, the restaurant inspection, and the employee test results meet their requirements, a license will be issued. The issuance of a license may take about a month. This period depends on several factors, including the willingness of officials to check, the condition of the restaurant, etc.

Once issued, a food business license must be renewed annually from the date of issue.

In addition to government forms, company registration documents, documents from the legal owner of the property, and a copy of the authorized director's passport or Thai ID, the following information and documents will be required to substantiate the application:

  1. The restaurant's commercial name may be different from the company name.
  2. Photos (printed) in front of and inside the restaurant.
  3. Restaurant plan (interior and floor plan).
  4. The total area in square meters of the entire restaurant (including tables, kitchen, counter, etc.).
  5. The stamp duty is calculated based on the square meters of the restaurant.

Associated licenses

License to sell alcohol

To obtain a license to sell alcohol, you must fill out government forms and attach company registration documents, documents from the rightful owner of the property, and a copy of the passport or Thai ID of the authorized director. The license is issued at the excise office in the area where the establishment is located within a few working days.

It should be noted that the location of the restaurant/bar (alcohol sale) should not be located near a school, temple, hospital, etc. Officials may request an inspection of the premises before issuing a license to sell alcohol.

Building Permit

It is important to note that a building permit for the building where the restaurant is located is mandatory to apply for its operation.
As mentioned in the first step of the application process, the restaurant space must comply with building codes. This permit ensures that the restaurant will operate safely in the selected building, and the building itself allows such activities to take place.

Operating a restaurant without a license

It is against Thai law to operate a restaurant serving food and/or alcohol without a proper license. Violators are subject to fines or even imprisonment under the Public Health Act, the Liquor Act, and the Building Control Act.

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Update: 19-02-2023
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