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Getting a Restaurant Liquor License – Application Process, Liquor Mark Up and Other Considerations

When consumed in moderation, alcohol goes well with any kind of cuisine and many people can’t imagine having a casual or fine dining experience without it. However, while alcohol sales can be a great source of income for a restaurant, serving it also comes with a lot of responsibility.

In this article we look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a restaurant liquor license and some of the things that you should consider if you do decide to serve alcohol. We also offer an insight into the license application process.

Restaurant Liquor Markup

Alcohol sales can offer your restaurant business much better profit margins than food due to the high markup potential and the minimal preparation time involved. Some restaurants make up to two thirds of their profits from alcohol sales. If you are lucky enough to have clientele that purchase premium wines then the profit potential can be mind blowing.

Consider Your Concept and Market

Consider your restaurant concept when deciding on the kind of alcoholic beverages that you want to offer on your menu. If you are a Mexican restaurant then of course you need to stock Corona Beer and offer appropriate cocktails such as Margaritas.

Liquor Laws Vary

There are different regulations to comply with to depending on the state that you are doing business in. You must follow these laws meticulously and ensure that your employees do too, otherwise you risk losing your restaurant liquor license.

Depending on your local licensing requirements you may be restricted as to when you can serve alcohol and how it must be served. You may also be restricted in the way that you can price and promote alcoholic beverages. In some cities you are not allowed to discount alcohol or offer specials such as ‘two for the price of one’. Licenses can also be divided into those for on-premises consumption and those for off-premises consumption.

Lastly, the kind of alcohol that you sell may also be organic wine hong kong regulated. You may find that it is easier to get a license only to serve beer and wine rather than a general license that includes spirits as well.

The Application Process

Liquor licenses usually don’t come cheap so you should find out what you will be facing and budget for this in your startup costs.

The process to apply for a license is extensive. If you are buying an existing restaurant business you may be able to apply to have the license transferred over to you but otherwise you need to start the process from scratch. If approved, your liquor license will have to be renewed every year.

In your application you may need to show how you are planning on mitigating the negative effects of alcohol consumption. It is also likely that you will need to include a background check to prove that you don’t have a criminal record. The approval process also usually gives local people a chance to disapprove of a license being granted if they can back up their opinions with solid reasoning. As you can imagine the application period can be lengthy so you should start the application process as soon as possible.



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