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Everything that you need to understand about Indian Food Licensing

Food licenses in India.

Among the most profitable industries in India is food and beverage. The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry’s strong profitability and consistent rise in the number of businesses, including traditional restaurants, have only fueled this expansion. Many ambitious businesspeople who are now well-known in their field began in this sector.

But it’s not as simple as it seems. In addition to the (considerable) money needed, starting a food business involves extensive legal preparation.

Before opening, any establishment—café, bar, restaurant, home delivery service, food truck, or even franchise outlet—needs the appropriate authorization. For the sake of consistency, we will from now on consider them all to fall under the category of “restaurant.”

The following licences are necessary for starting and operating a food company:


  • According to Section 31(1) of the FSS Act, 2006, every restaurant in India must hold a licence from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The Food Safety & Standards Regulations, 2011, govern the licencing and registration process and standards. A potential restaurant owner will need the following paperwork in order to get this licence. An affidavit, a declaration of a food safety management plan, a kitchen layout plan, a list of food categories, a water testing report from an ISI-approved facility, a no objection certificate (NOC) from owner or partner, and the medical records of every employee are all required. The FSSAI licence, however, makes it rather simple to get a lot of the other permits once it is received.


  • A Health/Trade licence, commonly known as a Municipal Authority licence, is required to operate a restaurant in accordance with the 11th schedule of the Municipal Corporation Act (1957). The licence, which gives the licensee permission to operate/continue a certain business at a specified address, is granted by the local civil authority of the region (the concerned municipal corporation). It makes sure that no health risks or unethical commercial practises have a harmful impact on the city’s people.


  • The city’s licencing police commissioner issues the eating house licence, which enables a restaurant to offer meals to customers inside its walls.


  • Liquor licence: This is a prerequisite if you plan to offer alcohol in your restaurant. The local Excise Commissioner is the best place to get this.


  • Fire licence: The first thing to check is that the restaurant complies with all fire safety regulations. After that, a request for a No Objection Certificate must be made in writing to the chief fire officer (NOC). The department does not impose a fee if the inspection is delayed or if fire safety regulations or a NOC are issued after the examination has been completed.



  • Pollution certificate: A pollution certificate, which is given out by the local government, guarantees that a restaurant is upholding its moral obligations by maintaining the pollution index in check.


  • Even if both consumers and owners like hearing music playing in the home, a licence is still necessary. It is a requirement under the Copyright Act of 1957, and it is published by the Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL).


  • The restaurant owner must complete and submit a survey to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in order to get a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC). A certificate is given if the evaluation reveals that it is authentic.


  • PFA Act Clearance Certificate: The Prevention of Food and Adulteration (PFA) Act, which was passed in 1954, safeguards customers from tainted, dangerous, and falsely labelled food products. It examines food standards, food sampling, food analysis, the authority of designated officials, and other aspects relating to food.


  • Lift Approval: If your eatery is two floors or more high and you want or need to install a lift, you must first obtain approval from the city’s electrical department, labour department, and lift commissioner. This licence from the Labor Commissioner’s office has been jointly issued by the Electrical and Lift Inspectors after inspection of the lift installation, layout, safety equipment, etc.


  • In accordance with the Shops and Establishment Act, a restaurateur must register his restaurant within 30 days of the establishment of the aforementioned.


  • Obtaining a signage licence from the municipal corporation or local civil authorities will grant you the freedom to openly promote and advertise your facility or items.


  • According to the Licensing Act of 2003, every establishment that sells food or beverages between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. must have a night operations restaurant licence.


  • GST Registration: Since going into effect on July 1, 2017, having a Goods and Services Tax Registration certificate is now required.




These are the 15 essential licences and certificates that a prospective restaurateur needs in order to launch a food company in India. Even though they appear to be reasonably easy to get on paper, purchasing them virtually invariably runs into one or more legal snags. Therefore, it is highly suggested that you seek out legal counsel or advice before acquiring them. Better discuss it with your attorneys before beginning the entire process, actually. Please contact us if you would like more information about the food and beverage franchise market in India and its potential.

An engineer by qualification, Gaurav started his career in sales and marketing due to his affinity towards networking with people. After learning the tips and tricks of the trade, he made a fresh start as an entrepreneur in the franchising industry back in early 2018, with a vision to bring order and transparency to an unorganized sector. He founded and spearheaded Frankart Global Private Limited, where he consulted, developed, and scaled more than 120 domestic and international brands all over India ranging from different industries such as food & beverage, beauty & wellness, and FMCG retail to name a few. Post-Covid, in mid-2021, he developed FranDocX, India’s first ready-to-use franchise documentation service portal, for the MSME entrepreneurs who were severely affected by the pandemic, and wanted to avail an affordable franchise solution service. His aim is to regularize ethical business practices in the franchising sector so that a greater number of investors can participate and avail the benefits of a structured franchise framework.

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