Opening a Restaurant – Some Legal Aspects

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So, you’ve decided to fulfill your lifelong dream of opening a restaurant to share your delicious culinary creations with the world? It is important to be aware of the legal aspects of running a restaurant from the outset.
This article aims to give an overview of some of the many relevant legal considerations when launching a restaurant.

Business name and registration

You must ensure that the name of your restaurant complies with the applicable laws. In other words, your business name must be in compliance with the Charter of the French Language. Even if your business was incorporated as a numbered company, any trade name that you use in the course of running your restaurant must be declared to the Registraire des entreprises and comply with the Charter. Remember that any promotional materials that you produce to advertise your business must also comply with the Charter.
You must also ensure that your restaurant’s name is not confusingly similar to a name already being used in Québec by another restaurant.


It is very important to know the extent of your liability when it comes to the lease of your restaurant premises. You must be sure that you understand the terms of your lease agreement before signing and you must also ensure that the written terms of the lease correspond to the conditions that you and your landlord agreed to verbally during your negotiations. The duration of the lease, the expenses excluded from the rent and the lease renewal terms are among the many important considerations. Also, if your business is incorporated, verify whether the landlord requires a personal guarantee from you with respect to the rent. Remember that the lease of your premises will be one of your business’s biggest expenses so it is important that you fully grasp the extent of the associated liabilities. Consider hiring a legal professional to help you review your lease.

Permits and other requirements

The restaurant industry is heavily regulated; by law, you are required to obtain various permits in order to run your restaurant.
The permits required will vary depending on your circumstances. Also, while some of the permits may be valid indefinitely, others may require periodic renewal. In addition to your certificate of occupancy, you may need permits for your signage, your terrace and even your renovations, all to be issued by your municipality. You will also need a food preparation certificate and an attestation that you have received restaurant hygiene training. If you plan to sell alcohol on the premises or if you allow your patrons to bring their own alcohol, you must have a valid permit as well.
Additionally, remember that most restaurants are required by Revenue Quebec to have a MEV system to keep track of sales and prevent tax evasion.

For more information, you may contact Kelly Francis at (514) 802-7736 or at
Disclaimer: This article merely gives readers an overview of the issues discussed therein and is not legal advice. Please do not take action based on this article alone without first seeking the legal counsel appropriate for your specific situation!