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How to open Restaurant in Japan


How to open Restaurant, cafe in Japan


1 Government’s permit is necessary

2 Necessary documents, equipment to get this permit.

3 I will assist you to get this license

If I start Food Business in Japan…..Example of business plan

Delivery of food and law of Japan

The most important matter to start Restaurant Business in Japan 

Restaurant business permit

If you want to start a restaurant, cafe ( Inshokuten = 飲食店, food shop ) in Japan, you need to get restaurant business permit ( Inshokuten eigyou kyoka = 飲食店営業許可 ).

And in order to get restaurant business permit ( Inshokuten eigyou kyoka = 飲食店営業許可 ), you need to know about relevant laws.

If you want to operate a hotel in Japan and serve meals to your guests, you also need to know about this information.

If you are living in detached house, as far as you can prepare necessary equipment (sinks, water heater etc), you can get cafe, restaurant business permit with your house.

You can obtain this license even without incorporation of company in Japan. You can be sole proprietor.

You can find my articles “Which is better to operate business by company or sole proprietor” in this website.

(If you do not want to use time to read through this article, you can hire me. I will do everything to obtain this license.)

Chef license is not necessary

In Japan, if you want to get restaurant business permit ( Inshokuten eigyou kyoka = 飲食店営業許可 ), necessary qualification is as below.

Food sanitation supervisor食品衛生責任者 =しょくひんえいせいせきにんしゃPublic health care ( hokenjo ) center has authority
Fire prevention manager防火管理者 = ぼうかかんりしゃLocal fire department ( Shoubou sho ) has authority

So, you can operate restaurant business without chef license (調理師免許 = chourishi menkyo ).

As for Food sanitation supervisor (食品衛生責任者 )

In the case you operate restaurant business, you need to appoint food sanitation supervisor.

This is a person in charge of sanitation, hygiene, food safety of your restaurant.

You need to appoint a Food sanitation supervisor at each restaurant.

When you appoint Food sanitation supervisor, you need to file the appointment with local health care center.

In the case you become Food sanitation supervisor, you need to take a lecture conducted by authority concerned.

When you or your employee have obtained necessary license mentioned above , you can prepare necessary documents and facilities, equipments.

These licenses are one of necessary documents to make application for restaurant business permit.

Necessary days to get food business license

It it better that you  submit necessary documents to obtain restaurant business permit to public health care center about 10 days prior to completion of construction of your facility.

If you submit necessary documents 1 months prior to completion of construction, officers need to wait for completion of your facility for several weeks.

If you submit necessary documents 3 days prior to completion of construction, officer can not come to your office after several days of completion of construction. Then, it will hold off commencement of your operation.

You cannot submit necessary papers by post, but you need to go to local public health care office.

After you have submitted necessary documents to health care center, officer of health care center comes to your office to inspect facility.
( Within 10 days after your application )

Then, if office does not find any problem in your facility, equipments, documents, public health care center ( Hokenjo ) will issue certificate
( It will be issued within 10 days after their inspection ).

Range of restaurant business permit

And now you can start your restaurant business in Japan.

Once you have obtained restaurant business permit, you can manage following business.

Selling Bento, lunch boxBar (Until 12:00 midnight)

However, you cannot operate following business with restaurant business permit.

Bake sweet bunSelling raw fish, meat

As for bar, you can not provide alcohol after 12 pm midnight.

In order to provide it, you need to submit Notification of commencement of business that provides alcohol during midnight.
( 深夜における酒類提供飲食店営業営業開始届出書 ).

In order to sell unprocessed raw fish, meat, you need to obtain other license.
( 魚介類販売業, 食肉販売業 )

However, you can provide Sashimi ( sell picture ) at your restaurant without other license of 魚介類販売業, 食肉販売業.

When you want to operate hostess bar with female companions, you need to obtain other license below. ( Named ” Fuuzoku eigyou kyoka “)

Necessary equipment to operate restaurant business in Japan.

In order to operate restaurant business in Japan, your facility needs to be equipped with necessary equipment.

So, before you order your interior decorator, you need to consult with officer of public health care center.
( Of course, if you order me, I can be of your interpreter. )

Public health care center that has jurisdiction over your restaurant is enacted.
So, you need to consult with them in advance.

When you visit Hokenjo, you need to bring drawing of your restaurant.。

If you have already ordered interior decorator, they will provide you drawing map.

In the case a foreign national operates restaurant business in Japan, you need to obtain necessary status of residence in Japan.

Authority concerned with  starting restaurant business in Japan

Depending on details of your business plan, you need to obtain several permit from several authorities.

(Public health center, Fire department, Police department, Tax office, Labor standard inspection bureau, social insurance office)
As for details, you can refer to this page⇒

Authority : Public health center

Name of processobjecttiming of application

( hokenjo )Application for permit of restaurant business (shokuhin eigyou kyoka shinsei)    
all restaurant10 days prior to completion of restaurant

Authority : Fire department

Notification of appointment of fire prevention manager
Restaurant with capacity of 30 or more    Prior to commencement of operation of business
Notification of commencement of usage of specified facility
( 防火対象設備使用開始届 )
In the case, you use a part of building.7 days prior to usage.
Notification of commencement of usage of equipment relating to fire.
( 火を使用する設備等の設置届 )  
 In the case you use fire in your facility.    Prior to establishment of equipment

Authority : Police department

Notification of commencement of business that provides alcohol during midnight
( 深夜酒類提供飲食店営業開始届出書)   
In the case, your facility provide alcohol after 12 midnight.    10 days prior to commencement of operation.
Application for permit of Adult entertainment business( 風俗営業許可申請)In the case, your business involves entertainment of male guest.
(hostess bar with female companions )
2 months prior to commencement of operation.

Authority : Tax office

Notification of establishment of office
( 個人事業の開廃業等届出書 )   
In the case, you start your business as individual    within one month after commencement of operation.

Authority : Labor standard inspection bureau ( roudou kijun kantoku sho )

Application for labor insurance.    In the case, you hire employee    Within 10 days after you have hired employee.

Authority : 職業安定所

Public Employment Security Office
= 公共職業安定所
Application for employment insurance    In the case, you hire employeeWithin 10 days after you have hired employee

Authority : social insurance office = しゃかいほけんじむしょ

Application for social insuranceIn the case of legal entity : mandatory
Other than above : voluntary

By the way, if you hope to invite a chef from your home country, the chef needs to obtain Skilled Visa (Gino visa).

So you can refer to this page ➡ How to work as a chef in Japan ?

If I start a food business in Japan. Example of Business Plan

Do you know 焼き鳥大吉 ?  It is a franchise group of Japanese Grilled Chicken Kebab (like seven eleven etc.).
As of 2020, there are about 600 franchisee shops in Japan.
If I become a franchisee of food business, I would like to join this franchise group.
焼き鳥大吉 business model has some good points.
They do not make shop close to station. Because there are many food shop, bar close to station and many of them use red signboard. So even if I start with Red signboard, it will not stand out.
And rental fee of space close to station is very expensive. So I will make food shop in residential area where there are not other food shop, bar.
My customers will be only neighboring persons. So I can not expect many customers. That is why, I will rent small space. I will sustain my food shop only by familiar customers.
In the case of 焼き鳥大吉, operator of each shop needs to prepare food material by himself. So I will purchase necessary materials from neighboring small vegetable shop, meat shop. In this way, I will make personal connection with neighboring persons.
Space of my shop will be 30 square meters and the number of customer seat will be 20. I will hire one part time employee.
Estimated sales amount is 1.5 million yen per month.
This food shop is very small. So I can see every customer’s situation. It is very important to become acquaintance with customers.
And each customers may get acquaintance with other customers. If they can know each other, they will come to my shop to meet with their familiar persons.
焼き鳥大吉 is community based food shop. Even in the case of covid-19 situation, this kind of shop is sustainable. Familiar customers are willing to purchase grilled chicken to eat out.
Actually no franchisee closed their business during situation of corona virus.
In the case of 焼き鳥大吉, franchisee can rent shop space from head office (franchiser) by payment of 1.5 million yen (participation fee). In this case monthly rental fee for franchiser is 270,000 yen.
Cost rate (cost to purchase food material) will be 30% of sales price.
Labor cost for employee will be 15% of sales price, royalty will be 30000 yen per month.
In this way, I will be able to receive 500,000 yen per month.
If this business goes well, I can purchase the shop space from head office. In that case I need to pay 50,000 yen per month instead of 270,000 yen.
And I can hire more employees and start other shop. facebookLinkedin

Delivery of food and law of Japan

Assumed that you are operating a restaurant in Japan. 

You may hope to use motorbike or vehicle to deliver meals to customers.

However in order to use motorbike or vehicle to deliver food, you need to take necessary process.

Actually, two illegal delivery cases were sent to prosecutors office recently.

They delivered meals to customers without necessary notification or permit of government several times.

According to Motor Truck Transportation Business Act (貨物自動車運送事業法), when a person delivers items (including food, beverage) for business purpose by motor bike or car, notification or permit of government is necessary (depending on size of motor bike or car).

The most important matter to start Restaurant Business in Japan

You are going to start Restaurant Business in Japan. However the most important matter is that how you will advertise your Business before you actually start your shop.

If you are going to advertise your business after you actually prepare a Restaurant space, you will encounter difficulties.

Even if you advertise your shop, it will take several months until your prospective customers find you.

So before you actually start your Restaurant, you need to be a famous person to some extent.

If you are going to start food business, you may make excellent meals and post videos in SNS etc. every day for several months (Virtual restaurant).

And you will collect a lot of followers. And when they hope that you start physical restaurant, you will start it.

As for paper works to start food business, you will hire a person who can assist you and you can concentrate on advertisement of your business.