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Hotel and catering industry

Business start-ups in the hotel and restaurant industry seem to be comparatively simple as no professional or commercial qualifications are legally stipulated for self-employed persons in the hotel and catering industry. Furthermore the catering and accommodation sector provides scope for new creative concepts.

A normal business registration is however is not enough when setting up a new business in the hotel and catering industry. It is a trade which requires a licence .

You need a licence as soon as you want to run a restaurant or bar services in which your guests consume the prepared food and drinks directly on the premises. You may also only run a hotel restaurant or a hotel bar serving alcohol, which is accessible to the general public, with a licence. If on the other hand you provide accommodation facilities and only offer alcohol to house guests and their guests, then you do not need a licence. The same applies if you do not want to serve any alcohol at all.

The restaurant licence has to be applied for at the trade supervisory office (Gewerbeamt) responsible for your business premises. You many only register your trade after you have got it. The licence is only valid for your specific business (business premises) and also for you personally as the licensee.

If you take over an existing business, then the licensing authorities can grant you a three-month temporary restaurant licence, even if you have not presented all the required documents. More information can be found in the procedure descriptions.

Note: Founders in the hotel and restaurant industry have to provide proof that they have completed seminars at a Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Industrie- und Handelskammer) (IHK). The IHK thus certifies that they successfully participated in a seminar on legal food and hygiene requirements.

Business start-up vouchers for the hotel and restaurant industry the Wirtschaftsministerium in Baden-Württemberg and the DEHOGA Baden-Württemberg provide a start-up package for founders in the hotel and restaurant industry with their "Business start-up vouchers - Hotel and restaurant industry". They can use these vouchers to get advice and support from professionals in the industry already at an early stage and to give them a more secure feeling in the start-up phase. The offers which they can use with these vouchers are free of charge or strongly reduced due to subsidies from the Federal State or DEHOGA.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wirtschaftsministerium released it on 23.09.2019. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.

In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.