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Open a Restaurant in Italy

Updated on Friday 31st January 2020

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Open_a_restaurant_in_Italy.jpg.jpgItaly has managed to conquer the world in a rather surprising way: through its culinary greatness. Italian restaurants can be found all around the world and many people are in love with the Italian cuisine. But what better place to open an Italian restaurant than in Italy?
 
Because Italy is a very important tourism destination, cities like Rome can never have too many restaurants. And foreign investors have many options when it comes to investing in a food business in Italy: Italian food is not the only type of food preferred by locals and tourists.
 
Our company formation agents in Italy can guide you step by step through the process of opening a restaurant: from the initial phase, when you must obtain the necessary permits, and until you are ready to open your new establishment.
 

What to think about when opening a restaurant in Italy

 
In major cities like Rome or Milan, the location of the restaurant can be very important. However, small and charming restaurants can often be more appealing to tourists than large ones. Before deciding on the location and purchasing a property, investors should study the market in that area and determine if other existing restaurants will compete with their own. Investors can consider working with a real estate agent during the phase in which they are searching for a suitable location. Once this is chosen, one of our agents who specialize in company formation in Italy will be able to assist you with the following steps, starting with registering the legal entity.
 
If you do not want to open a new restaurant, franchising is another good option. You would have the benefit of an already established name, but the costs for buying the franchise should be well put into balance. The next important step is to decide on the type of food and the services that will be provided by the new restaurant. Establishments that serve liquor need to obtain additional liquor licenses for the area in which they function.
 

The restaurant business plan

 
The success of a restaurant in Italy will depend on many factors. However, it is important that investors start with a well-documented business plan. The list below presents some of the key points that should be taken into consideration by those who wish to open a company in Italy and start a restaurant.
 
  • - The restaurant concept: the name of the restaurant, brand identity, short and long-term goals.
  • - Market analysis: industry, competition and marketing analysis, the target market, the existing competitors and an outline of the marketing plan.
  • - Menu design: the most important element for a new restaurant, will include main courses and pricing.
  • - Restaurant design: the aesthetic of the restaurant, the general theme as well as plans for renovation/construction when needed.
  • -  Location: the area in which the restaurant will be located, a key element and one that should be in line with the target clientele. 
  • -  Employees: the restaurant management team as well as the number of employees needed to run the establishment.
 
Working with an accountant can be important for investors as he will help calculate the costs of opening a restaurant and the estimated future costs once the business is running. A professional will also be able to offer a profit and loss analysis for the first years, which are typically the most important ones for the business. When investors are counting on external aid for financing a new restaurant, they should also prepare a financial analysis and prepare a realistic estimate of the calculations.
 
It is advisable to prepare the restaurant business plan before commencing company incorporation in Italy, as this stage will also involve separate costs. Investors can adapt their business plan according to the specifics of the restaurant, be it a breakfast restaurant, a restaurant, and bar or sports restaurant. 
 

Open a company in Italy

 
Company formation in Italy is the main step when deciding to open a restaurant. The company name can be different from that of the establishment, however, the registered name and the tax identification number will appear on invoices and on the receipt offered to the customers. Local and foreign investors can work with our team of specialists during this step. 
 
Below, we present the main steps for opening a company in Italy:
 
  1. Choose the company type: this can be a limited liability company, S.r.l. or a stock company, S.p.A.
  2. Choose the company name: it needs to be unique and it can be checked before the registration commences.
  3. Prepare the company documents: the Articles of Association as well as any director statements, accompanied by the company founder’s identification documents.
  4. Open a bank account: a corporate bank account where the minimum share capital for the business will be deposited.
  5. Prepare for registration: the documents, along with a registration application are submitted to the Italian Business Register.
 

Licenses and permits necessary for restaurants in Italy

 
Investors cannot open a restaurant in Italy without obtaining the necessary permits and licenses. Like any business that deals with producing and distributing food, restaurants are obliged to observe strict hygiene norms. According to the city or area in which the restaurant will operate, investors have to obtain licenses from the City Council and from the Health Office. Food business operators in the European Union must observe the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system (HACCP) introduced by the Codex Alimentarius, the code for international food standards.
 
Restaurants in Italy will function as a locally registered company, this means that the owners will need to comply with the conditions for company incorporation in Italy. The business needs to be registered at the local Trade Register and also comply with the applicable taxation rules.
 
Our company formation agents in Italy can help you obtain the necessary permits and licenses and observe the VAT registration in Italy requirements.
 

Conditions for foreign investors in Italy

 
Foreign investors are permitted to open a restaurant in Italy and they will have the same rights and obligations as local investors. This means that they will need to comply with company incorporation in Italy and then with the licensing requirements. Special requirements for foreign restaurant owners in Italy will apply if these individuals decide to move to the country in order to manage the business or spend long periods of time as needed for the business. In this case, non-EU citizens will need to obtain a permit or visa. The investor visa for nationals outside of EU is usually the most suitable option for foreign nationals who wish to open a restaurant and, when they comply with the requirements, applicants can receive a two-year investor visa for Italy. It is important to understand the investment requirements in this case as well as the other conditions for eligibility. We recommend that investors further explore their options for obtaining a visa.
 
According to a report from 2014, the consumer foodservice statistic was the following:
 
  • - Full-service restaurants: 103,934 independent ones and 807 chained ones.
  • - Cafes or bars: 148,333 independent ones and 2,293 chained ones.
  • - Home delivery: 17,376 independent establishments and 400 chained ones.
 
Please contact us for more details about company formation in Italy and the requirements for different types of businesses.
 
 

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