Restaurant Success


Seattle is a hotbed of exciting and successful restaurants and food businesses. This guide makes it easier to navigate through the rules and requirements you'll face as you start or grow your own restaurant or mobile food business in the welcoming, thriving city we call home!

This guide is a general overview of what to expect - but every restaurant and mobile food business is unique, so your situation may result in slightly different timeframes, costs, and specific requirements. Our FAQ page may also help answer some of your questions as you navigate through the different steps.

Mobile Food Businesses

Taqueria El Rincon

Food trucks and other mobile options are a popular way to get started or expand operations in the food industry. Learn about the unique requirements for these businesses.

Business Planning

Kaffa Coffee, Seattle

Incomplete planning is a leading cause of new business failure. A thorough business plan will help make your business concept a reality. These resources will help you plan.

Choose a Location

Tractor Coffee, Seattle

Finding the right kind of space and location for your restaurant is key to your success. Here's what you need to know before you sign a lease.

Get Licensed

Loretta's Northwesterner, Seattle

Know what to expect (including costs and estimated timelines) when registering and applying for licenses for your business.

Get the Right Permits

Toyoda Sushi, Seattle

You've completed your business planning, applied for licenses, and selected a location. Now it's time to transform your space - first securing the necessary permits.

Final Steps

Jose's Taqueria, Seattle

You're almost ready to open! Here's what you need to know for hiring and training employees and getting your final inspections and approvals.

You're Open! Now What?

Beach Bakery, Seattle

Congratulations - you did it! Keep your business on the right track by filing the necessary reports, paying taxes, and renewing licenses and permits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Napoli Pizzeria, Seattle

Lots of questions come up when opening or expanding your restaurant or mobile food business. We're happy to share these answers with you.

About Us

The City of Seattle, King County, State of Washington and the restaurant community are working together to improve the regulatory experience of starting and operating restaurants in Seattle. We're here to help! This guide clarifies the city, county, state, and federal requirements you'll face as you prepare for your first customers.

We're also working to reduce conflicting or overlapping requirements - all while continuing to protect the health and safety of your customers and employees.

We want to hear about your experience starting and growing a Seattle restaurant - contact Jennifer Tam, the City's Restaurant Advocate, at (206) 684-3436 or

  City of Seattle logo           King County logo     State of Washington logo  WA State Dept of Commerce - Regulatory Roadmap logo  Seattle Restaurant Alliance logo  

If your organization is interested in receiving Restaurant Success brochures to share with your community, contact Jennifer Tam.

Have Questions?

Contact our Restaurant Advocate for assistance: Jennifer Tam,, 206.684.3436.

We have over-the-phone interpretation support available in over 200 languages!

If you would like interpretation support, please let us know by emailing or calling us with the language you need and the best phone number to reach you.