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What to consider when opening a restaurant in Hesse? – Overview

Anyone who wants to open a restaurant in Hessen must observe many laws and regulations before and after the restaurant opens.

In Hesse, it is not necessary to obtain a permit to operate a restaurant. However, there is an obligation to notify the responsible authority (Public Order Office or Trade Office) in the city where the restaurant is to be opened.

The notification must take place before the restaurant opens!

The opening of a restaurant is generally governed by the Hessian Restaurant Act (Hessisches Gaststättengesetz - HGastG). Furthermore, the regulations of construction law, hygiene law, food law, construction planning law, fire protection, operational safety, infection protection law and special municipal regulations etc.) must be observed.

Since the opening of a restaurant in Hesse does not require a permit, compliance with the regulations is only checked afterwards.

However, we strongly recommend that you enquire with the relevant authorities when planning the opening of the restaurant and clarify whether the legal requirements are actually being met. If mandatory legal requirements are not complied with, the restaurant may even be prohibited by the authorities. You would then have made investments in a restaurant that is practically not allowed to be run.

You should therefore observe the following important points and regulations in advance:

1.    Serving of alcohol

If you want to serve alcohol in your restaurant, the following special requirements must be observed:Deadline for notifying the restaurant: at least six weeks before the opening: Documents to be submitted with the notification (not older than 3 month):


  • Application of Certificate of conduct
  • Request for Information from the central trade register
  • Extract from the Insolvency Court
  • Extract from the enforcement court
  • Certification in tax matters

You must also offer non-alcoholic beverages. At least one non-alcoholic drink shall not be offered at a higher price than the cheapest alcoholic drink.

2.    Construction requirements

There are different requirements in the local authorities for any parking spaces required for motor vehicles and the number or size of guest toilets, which are regularly based on the number of seats and are at the discretion of the authorities. It is recommended to contact the construction and licensing authorities as early as possible.

3.    Instruction in accordance with the infection protection law / health certificate

Every employee in catering establishments who produces, treats or sells food needs to be instructed in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz) by the public health department or a licensed doctor before starting work for the first time. This means that the health certificate must be available on the first day of work. A health certificate is required in particular by kitchen staff, waiters, dishwashers and cleaning staff in the kitchen. The employer must provide new instructions once a year. The instruction is liable to pay costs.

4.    Registration of the company with the employers' liability insurance association (Berufsgenossenschaft)

The employees are compulsorily insured. As restaurant operator, you have to take care of the occupational health and safety management of your business in accordance with the accident prevention regulations of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV). Within 6 months after opening, you must provide proof of the safety and occupational medical care to the professional association.

5.    Conclusion of the necessary insurances

There are many insurances that are useful and necessary (e.g. fire protection, business interruption, liability). This should be checked carefully before opening the restaurant.

6.    GEMA, GEZ 

If music is to be played in the restaurant (including radio or television), registration with the GEMA is mandatory.

At GEZ, all establishments are subject to contributions and must be registered, regardless of whether or not equipment (e.g. radio, TV) is available.

7.    Price Indication Ordinance (PAngV), Allergen labeling

In addition, you must observe the requirements of the Price Indication Ordinance (PAngV) and allergen labelling.

8.    Protection of minors

A notice of the Youth Protection Act (Jugendschutzgesetz) in the guest room is mandatory. No alcohol, except beer and wine, may be sold to young people under 18 years of age.

9.    Minimum wage

In Germany, a statutory minimum wage of currently 9.35 per hour applies. In this context, special documentation requirements, employment contract design, requirements for working time accounts and questions of the creditability of further benefits must be strictly observed.

10.  Non-smoker protection

Smoking in restaurants in Hessen is strictly prohibited. However, there are exceptions for so-called one-room restaurants and the establishment of separate smoking rooms in restaurants with more than one room, under certain conditions. In addition to these important regulations, there are other rules that must be observed (e.g. curfew).

In order to avoid problems later on, we will be pleased to assist you already in the planning phase with the correspondence with the responsible authorities, check the requirements for compliance with the legal regulations, help you to fill in the forms and submit the notification to the city and advise you accordingly.


Furthermore, we will assist you in implementing the employment law regulations and draft the employment contracts for you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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