Companies involved into a restaurant business must obtain the permission from the Thai government prior commencing their operations.
If the restaurant will not exceed 200 square meters, the applicant must only notify the local government and a certificate of notification will be issued within 7 days from the date of notification.
In case the area is bigger than 200 square meters, the applicant must apply for a restaurant (food) license at the district office responsible for the area in which the restaurant is located. The applicant must also check if the construction permit for the building in which the restaurant is located allows to operate such business. Once the application is accepted, the restaurant will be inspected by the officials.
The restaurant staff will be required to take a test of 50 multiple choice questions concerning the maintenance standards and hygiene in the restaurant (they have to answer at least 40 questions correctly), and provide a medical certificate.
If the documents, the inspection, and the staff test results meet the officials’ requirements, a restaurant license will be issued within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application. At this stage, the government fee will have to be paid.
If the officials refuse to issue the license, the applicant has a right to appeal within 30 days from the date of refusal.
Once the license is issued, it must be displayed in a visible place and can be used only in that jurisdiction. Small restaurants located in a food court or market must comply with specific rules.
The food license must be renewed annually before its expiration date.
The officials have the authority to withdraw or suspend the license for no more than 15 days if the license holder fails to comply with all the conditions specified in the license or the provisions regarding the public health.
Restaurant business owners must also apply for an alcohol license if they plan to sell alcohol, and a construction permit. Operating without a license constitutes a violation of the Thai laws and regulations, and the operators will be punished by fine and/or imprisonment.