Restaurant License in Thailand

Now if you are considering starting a business in Thailand. Then you will need to be obtained a restaurant license in Thailand. Likewise you should be aware of the risks and take the necessary steps involved. Finally opening a restaurant in Thailand involves several critical considerations. This will include location, market analysis as well as compliance with local regulations.

Restaurant License in Thailand

Restaurant License

The first consideration when opening a retail business is always the location. Without adequate foot traffic, your restaurant will struggle to generate sales. Spend at least two weeks observing potential locations at various times to see which restaurants are busy and when. Additionally, pay attention to the number of patrons and the type of clientele there is also during tourist seasons versus off-seasons. For example, in Pattaya, the customer base can change significantly on weekends and special holidays when many Thai people travel from Bangkok.

Business Registration

Now should you want to start a restaurant in Thailand. Then you will first need to register your business. You will need to complete this step for tax purposes as well as for licensing purposes. Now depending on your turnover, you may also need to register for VAT. The business structure can be a partnership, ordinary partnership, Company Limited (with at least three shareholders), or Limited Partnership (with at least two partners). Consult with a legal expert to determine the best structure for your needs.

Food License

Once your business has been registered. You need to obtain the appropriate food license. The type of license depends on the size of your restaurant:

  • Restaurants under 200m²: Require a certificate of notification.
  • Restaurants over 200m²: Require a food license from the local government or municipality.

Additionally, you must comply with the ministerial regulations on food hygiene (Form S.O.1). The certificate of notification and food license must be publicly displayed, as mandated by the Public Health Act, Section 38.

Food License Application Process

The costs for the licenses are as follows:

  • Certificate of notification: Approximately 1,000 THB.
  • Food license for larger areas: Approximately 3,000 THB.
  • Small takeaway licenses (10m²): Approximately 200 THB.

These prices are subject to change, so check with local authorities for the most current information. The following documents are required for the application:

  • Copy of the applicant’s identification card.
  • Likewise a copy of the applicant’s house registration.
  • Copy of the house registration for the restaurant’s location.
  • Certificate of business registration (if the applicant is a company).
  • Copy of the identification card of the company representative (if applicable).
  • Health examination results or medical certificates for all food-handling employees.
  • Map indicating the location of the establishment.
  • Commercial name of the restaurant.
  • Photographs of the exterior and interior of the restaurant.
  • Detailed interior layout plan.
  • Copy of the lease agreement.
  • The size of the restaurant in square meters.

Staff must pass a food sanitation training course, and you must submit proof of this. Documentation varies by location; for example, in Pattaya, documents are submitted to the Pattaya City Office.


Additional Requirements and Considerations

  • Food Selling Place Hygiene Regulation: You will need to ensure the management of food preparation and serving areas are clean and well-ventilated. Adequate ventilation must be provided.
  • Tobacco Products Control Act: In terms of the Tobacco Act you will need to adhere to regulations for public spaces. This including the separation and clear marking of smoking from non-smoking areas.
  • Management of Toilet Facilities: Likewise you will provide an adequate number of well-maintained toilets. This as is required under the Public Health Act. Note that the number of toilets is typically based on the seating capacity as well as expected number of patrons. Likewise this is usually for establishments that can seat 20 or more people.
  • Environmental Compliance: Note that grease must be filtered before wastewater discharge to meet environmental quality standards. This as which as been outlined in the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act.
  • Management of Dried Foods: Additionally, Ingredients such as seasonings and additives must meet safety standards outlined in the Food Act.
  • Prohibition of Cooking Gas Usage: Note well that cooking gas is prohibited as a fuel source for food preparation on tables or in dining areas. Likewise methanol or methyl alcohol is also prohibited for food preparation and cooking.
  • Advertisements: Must adhere to specified rules and obtain proper permissions. Non-compliant advertisements may be ordered for removal or alteration by local officials. Advertisements containing content detrimental to public order, morality, or obscene content can lead to criminal charges. See also the signboard tax in Thailand.
  • Zoning Compliance: Ensure your business complies with local zoning laws. Issues related to light and sound can result in conflicts with the local administration.
  • Alcohol License: To sell alcohol in the country, an alcohol license. You as the business owner will need to complete the forms at the Excise Department. This would be where the business is located and pay the annual fee. In Thailand, obtaining an Alcohol License Type 2 for restaurants or retail shops involves different annual fees based on the establishment’s VAT registration status:


For establishments without VAT registration, the annual fee is 330 THB.
For establishments with VAT registration, the annual fee is 2,200 THB.


This differentiation ensures that businesses contributing to the VAT system pay a higher fee for the privilege of selling alcohol.


Renewal Process

You will note that your restaurant license is valid for one year. This has to be renewed annually. It will not however be as difficult at the the first application. Renewal is simpler than the initial application: you only need to complete Form Sor.5 and pay the renewal fee.

Legal Compliance and Penalties

Likewise when operating without a license will result in fines or imprisonment under the Public Health Act, Liquor Act, and Building Control Act. In addition when you are not displaying your license can lead to imprisonment of up to 3 months and a fine of up to 25,000 THB. Additionally, failing to collect the restaurant license within 15 days of issuance will result in its cancellation.

Other Licenses and Regulations

  • Alcohol and Tobacco Licenses: Necessary if you plan to serve alcohol or sell tobacco products.
  • Entertainment License: Required for live music, dancing, or other entertainment activities.
  • Signboard Tax: Applicable if you have a sign outside your business.
  • Health Hazard Business: Needed if you store large quantities of flammable materials like cooking gas or certain food products. See the Health Hazard Legislation.
  • VAT Registration: Required if your annual revenue exceeds 1.8 million THB.


By addressing these considerations and ensuring compliance with all legal requirements, you can successfully open and operate a restaurant in Thailand.

The information contained in our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advices. For further information, please contact us.

Living in Thailand

See above if you wish to start a starting a restaurant in Thailand. You will need to ensure that you have a alcohol license for Thailand as well as You might also want to look at the business license for Pattaya on which I have also explained above. Should you have any questions then speak to us online or in person as a well-known business law firm in Thailand.