Legal Challenges You and Your Restaurant Will Face

Posted by Tara Stanton

4 Common Regulatory Concerns Every Restaurant Should Prepare For

The challenges that come with running a successful restaurant — profit margin, desirable product, advertising, etc. — aren’t the only thing you have to worry about. But we've chosen to work in the food industry, and that means that in addition to these essential concerns, our businesses are subject to a whole series of government regulations as well.

Complying with all of the applicable regulations can be a challenge in and of itself, and if you own multiple locations, each must be completely compliant. To help you manage this task, we’ve included some of the most common legal challenges restaurants face, as well as simple steps you can take and resources you can use to ensure your restaurants remain up to code.

1. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA has historically been one of the most challenging acts for restaurants to follow, but not because they don’t want to; simply put, there are just a lot of pieces to the act. It’s also very easy for many restaurant owners and operators to miss obvious ADA concerns — like accessibility issues — because most able-bodied people don't face these obstacles in daily life. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has compiled a wonderful resource entitled: “How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Services Employers.” This should be a must-read for any restaurateur. In addition, it’s also worth researching local audit options and bringing in a professional to help you identify any areas where your restaurants may not be ADA compliant.

2. Tax considerations

Doing your own taxes is hard enough, and it gets even more difficult when you’re trying to manage the taxes for your business. Hiring an accountant to take over this task is wise. If you choose to go it alone, though, make sure you consult the IRS’s Restaurant Tax Center.

3. Hiring concerns

Hiring a new employee isn’t so simple as selecting the best candidate. You also have government regulations to worry about, particularly as they pertain to juvenile and immigrant workers. Consult your state’s website for local regulations that may apply to your business. For Federal regulations, the Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor is a great place to start.

4. The FDA and public health

The regulations of the Food and Drug Administration and public health may be most important of all when it comes to the restaurant industry. The quality of the product we serve, and how it is prepared and advertised in the menu are all regulated. If you’re a veteran of the restaurant industry, you already understand what must be done to get a passing score from the health inspector. FDA regulations, however, may be more confusing. If you have questions about how to comply with FDA requirements, this resource can help

Running a chain of restaurants can be a rewarding experience, but it is not without its challenges — and some of those challenges come from concerns outside your walls. If you take the time to learn about the regulations that impact your business and you make sure to comply with code to the best of your ability, you'll be able to enjoy a compliant and profitable business.

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