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

This guide is a general overview of what to expect when starting or growing a restaurant or mobile food business in the City of Seattle. 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.

Explore the Path to Opening Your Restaurant (click map below)

Mobile Food Vending

The process for opening a mobile food vending business has different requirements and regulations. Check out our Mobile Food Vending page to explore the path to opening a mobile food vending business in Seattle.


Time & Cost

Because each restaurant is unique, we can’t predict exactly how long it will take or how much it will cost to open your restaurant. The “time and cost” estimates throughout this guide will help you plan, but always consult with the appropriate department or agency for current information.

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 at the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development, (206) 684-3436 or Jennifer.tam@seattle.gov.

City of Seattle logo King County State of Washingtonregulatory-roadmap-logo1 Seattle Restaurant Alliance