Avoid Common Pitfalls When Buying or Selling a BC Liquor LicenseDecember 15, 2020
Does Your Cannabis License Consultant Understand Your Business?February 12, 2021
If you’re starting a restaurant and want to serve drinks by the glass, you’ll need to complete a BC liquor license application, specifically, a Food Primary license. Liquor license application approval is the first of many hurdles for start-ups. Another hurdle that can cause stumbles is costs. Once your application is approved, a cascade of fees follows for design plans, municipal licenses and fees, public consultation, property lease or purchase, and build costs.
If you or business partners are do-it-yourselfers, you’ll also want to budget time. Your valuable time will be slowly consumed by applications, letters, document provision, meetings, and educating yourself about the many details involved in BC liquor licensing. For these reasons, many Food Primary start-ups choose to hire Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors. Although our services are another fee to pay along the way, our work saves you time, and stress.
BC Liquor Licensing Costs for Restaurants
Following are the costs associated with obtaining a BC Food Primary liquor license.
Budget Expected Costs
|Food Primary license application fee||$950 (includes first year licensing fees)|
|Design/architect plans||$2500-3000 (depending on the extend of the build and city requirements)|
|City approval for seating capacity||$250-500 (varies depending on which city)|
|Possible land-use/zoning changes||$5000 or more (plus 6-8 months wait time)|
|Approval for hours open past midnight, or dancing.||$2500-4000 (depending on which city)|
|Total expected costs range||$11,200 to $13,450|
Unexpected Variable Costs
- Legal fees: set up of company and lease review.
- Consultant fees: if using Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors to help with the liquor license application.
- Build out costs and signage costs: these vary depending upon concept, location, and kitchen equipment.
- A contingency reserve: of approximately 25% of your overall budget should be set aside for unexpected costs such as ongoing lease costs during “fixturing” or other unexpected or hidden fees. If you don’t use your contingency reserve, great! BUT build it into your budget so you aren’t caught short.
- Time: for basic Food Primary license application (no liquor service past midnight, no dancing) it can take 4-6 weeks of processing time at BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch. If there are problems with the application (missing information, missing documents, invalid applicants), the process can take much longer.
Applying for a Food Primary License? Breathe. We got this.
Starting a restaurant is hard work and starting a restaurant with liquor service is even tougher. At Thrive, we do the “hard work” that increases the chances of BC liquor license application approval and a successful restaurant. Our experience and dedication to your success will make your life much easier, so you can run your business and reap the rewards. Get Thrive on your side! Take advantage of our free consultation.