Caterer

Find out what you need to know to open a catering company in Minneapolis.

Create a plan

Learn the steps needed to begin your business.

Research the process

Planning, launching and running a business is a lot of work. Review the necessary steps required to start a business.

View the 10 steps to start your business

Connect with a small business consultant

Building a relationship with a small business consultant can be a crucial step in your journey as an entrepreneur. The Minneapolis Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) is able to connect you to business training, support and advice for opening your business. 

See if you qualify for the Small Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP)

Write a business plan

Starting a business can be expensive. You will need to have enough money to run your business for at least the first several months without relying on a profit. Using calculations from your business plan, determine how much capital you will need to start to ensure your business will start and run successfully.

Learn how to build a better business plan

Secure financing for your business

Connect with a lender from a community bank, credit union or community development financial institution.

Determine if you qualify for any of the City’s financing resources

Lenders will want to see that you have some initial capital invested in your business before underwriting a loan.

See business support programs from the City

Choose a location

Explore different kitchen types to determine which location is best for your business needs.

Visit the Minneapolis Development Review Customer Service Center

Meet a Development Coordinator (DC) who will provide ongoing guidance on all regulatory requirements for opening your restaurant in Minneapolis.

Learn more about Minneapolis Development Review Services

Find a location

Get your new business location approved by zoning before signing your lease. 

See zoning maps

Request Sewer Availability Charge (SAC) 

You must pay a fee for the waste water your business will generate:

  • This fee can be high, so get an estimate early to plan for the cost.
  • It can take 10-15 days to receive your SAC determination letter once you request it.
  • Find out if you qualify for the City's SAC deferral program for small businesses.

Read the SAC basics for business and property owners

Review American with Disability Act (ADA) guidelines

Make sure the location you’ve chosen is accessible and meets all ADA requirements. 

Get ADA information and assistance

Contact the neighborhood business association

Locate the neighborhood business association where your new business will be located to get their support and learn about the resources they offer small businesses. 

See the list of business associations

Sign your lease

Before you sign, ensure the kitchen you will be using meets all license requirements.

Read the City's requirements related to food and restaurants including community kitchens

Register your business

All businesses in Minnesota must be registered with the Secretary of State. Make sure you follow every step so your business is registered properly.

Verify your business name

You can use the Secretary of State Online Business Services page to check name availability. 

Check business name availability

Choose a business structure

Decide what type of business structure is right for your business. 

Organize your business

Register your business with the MN Secretary of State

Businesses must register with the State of Minnesota:

  • Limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • Corporations
  • Nonprofits
  • Limited Partnerships

Register your business

File a Certificate of Assumed Name

You will need to file a Certificate of Assumed Name if you will be using a business name other than:

  • Your given name
  • The names of your partners
  • The officially registered name of your LLC or corporation

See the types of Minnesota businesses

Apply for a MN Tax ID and a Federal Employer ID Number

Before you begin withholding state taxes, you must register for a Minnesota tax ID number. If you fail to register prior to withholding Minnesota taxes, you may be subject to a $100 penalty. A Minnesota Tax ID and a Federal Employer ID Number are used to identify your business. If you are a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your Social Security Number instead. 

Register for a Minnesota tax ID and a Federal employer ID number

Research the insurance you will need

New businesses often need insurance, such as:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Liability
  • Disability insurance

If you will have employees besides yourself and members of your immediate family, you need workers compensation insurance. Your policy number is required to complete your business license application. If you register your business before choosing a final location, you will have to update your registration with the new address.

Read about required insurance

Get your license

Review the steps to receive and maintain a license.

Meet with a Business Licensing customer service representative

Meet with a Business Licensing customer service representative to go over the requirements for the business license type you will need. Until you get your business license, your establishment cannot:

  • Open
  • Operate
  • Serve the public  

See how to get help at the City of Minneapolis service center

Food and restaurants licensing and permits

Kitchen options include:

  • Institutional kitchen: Churches, or other community institutions like schools, often have large, health-inspected kitchens that are not always in use. They may be willing to rent you space during off times.
  • Restaurant kitchen: Some restaurants are willing to rent out their kitchen space during times when they are not open.
  • Shared commercial kitchen: This can be a good option if you are looking for some additional business support in addition to kitchen space. Often, shared commercial kitchens are connected to business support organizations.
  • Private commercial kitchen: If your operation is larger and you need a dedicated kitchen space you don’t have to share with anyone else, look into leasing out your own private commercial kitchen.

See the City's food-related businesses licensing requirements

Review the business license application

Opening a food business in Minneapolis requires a business license.

Review the business license application process

Complete Food Plan Review application

All new food businesses need a food plan review approved by the City. 

Complete a Food Plan Review application

Make a plan to have a certified food manager on site

Minnesota state law requires that a certified food manager be present on site at all times when your restaurant is operating. Certification requires a day-long class in food safety.

See the certified food manager requirements

Gather documents you will need for your license application

The application may require documents, such as:

  • A proposed menu
  • A floor plan for your space
  • Your food plan review

Submit all required documents and fees to your Development Coordinator

Upon document submittal, your Development Coordinator will forward your documents to the appropriate City departments for review and approval. They will be your main point of contact throughout the regulatory process.

 

Additional information

Review and consider all requirements when starting your business.

Employee hiring

Be sure to follow all wage and employment guidelines. 

Customer base expansion

Creating a marketing plan is a great first step to identify who your potential customers are and how to connect with them. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of resources to help you think through what you should include in your marketing plan. 

Get marketing and sales tips

Business sign or awning

Make sure your business follows size and location requirements. If you don’t own your building, work with your landlord to put up a new sign or awning. Sign permits are only issued to sign contractors licensed by the City. 

Know the sign permits rules

Green programs investments

The City of Minneapolis offers Cost Sharing awards up to $100,000 for businesses willing to invest in cleaner, greener, or more efficient technologies.

Learn about the Green Cost Share program

Changes to your business

To add a piece of equipment or additional seating to your business, meet with your Development Coordinator. You may need to:

  • Update your SAC determination
  • Submit a new food plan
  • Get an additional license

Call 311 if you have questions. They will connect you with the right person at the City.

Contact 311

After opening

Review the steps you need to complete once your business is open and running.

Post all required posters and permits

Your business license, occupant load, and required state labor law permits and posters need to be posted in your business. 

Download free posters

Mark your calendar

Schedule equipment maintenance and set reminders to renew your permits and licenses as needed.

Renew your business license

Your business license must be renewed annually.

View the City of Minneapolis Business Licensing Renewal Process video

Pay pollution control annual billing

Your business is required to pay an annual fee for any equipment that has an impact on the environment. 

Pollution Control Annual Registration

Be prepared for health inspections

Your first routine inspection will be scheduled within 60 days of opening. Inspectors will arrive unannounced. Be sure you are always following food safety practices by regularly completing a self-inspection. 

Lookup a health inspection report

Prepare and pay your local, state, and federal taxes

Businesses must meet federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. Your business structure and location will influence taxes your business has to pay.

Learn more about business taxes

Expand your business

The City offers financing that can be used to help you cover costs of expansion, such as equipment. If you plan to expand, make sure to connect with your Development Coordinator who can guide you through any regulatory steps.

Contact us

Small Business Team

Community Planning & Economic Development

Phone

612-673-2499

Address

Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415