Opening Your Restaurant Step One: Schedule a Preliminary Site Plan Meeting

Once you have selected a potential site for your restaurant, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Department of Building and Zoning Services One Stop Shop section to schedule a Preliminary Site Plan Meeting. The City of Columbus has created this outstanding resource where various City departments provide free feedback on all aspects of your proposed development, including what permits you will need, if a zoning variance may be required, and how much parking your site will require, among many other factors. Did we mention that it is FREE? During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to discuss the permitting and licensing steps necessary in Step Three: Acquiring the Necessary Licenses for Your Restaurant. But first, we encourage you to become familiar with the following information:

One Stop Shop and Zoning Resources:

•     Department of Building and Zoning Services 
•     Requirements for Submittal of Site Compliance Plan (PDF) 
•     Site Compliance Plan Checklist (PDF) 
•     Commercial Site Plan Approval Process (PDF) 

Additional Resources for Restaurants: •     City of Columbus's Economic Development Financial Assistance
•     City of Columbus Planning Division Area Plans & Demographic Information - Information on various planning areas, area commissions and historic districts.
•     Central Ohio Restaurant Association (CORA)

Lastly, knowing who you are going to serve is more important than knowing what you are going to serve to your customers. For that reason, take some time to review the varying demographics of our city generated by the 2010 Census. This data can be an invaluable resource to helping you find the best location for your restaurant in Columbus!
•     United States Census Population Map

Continue to Step Two: Design and Construct Your Restaurant