City of Manchester, NH Official Website

Start a Restaurant

Getting Started

 
Location Review

When you are thinking of starting a restaurant, the first thing to do is decide on a location. Before committing to one (ie. Signing a lease or purchasing), it is extremely important to find out if the location is appropriate for the use. Of course if you are taking over or changing over an existing restaurant, this would not necessarily be an issue. Depending on the location and type of restaurant you want, there can be a lot of factors at play and questions to answer.

  • Is the use allowed in the Zoning District?

  • Is there parking available on-site?

  • How many seats are you contemplating?

  • Will you be serving alcohol?

It is highly recommended that you set up a meeting with Planning staff to determine the answers to these questions before fully committing to a location as the outcome will determine your next steps. For instance, there may be a regulatory approval such as a Zoning Board or Planning Board action needed before permits can be issued.

Brief description about the process with a link to the check-off list.

Forms


Useful Links


Contact Information

City of Manchester
Planning and Community Development

One City Hall Plaza, West Wing
Manchester, NH 03101

Phone: (603) 624-6450
Fax: (603) 624-6324
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Website Shortcut:
www.manchesternh.gov/pcd

 
Plan Review

Once you have received approval for the location of your restaurant from the Planning and Community Development Department, you will need to contact the Health Department, Fire Department and Building Division to discuss plan review.

 
Health
  1. APPLICANT SHOULD CONTACT THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO BEGIN THE PROCESS
    The Health Department Environmental Health Specialist’s (Inspectors) are assigned by region. Please refer to the current Map to determine your contact. If you are not sure, any of the staff are happy to assist you with general questions about the process. Staff is in the office every day from 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, other- wise they are in the field conducting inspections. A supervisor is available at other times to answer general questions.

  2. SUBMITS 4 SETS OF FLOOR PLANS TO THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT
    Once you have determined a location, Floor plans should be drawn to scale and include exits, plumbing specs, bathroom locations, and equipment type and locations. Include the scale on the plans. Please see the Plan Review Checklist for additional detail.

  3. THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT WILL REVIEW THE PLANS FOR HEALTH DEPARTMENT APPROVAL
    Once the floor plans have been reviewed, the District (See MAP) Environmental Health Specialist (Inspector) will contact the applicant with any comments for revision or provide them with three sets of the stamped, approved plans and a Sign-off Sheet (yellow).

    • Applicants should allow 3 working days for an inspector to review the plans.

    • Applicants may be required to amend floor plans and resubmit them to the Health Department with revisions

    • If other City Department’s require changes to these Health Department approved plans the Department staff will contact the Health Department

  4. APPLICANT PICKS UP AND DELIVERS THE PLANS.
    The applicant will pick up the three sets of approved plans at the Health Department and keep one set.

    The applicant will then deliver one set to the Fire Department (located on the corner of Merrimack and Pine Streets) and obtain the necessary permits (hood suppression, fire alarm, sprinkler).

    The applicant will then deliver one set of plans and the yellow Sign-off Sheet to the Building Department (located on the 2nd Floor of City Hall-One City Hall Plaza-West Wing) and obtain the necessary permits (construction, electrical, plumbing, mechanical).

    The Applicant will visit the Office of the City Clerk to obtain Business License Paperwork.

    Please refer to the Opening a Restaurant Checklist document to assure that you have taken the appropriate steps.

Forms and Applications


Codes and Regulations


Useful Links


Contact Information

Manchester Health Department
Environmental Health

1528 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: (603) 624-6466
Fax: (603) 628-6004
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Website:
www.manchesternh.gov/health

 
Building Division

In order to open a restaurant, a variety of permits and licenses may be required depending on the scope of the proposal. For each of them, plans are typically needed to ensure compliance with applicable codes and ordinances.

Plans should be legible and concise, drawn to a scale that can be checked and they should contain all the information and details necessary to carry out a complete review. Depending on the complexity of the project, the services of a professional may be needed.

Review times can also vary depending on complexity. Plan on 3 to 5 days for minor projects, and 2 to 3 weeks for major ones.

Useful Links


Contact Information

City of Manchester
Planning and Community Development

One City Hall Plaza, West Wing
Manchester, NH 03101

Phone: (603) 624-6450
Fax: (603) 624-6324
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Website Shortcut:
www.manchesternh.gov/pcd

 
Fire

This information is provided to help you prepare for the necessary inspection(s) in starting your restaurant/business. Please contact the Manchester Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau at (603) 669-2256 if you have further questions.

Working with your design professional on the space will help you to determine what life safety systems will be required to be installed prior to calling for your final inspection. The City of Manchester enforces the NFPA, 101-2009 Edition, NFPA, 1-2009 Edition and IFC, 2006 Edition (City of Manchester Fire Prevention Code). Please consult the “Place of Assembly” links for specifics if your restaurant will have an occupant load of more then 50 people.

At a minimum the following are required of all occupancy’s:

NFPA 101, 2009 Edition.

  • Means of Egress
    Chapter 7.4.1.1-the number of means of egress from any balcony, mezzanine, story, or portion of thereof shall be not less then TWO.

    Chapter 7.9 Emergency Lighting-lighting is required to illuminate the path of egress and provide lighting to the public way. Lighting is required to be arranged to illumination automatically in the event of a failure of power.

    Chapter 7.10 Marking of Means of Egress-all exit doors that obliviously and clearly are identified as exits, shall be marked by an approved internally illumined sign that is readily visible from any direction of exit access.

  • Sprinkler System
    If a sprinkler system is required, please consult the Manchester Fire Prevention Bureau Rules and Regulations for Fixed Fire Protection Systems. The sprinkler system must comply with these requirements and NFPA 13, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler System", 2010 Edition (NFPA 13).

  • Fire Alarm System
    If a fire alarm system is required, please contact the Manchester Fire Department Communications Division Rules and Regulations for Fire Alarms. The fire alarm system must comply with these requirements and NFPA 72, "National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code", 2010 Edition (NFPA 72).

  • Commercial Cooking Operations
    If commercial cooking operations are going to be conducted on site, please consult the Manchester Fire Prevention Bureau Rules and Regulations for Fixed Fire Protection Systems. The commercial cooking operations must comply with these requirements and NFPA 96, “Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations”.

 
 

Permits

 
Building Division

Depending on the scope of the project all or some of the following permits will be required.

  • Building Permit
    (this permit is not available online)

  • Demolition Permit
    (this permit is not available online)

  • Electrical Permit
    When submitting an application, please note that all multi-family dwellings, non owner-occupied single family dwellings and commercial projects require a licensed NH Master electrician. In addition, please provide a brief description of the work to be performed as well as an estimate of the cost.

  • Heating Permit

  • Plumbing Permit
    When submitting an application, please note that all multi-family dwellings, non owner-occupied single family dwellings and commercial projects require a licensed NH plumber.

  • Sign Permit

Please note: Permit Applications can be filled out online however they must be printed, signed and submitted to the Planning and Community Development Department by mail along with the appropriate fees. We do not currently accept applications electronically. (Please note, any fees calculated are subject to change upon review of the application.)

Upon review, approval and payment of fees, an approved permit will be mailed. No applications will be processed which do not contain the required information. No work should be commenced prior to receipt of an approved permit.

Forms


Useful Links


Contact Information

City of Manchester
Planning and Community Development

One City Hall Plaza, West Wing
Manchester, NH 03101

Phone: (603) 624-6450
Fax: (603) 624-6324
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Website Shortcut:
www.manchesternh.gov/pcd

 
Fire

Once all work has been completed on your project, please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 603-669-2256 to setup your inspection. This inspection will be done with the Fire Communications Division if any new fire safety systems were installed with this project. Once all the fire safety systems have passed their inspection, and all other life safety features are inspected the final step will be the issuing of the place of assembly permit for your space or a certificate of inspection if alcohol is going to be served.

Please bring the following to the Fire Prevention Bureau to receive your permit.

  • Fee of $100.00 dollars
  • Completed POA Data Sheet
  • A scaled floor plan with occupant load (if not already submitted).

The Fire Inspector will guide you with this process and answer any questions at the final site inspection.

Useful Links


Contact Information

Manchester Fire Department
Fire Prevention Bureau

100 Merrimack Street
Manchester, NH 03101

Phone: (603) 669-2256
Fax: (603) 665-6802
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Website:
www.manchesternh.gov/fire

 
Health

Unlike other Department permits like “plumbing” and “sprinkler”, the Health Department’s Food Service Permit is issued at the end of the process as it is dependent on permits from the other City Departments(direct the person to the end).

Provide Food Service Permit Application Form.

Permit classification for restaurants is generally determined by seating, but there are some exceptions so please consult with your EHS to determine your classification.

Forms and Applications


Codes and Regulations


Useful Links


Contact Information

Manchester Health Department
Environmental Health

1528 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: (603) 624-6466
Fax: (603) 628-6004
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Website:
www.manchesternh.gov/health

 
Other Non-City Agencies
Alcohol

If you plan to serve alcohol, you must be licensed by the State of New Hampshire

NH Liquor Commission
Division of Enforcement

57 Regional Drive Suite 8
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3521
Website

Rooms and Meals Tax

NH Department of Revenue Administration
109 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 230-5920
Website

 

Inspections

 
Building Division

Requests for inspections are the responsibility of the owner or his/her designee.

All inspections required under the permits issued, including those required by other departments (Fire, Health, Highway), must be final or approved with conditions prior to occupancy.

Same day inspections are scheduled by phone between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for the morning inspections, and again from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon inspections. Contractors must speak directly with the inspectors when making these appointments, and should call the Building Regulations and Code Enforcement Division line at: (603) 624-6475

A rough inspection is required prior to closing walls, ceilings or floors for the following:

  • Footings/Foundation/Framing/Insulation
    Contact Building Inspector

  • Plumbing (in ground and above)
    Contact Plumbing Inspector

  • Electrical (in ground and above)
    Contact Electrical Inspector

  • Mechanical (heating, ventilating and air conditioning)
    Contact Mechanical Inspector

Final inspections are required prior to a building or space being occupied. These include:

  • Building (finishes, means of egress, ADA compliance, fire protection systems)

  • Plumbing (fixtures and systems)

  • Electrical (fixtures and systems)

  • Mechanical (HVAC systems)

  • Life Safety/Fire Protection (sprinkler and alarm systems, means of egress)
    Contact Fire Department

  • All exterior site improvements depicted on approved plans must be inspected prior to a Certificate of Occupancy

Useful Links


Contact Information

City of Manchester
Planning and Community Development

One City Hall Plaza, West Wing
Manchester, NH 03101

Phone: (603) 624-6450
Fax: (603) 624-6324
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Website Shortcut:
www.manchesternh.gov/pcd

 
Fire

This information is provided to help you prepare for the necessary inspection(s) in starting your restaurant/business. Please contact the Manchester Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau at (603) 669-2256 if you have further questions.

Working with your design professional on the space will help you to determine what life safety systems will be required to be installed prior to calling for your final inspection. The City of Manchester enforces the NFPA, 101-2009 Edition, NFPA, 1-2009 Edition and IFC, 2006 Edition (City of Manchester Fire Prevention Code). Please consult the “Place of Assembly” links for specifics if your restaurant will have an occupant load of more then 50 people.

At a minimum the following are required of all occupancy’s:

NFPA 101, 2009 Edition.

  • Means of Egress
    Chapter 7.4.1.1-the number of means of egress from any balcony, mezzanine, story, or portion of thereof shall be not less then TWO.

    Chapter 7.9 Emergency Lighting-lighting is required to illuminate the path of egress and provide lighting to the public way. Lighting is required to be arranged to illumination automatically in the event of a failure of power.

    Chapter 7.10 Marking of Means of Egress-all exit doors that obliviously and clearly are identified as exits, shall be marked by an approved internally illumined sign that is readily visible from any direction of exit access.

  • Sprinkler System
    If a sprinkler system is required, please consult the Manchester Fire Prevention Bureau Rules and Regulations for Fixed Fire Protection Systems. The sprinkler system must comply with these requirements and NFPA 13, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler System", 2010 Edition (NFPA 13).

  • Fire Alarm System
    If a fire alarm system is required, please contact the Manchester Fire Department Communications Division Rules and Regulations for Fire Alarms. The fire alarm system must comply with these requirements and NFPA 72, "National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code", 2010 Edition (NFPA 72).

  • Commercial Cooking Operations
    If commercial cooking operations are going to be conducted on site, please consult the Manchester Fire Prevention Bureau Rules and Regulations for Fixed Fire Protection Systems. The commercial cooking operations must comply with these requirements and NFPA 96, “Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations”.

 
Health

Pre-opening: Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Environmental Health Specialist well in advance of the anticipated opening date. The EHS will be able to provide a pre-opening “punch list” to guide the operator and hopefully avoid last minute issues. The Department may allow food to be brought in prior to final approval but only when an inspection and written approval has been granted.

Final: The EHS will conduct a final inspection and when the facility is deemed to meet Health regulations and standards, the applicant may submit their completed Sign-off Form and Food Service Permit Application.

Forms and Applications


Codes and Regulations


Useful Links


Contact Information

Manchester Health Department
Environmental Health

1528 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: (603) 624-6466
Fax: (603) 628-6004
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Website:
www.manchesternh.gov/health

 

Licenses

 
City Clerk

A Business License Application may be obtained anytime throughout the permitting process. An annual license (§110.02) to operate your restaurant will be issued by the Office of the City Clerk upon approval of the following departments:

The Business License fee (§110.20) is calculated by the square footage of the restaurant.

The annual license for a restaurant may also include the following with no additional fees:

  • Sunday Activities (§110.05)

  • Entertainment Place of Assembly (EPOA) (§111.65)
    *Applicable Police Officer's fee may be required as determined by the Police Department.

Restaurant owners should also consider additional licensing fees and permits that may be required for the following items:

  • Alarm Permit (Intrusion/Burglary) (§93.03)
    Alarm Permit Application is presented with fee and terms.

  • Amusement Devices (§111.45)
    Amusement fee schedule is presented

  • Downtown Sidewalk Encumbrance (outdoor seating) (§97.34)
    Fee is presented

  • Noise Permit (§111.75 & §111.76)
    Fee is presented

  • A-Frame Sidewalk Sign (§97.34E)
    Sign permit application is presented which includes fee, insurance requirement and additional signoff.

 

Ready to Open?

 
Issuance of Health Permit

Upon the completion of the Sign-Off Form, the Applicant will bring that form and a completed Food Service Permit Application to the Manchester Health Department with payment.

The Department will issue the permit provided that all other City Departments have signed off.

The Health Department will fax/email the completed Sign-off Form to the Planning and Community Development Department. The applicant will go to the Planning and Community Development Department to obtain their Certificate of Occupancy.

Forms and Applications


Codes and Regulations


Useful Links


Contact Information

Manchester Health Department
Environmental Health

1528 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: (603) 624-6466
Fax: (603) 628-6004
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Website:
www.manchesternh.gov/health

 
Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the Building Regulations Division of Planning & Community Development for new construction, substantial renovations, and changes in use of structures. When all final inspections are completed and approved, the Certificate of Occupancy is ready for issue. Please note that prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, any outstanding impact fees due must be paid and all conditions of approvals must be met, including on-site and off-site improvements and any development agreements.

The process and procedures outlined in the above pages apply to the construction of new buildings. The same steps can be applied to major building renovations and alterations. The scope and complexity of a project will dictate the level of plan submittals necessary for review and permitting.

It should be noted that commercial development may result in the need for a business license. The Office of the City Clerk must sign off pending compliance prior to the Certificate of Occupancy issuance. To determine if your business needs a license to operate, contact the Business Licensing and Enforcement Division in the Office of the City Clerk. (603) 624-6455.

Useful Links


Contact Information

City of Manchester
Planning and Community Development

One City Hall Plaza, West Wing
Manchester, NH 03101

Phone: (603) 624-6450
Fax: (603) 624-6324
Email

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Website Shortcut:
www.manchesternh.gov/pcd

 

This website and its contents are a service of the City of Manchester, NH

Copyright 2017 City of Manchester Terms Of Use Privacy Statement Site Map Login