PROVIDENCE — So you think that you have an idea for Rhode Island’s next great eatery. The business’ name? Check. Some menu ideas? Check. And you’ll definitely want to add a version of that cocktail you had at your sister’s wedding. Check.
But what’s next?
Governor Dan McKee’s administration is offering a solution.
The state unveiled a new website on Tuesday that helps users navigate opening a new restaurant in Rhode Island. It provides a general overview and road map of how to get into the industry, including guiding users through obtaining the necessary local and state permits and licenses.
Some of the steps help explain how to develop and evaluate your business plan, identifying a good location and preparing it for the local fire code and zoning permits. It also goes into hiring and training employees, establishing a financial institution, marketing strategies, how to prepare for inspections, and how to plan for the future.
And the guides aren’t just for brick-and-mortar eateries. There are sections that outline how to open a food truck or other mobile food service establishment.
“We created this to help entrepreneurs who enter the food service business, even if they didn’t know quite where to begin,” said Elizabeth Tanner, the director of the state’s department of business regulations. “This one-stop resources comes as a result of cross-collaboration throughout the state agencies and we are thankful for all of their participation and cooperation.”
Despite the pandemic shuttering businesses and affecting most industries, the Rhode Island had a record number of registered businesses for the fifth year in a row. In 2020, more than 10,000 new businesses registered with the Secretary of State’s office — an 11 percent increase from 2019.
The hospitality and tourism industries are known to be the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy, and McKee said that he hopes this website will help spur more business, further entrepreneurship, and create more jobs in the state.