In order to start a food business in Kenya, there are a few legal and licensing requirements that you must adhere to. Luckily, most of the legal/licensing procedures can be undertaken online without having to physically visit many government offices. Basically, the legal/licensing requirements involve business registration, tax registration and county business permits.
Business Name Registration.
The registration of businesses in Kenya has been made easier and faster. One can now do a name search and even register their business fully online on eCitizen. It’s important to note that from 15th October 2017, no manual registration of businesses will be done by the registrar of companies.
Here is the new process you’ll follow to start a restaurant business in Kenya :
Company/business name reservation
1 Register with eCitizen (FREE)
This is a one-stop portal for accessing most Kenyan government services
2 Apply and pay for company name search (Ksh 150 per Name)
You can apply for up to 3 names in one order
3 Obtain company name reservation in 1-3 days (Free if Name Search is successful)
This is usually sent to your email/eCitizen account and can be downloaded.
1. Apply and pay for company registration (online eCitizen, about Ksh 11,000)
A limited company is the most ideal business type. Companies can have a single director or more.
Alternatively, you can register a Partnership (about Ksh 2,500) or Sole Proprietor (about Ksh 850)
2. Submit signed application forms
3. Obtain company registration documents (2-3 weeks)
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) PIN
KRA is the Tax authority in Kenya and all companies must have a Company Tax registration PIN number.
The entire registration process can be done online on the KRA iTax Portal. The process entails:
1. Taxpayer registration (Submit Director(s) Personal KRA PIN plus ID Copies
2. Apply for company PIN (Online, KRA iTax Portal)
3. Submit PIN acknowlgement receipt
4. Obtain company PIN
NSSF and NHIF Registration can also be done online for Companies to submit employees’ PAYE deductions
County Business Permit
For you to conduct or start a restaurant business in Kenya, you also need an annual business permit from the City Council. The details on the cost depend on the size of your premises and the industry you have chosen to do business in. For example, a regular sized bakery City Council permits costs Kshs. 8000 per year.
Talk to your local City Council officers on the cost and they may visit your premises to confirm the size of the location and they will advise on how to pay. You will get a receipt when you pay, and then the certificate itself after about a week.
Food/ Health Related Permits.
The Restaurant/Food industry that requires health thus you will require a Health Inspector to visit your place of business and after they have inspected your location, you will be certified. When you pay you to receive a receipt and about a week later, you get a certificate and can go ahead to start a restaurant business in Kenya
Fire Safety Certificate
Currently, all businesses are required to be Fire safety certified. This requires you to have at least a fire extinguisher and any other fire safety requirements a Fire safety inspector will advise you on, based on your business. After the inspection, you will be certified and get a Fire Safety Certificate.
The Unified Business Permit in Nairobi may cost around Ksh 50,000 for a full-fledged medium size restaurant in Nairobi CBD and nearby suburbs
New Regulations (Nairobi County Unified Business Permit)
Just recently, the Nairobi City County announced the launch of the Unified Business Permit which consolidates all the requirements for running a business within the County.
This is a one-stop source whereby, after acquiring your Unified Business Permit, you will have paid for a Single business permit, fire Clearance Certificate, Advertising Signage (300mm by 600 mm or less), Health Certificate, and Food Hygiene.
The Unified Business Permit in Nairobi may cost around Ksh 50,000 for a full-fledged medium size restaurant in Nairobi CBD and nearby suburbs.
How much is a business license in Kenya?
At the registrar of companies offices you will be given Form BN/2 Statement of Particulars Registration to fill and complete. Submit the competed application form and pay the prescribed application fees of Ksh 850. After verification of details you will issued with a business registration certificate.
How can I start a small restaurant in Kenya?
- Apply and pay for company registration (online eCitizen, about Ksh 11,000) A limited company is the most ideal business type. Companies can have a single director or more.
- Submit signed application forms.
- Obtain company registration documents (2-3 weeks)