Do You Need A License To Play Music In Your Restaurant?

OLIVE OILMany restaurants play music to set a certain tone or atmosphere for their customers, but do you need a license to play music in your establishment? That’s a great question and, in some cases, you may get into legal trouble, if you haven’t purchased a license from the copyright owners. Below are a few key questions you need to ask to determine if you need a license to play music in your restaurant.

  1. How large is your restaurant? If your restaurant is less than 3,750 square feet, you may be allowed to play music without a license. Small restaurants are allowed to play music from a radio, TV, or similar device (e.g. streaming internet radio), as long as you’re using less than six speakers and customers aren’t charged to listen. There may also be restrictions about the placement of speakers in your restaurant.
  2. Is the music protected by copyright? While the most popular songs heard on the radio are covered by copyright, there is some copyright-free music out there. If you’re playing public domain music, you are not required to purchase a license. However, do not assume something is in the public domain without having an attorney check into it first.
  3. Do you have all the necessary licenses? Even if you get permission from a singer to play their music in your restaurant, you may still need to get other licenses. There are three major Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) from whom you can license music — American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and SESAC . These PROs manage the music copyrights for different types of artists involved in the making of music. Each of these organizations cater to different types of artists. For example, one organization may cover the copyright for the songwriters, while the other covers the rights for the musicians. You’ll need to get permission from all copyright owners associated with the music—songwriters, musicians, and singers. To make sure all their bases are covered, some restaurants purchase blanket licenses from each PRO. And since these licenses can be costly, they may work with an attorney to negotiate favorable fees.

So, if you want to play music in your restaurant, you should ensure that you do not need a license, and, if you do need a license, you should get the right license, so you can avoid a lawsuit.

If you have additional questions, we’d love to provide you with the appropriate counsel. Feel free to contact us at any time!

How to Transfer Your Liquor License in Florida

How to transfer a liquor licence inIf you’re a restaurant-owner looking to transfer your liquor license in Florida, there are a few things you’ll need to do. Let’s take a look at how you can easily make the transfer. Here are a few key steps:

  1. Zoning approval. Before you can transfer your restaurant’s liquor license to another business, that business will need to get zoning approval from their city and/or county zoning authority. Of course, this won’t be an issue if you’re also selling your business along with the liquor license since you already have zoning approval.
  2. Department of Revenue approval. The Department of Revenue will need to approve your liquor license transfer before you can proceed.
  3. Health approval. If you’re a restaurant looking to transfer your liquor license to another restaurant, you’ll need to get approval from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.
  4. Notarized affidavit. Both you and the person you will transfer the liquor license to, must sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary.
  5. Fingerprints. If they have not done so in the past 3 years, the person to whom you will transfer your liquor license must submit fingerprints with their application.
  6. Moral character standards. For your liquor license to win approval, the person to whom you will transfer the license must meet the moral character standards of the county and state. You can find a detailed definition of how “good moral character” is defined by the State of Florida here. In essence, it is someone who can tell right from wrong, does not have a recent criminal record, and who is currently fulfilling their social obligations (i.e. paying child support, paying taxes etc.).
  7. Sketch of premises. The person to whom you’re transferring the license must provide a simple sketch of the premises where the liquor will be sold. This sketch should clearly identify all areas where alcohol will be sold, served, and consumed.
  8. Pay transfer fee. Finally, the State of Florida will levy a liquor license transfer fee that will be calculated using the average gross alcohol sales for the past three (3) years. This fee will not exceed $5,000. If you’re unable to provide records for your gross alcohol sales for the past three years, you can elect to pay the $5,000 instead.

Thank you for seeking out our site to help with your hospitality business questions. If you’re interested in transferring your liquor license to another business, it’s best to speak with a licensed Florida attorney first, about the legal implications and potential costs. Feel free to contact me, to chat, or set up a consultation.

3 Things to Know Before Applying for a Liquor License

FAIRAre you interested in applying for a liquor license in the state of Florida? Well, you’ve come to the right place! There are a few things you’ll need to know before you apply for the proper license to enable your establishment to serve liquor. Let’s take a look three main points:

  1. Do you meet the definition of restaurant? If you receive at least 51% of your revenue from food and non-alcoholic beverages and you meet the other requirements of your county then you may qualify for the SRX liquor license which allows you to sell liquor for consumption on your restaurant premises. And the good news is that if you have a SRX liquor license you do not need to apply for the costly quota license.

Other Florida county standards you may need to meet to fit the definition of restaurant include: 1) having available full course meals, 2) having at least 2,000 square feet of space in your restaurant, and 3) having the ability to serve at least 150 people at one time.  Each county’s rules differ, so check with your county’s liquor license authority. If you’re unable to meet your county’s standards you will not qualify for an SRX license and will need to apply for a quota liquor license.

  1. What type of alcohol do you want to sell? Restaurants can get “Beer and Wine” licenses which can cost as little as $300 a year. But if you want to sell beer, wine, and liquor, you’ll need the SRX license which can cost around $1800 a year. But it must be noted that if you are classified as a pub, bar, nightclub, or a restaurant that does not meet the SRX liquor license standards of your county you will need to apply for the quota license.
  2. You can buy a temporary liquor license. Once you submit an accurate liquor license application, you can apply for a temporary liquor license which will allow you to begin selling alcohol immediately. Check with your county’s liquor authority for prices and stipulations.

Whether you want an SRX or quota license when applying for a liquor license, each county has different rules, so make sure you check with your local liquor authority, or an experienced Florida Culinary Lawyer before you apply.

Thank you for sharing your time with me today. Stay tuned for my more in-depth post on the ins and outs of quota licenses. If you have questions regarding your restaurant, idea, or the process of obtaining the proper licenses, I’d be happy to speak with you.