Discover business topics

Doing business worldwide

Blog about doing business internationally.

There are a few legal and licensing criteria that you must follow to open a restaurant in Kenya. Fortunately, most legal and licensing procedures may be completed online without having to go to many government offices in person. Essentially, the legal and licensing procedures include county business permits, tax registration, and company registration.

Name Registration

In Kenya, registering a company is now quicker and simpler. On eCitizen, one can now perform a name search and even register their company entirely online. It’s crucial to remember that the registrar of companies will no longer manually register enterprises starting on October 15th, 2017.

The new procedure you’ll adhere to in Kenya to open a restaurant is as follows:

Company/business name reservation

  • Sign up for eCitizen (FREE)
  • Request and pay for a company name search (Ksh 150 per Name)
  • Achieve corporate name reservation in 1 to 3 days (Free if Name Search is successful)

Other information

Up to three names may be requested in one order, the form can be downloaded and typically sent to your email or eCitizen account.

Company/business registration

  • Submit a form and payment for company registration (online eCitizen, about Ksh 11,000)
  • Submit application forms with signatures
  • Obtaining firm registration documentation (2-3 weeks)

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) PIN

Kenya’s tax body is known as KRA, and all companies are required to have a PIN for company tax registration.

On the KRA iTax Portal, the entire registration procedure can be completed online. The procedure involves:

  • Taxpayer registration (submit Director(s) Personal KRA PIN as well as Copies of IDs)
  • Request a Business PIN (Online, KRA iTax Portal)
  • Upload your PIN acknowledgment receipt
  • Get the business PIN

Companies can register for NSSF and NHIF online to submit PAYE deductions for employees.

County business permit

Additionally, you require annual permission from the City Council in Kenya to operate or launch a restaurant business. The specifics of the fee depend on the size of your location and the sector of business you have chosen. For instance, a regular-sized bakery requires an annual Kshs. 8000 City Council permit.

Consult with the City Council officials in your area about the price; they may even visit your property to verify the location’s size and offer payment advice. Upon making your payment, you will receive a receipt, and then after approximately a week, the actual certificate.

Food and/or health permits

Since the restaurant and food industry demands health, you will need to have a health inspector visit your place of business; following the inspection, you will receive certification. You can start a restaurant business in Kenya after paying for a receipt and receiving a certificate a week or so later.

Certificate for fire safety

Currently, fire safety certification is compulsory for all businesses. This necessitates that you have a fire extinguisher and any additional fire safety criteria that a fire safety inspector may recommend for your business. After passing the inspection, you will be issued a Fire Safety Certificate.

New regulations (Nairobi County Unified Business Permit)

The Unified Business Permit, which unifies all regulations for operating a business within the County, was just recently announced by Nairobi City County.

After obtaining your unified business permit, you can pay for a single business permit, a fire clearance certificate, an advertising sign (300 mm by 600 mm or less), a health certificate, and food hygiene all in one place.

For a full-fledged, medium-sized restaurant in Nairobi’s central business district and neighboring suburbs, the Unified Business Permit may cost roughly Ksh 50,000.