Opening a restaurant or cafe
If you would like to set up your own restaurant or cafe business in Brisbane, use this page to find out if your business needs planning approval.
A restaurant or cafe is referred to in Brisbane City Plan 2014 as a food and drink outlet. The City Plan defines a 'food and drink outlet' as the 'use of a premises for preparation and sale of food and drink to the public for consumption on or off site'. The use may include the ancillary sale of liquor for consumption on site. Examples include:
- coffee shop
- drive-through facility
- milk bar
- snack bar
- tea room.
The definition does not include bar, club, entertainment facility, hotel, shop, theatre or nightclub.
Centre zones include:
In the Centre zones, a food and drink outlet is included in the Centre activities group. Centre activities are accepted development where they do not include an increase to the gross floor area (GFA) and they comply with all of the acceptable outcomes (Section A) in the Centre or mixed use code.
You can use the online self-assessable checklist to see if your proposal meets the accepted development criteria in the Centre or mixed use Code.
Commercial character building
On properties identified on the Commercial character building overlay map, a food and drink outlet is accepted development, subject to compliance with identified requirements, where:
- work is limited only to internal alteration and fit out of an existing Commercial character building
- the proposal does not include a new use for a food and drink outlet in the Low density residential zone or the Character residential zone - character zone precinct
- the development meets all of the acceptable outcomes (Section A) of the Commercial character building (activities) overlay code.
A PD Online property enquiry can help you determine if your proposal requires Brisbane City Council approval. You can also phone 07 3403 8888 to speak to a town planner.
If the nature of your business changes over time (e.g. you change the way you operate), you may need to reconfirm whether a development approval is required as a result of these changes.
Building approval is separate from planning approval. Licensed private building certifiers or building consultants can provide advice regarding:
- building work for an existing food and drink outlet or a new food and drink outlet
- if any building approval is required.
Private building certifiers and building consultants can be found using the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's website.
Undercover parking in commercial buildings
The City Plan's definition of gross floor area (GFA) does not include areas for building services, plant and equipment, access between levels and the parking, loading or manoeuvring of motor vehicles. Where undercover parking areas are proposed as part of a new commercial building, undercover parking is not included in GFA.
New food and drink outlets in service stations
When a fast food store is added to an existing service station, an approval is necessary as the proposal involves a material change of use (a new use or a material increase in the intensity or scale of the use of the premises).
Other approvals to consider
- food business licences
- liquor licensing via the Queensland Government
- advertising signs for small business.
If your proposed business requires a planning approval, or your premises are located within a neighbourhood plan area or overlay area, contact Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) for advice specific to your situation.
If you wish to find out more, you may wish to read the fact sheets below: