How to Open a Restaurant/Bar in Panama - International Relocation Firm

How to Open a Restaurant/Bar in Panama

Panama Restaurant Bar

Unique Name & Logo

Come up with a unique name for your restaurant/bar not being used in Panama. Design a unique logo not being used in Panama.


Determine the type of ownership for your restaurant/bar whether it is as a sole proprietor with you and your family are the owners or a Panama corporation.

There are liability and tax issues involved with your choice so you must consult with a Panama law firm knowledgeable with Panama asset protection before deciding.


After choosing the type of ownership along with a unique name and logo design you will need to hire a Panama law firm to file the Panama Trademark registration which will also protect the trade name and business logo.

Obtain Commercial Licenses

The Panama government permits and licenses include:

• Panama’s Revenue (Income tax) Service;

• Registration at the Panama Ministry of Commerce and Industry for the commercial license;

• Obtain a Social Security number for the business from the “Panama Registro Patronal de la Caja de Seguro Social” (CSS);

• Registering at the local municipality & municipal taxation;

• Obtain a pest fumigation certificate.   Pest fumigations inspections are required      every four months with posting the certificate near the front entrance;

• Obtain a Sanitary Permit from the Ministry of Health.

Employees Permits

Every employee working in premises serving food or beverages in Panama must get two permits, have medical and dental exams, and take a two day health and safety course from the Ministry de Salud (Health Ministry).


Carefully locate an appropriate premise which complies with Panama’s Law 55, Article 12 of 1973 which requires for the issuance of a liquor license that the premises be located at least 500 meters from private and public schools, hospitals, and churches & temples.   The local magistrate (Corrigador) issues “500 meter” certificates.   A similar certificate from the Ministry of Education verifying your establishment is more than 500 meters from schools.   Present these certificates to the municipal government in order to get a liquor license.


Furnishing and creating a unique atmosphere for your establishment to stick out from the others will be important.   You don’t have to spend a fortune to construct an artistic or classy environment. Good food & drinks at good prices along with good service will go a long way for making your restaurant/bar popular in Panama.

Contact Us for all of your Panama Business needs including Panama Business Licenses, Permits, and Trademarks.

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