CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s the American dream to open your own business, but it can be an expensive bureaucratic headache. CBS 2 Morning Insider Vince Gerasole walks us through the costly steps in Chicago.
Their specialty is Vietnamese food, but long before HaiSous in Pilsen could warm up for the dinner crowd, owners had a lot on their plate.
“You think you just are going to build a restaurant … and now I’m ready to build the menu, here’s the menu. There’s so much more to consider,” HaiSous co-owner Danielle Dang said.
From a liquor license to signage permits, Danielle and her husband, Thai Dang, were candid enough to share the costs of opening up shop in Chicago.
“It was a whirlwind,” Danielle said.
It started with a $300 deposit for the city to review the project. A permit to renovate the 4,800-square-foot landmark space cost $1,725.
As you might expect, they also needed permits for plumbing and electrical systems, each costing about $600.
“I think that there are a lot of steps, and it’s a complicated thing,” Danielle said.
Lights extending from the exterior walls required a $350 permit, and a $75 annual fee for the first light plus $1 for each additional light.
“Each step of the way is a separate inspection, it’s another cost, it’s another permit,” Danielle said.
An ADA-compliant ramp providing wheelchair access from the sidewalk required another $350 permit, and a minimum $400 annual fee, plus approval from the Chicago Department of Transportation.
“We are outside the confines of a property boundary, so I’m actually in the public’s right of way, so I have to get a special permit to extend my properties,” Danielle said.
All restaurants pay the city a restaurant tax of .25 percent of their net sales, in addition to the 10.25 percent combined sales tax.
A liquor license costs $4,000, a permit for the restaurant’s sign costs $300 a year, and a permit for valet parking costs $640 a year.
Danielle is a licensed architect, and that helped her navigate much of the initial process. You might call it the secret ingredient that now helps the staff concentrate on what’s for dinner.