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Depending on where you're restaurant is located you will need to check with the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and apply with them. You will also need to check with the city to see what information they want to see and how they want it presented.
You want to present your store in as professional a manner as possible the first time. You may want to prepare a mini business plan that they can have for review. You don't need all the financial projections for this one but you will want to present a clear vision of your store and how the addition of alcohol to the menu will not adversely impact the neighborhood.
When I applied with the city, I had to present a rough diagram of the interior of my store and where the alcohol would be stored, who would have access and show that there are sufficient controls over it so abuse will not occur. You should also try to alay any fears they may have over the qualifications of the people serving alcohol. Do they have experience with checking ids, how to check for fakes and how to handle those types of situations.
The council may look at all kinds of demographic information related to your store location. Number of licenses already issued, number of accidents that have occurred nearby, type of neighborhood, etc. You get the idea.
You just want to make sure you give them as much positive information as possible so they don't make up a reason to deny your application.
In my jurisdiction, one of the early review steps is that everyone within a 300 yard radius is sent a letter (at the applicant's expense) soliciting input. The same very people always seem to object for the very same reasons year after year. The responses received are public record, however, so if there's a similar process in your friend's locale, he/she could check old application files and see if there were any consistent complaints or objections that prevented other applicants at the same or nearby locations from obtaining or keeping a license in the past. This might save a lot of time and/or better help prepare for the neighborhood board, community hearings, or whatever.
Another related tip -- property owners get those letters, not necessarily residents or tenants, and landlords of rental property nearly always seems to object on principle alone when they envision drunken teenagers hanging around their buildings all night. So selling them on a more "upscale" vision of the establishment and the clientele it will bring to the neighborhood (before they receive and respond to a letter) can be critical to success.
In most states there are firms that will act as an agent (for a fee) to handle the complete licensing application process from beginning to end (including everything from the "politics" to employee training). Your friend might check with newer restaurants in the area to see if they can recommend such an agent.
Hope this helps. Wish your friend luck.
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I have a friend that would like to expand their beverages in their restaurant by applying for a liquor license. I realize that it is different based on jurisdication, but it would be helpful if people can weigh in on any tips or issues they had when applying or presenting to a neighborhood board for approval.