Though we don't think of food service as heavily regulated an industry as something like medical services or public utilities, the reality is that many aspects of your operation are strictly regulated and subject to inspection. Fail to meet regulations, and you could be subject to fines or get shut down by authorities. And if the violations involve tainted food, you could be responsible for your patrons' illnesses and even death. Issues such as sanitation and fire safety are critical. You must provide a safe environment in which your employees can work and your guests can dine, follow the laws of your state on sales of alcohol and tobacco products, and handle tax issues, including sales, beverage, payroll and more.
Most regulatory agencies will work with new operators to let them know what they must do to meet the necessary legal requirements. Your state's general information office can direct you to all the agencies you'll need to be concerned with.