Restaurant Success Initiative makes it easier to open a restaurant in Seattle

Initiative to be a model for streamlining regulations, boosting restaurant industry across the state

SEATTLE, WA – Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Mayor Ed Murray joined the Washington Restaurant Association and restaurant entrepreneurs today in Capitol Hill to announce the launch of Restaurant Success, a new initiative to provide better service and support for prospective restaurateurs.

Washington restaurants employ more than 222,900 people statewide with more than 85,905 jobs in King and Snohomish counties. The majority of restaurateurs employ fewer than 20 people. State, county, and city leaders launched Restaurant Success saying that supporting a thriving restaurant industry will provide needed job and career opportunities and make our cities better places to live.

“Restaurant Success is an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to improve the regulatory environment for startups and existing businesses across the state,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Our partnership with Seattle, King County, and the restaurant industry has made it easier for prospective local restaurateurs to navigate the permitting and licensing requirements so they can do what they do best: cook delicious food and create jobs. This is an effort we’ll soon be taking to Spokane and Spokane Valley so those cities can streamline their regulatory processes and attract new restaurants.”

Restaurant Success is a public-private partnership between the state of Washington, city of Seattle, King County and the Washington Restaurant Association. The initiative was developed in collaboration with more than 17 agencies and organizations, and includes:
• A comprehensive, one-stop online guide with city, county, and state permitting and licensing information, and tools to help restaurateurs easily navigate the process.
• Dedicated customer service and technical assistance in the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development led by a new Restaurant Advocate, Jennifer Tam.
• Ongoing regulatory reform and process improvements across city, county, and state agencies that interact with restaurant entrepreneurs.


Restaurants have tight margins, and are often among the first to feel the impact of shifts in the economy. More than 50% of restaurants close or change hands every five years. This is also an industry where there are a higher number of immigrant and minority entrepreneurs.

“I’m excited about this effort because opening a restaurant is a common entry point into the economic mainstream for communities of color, and our business assistance support will be working to reach a broad spectrum of business owners,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We also expect to use this initiative’s approach to shape how we break down silos within government and make it simpler for businesses in Seattle to start and grow. We’re committed to helping businesses succeed here.”

The Restaurant Advocate’s role is to provide direct business support and navigational help to restaurant entrepreneurs as they start and operate restaurants in Seattle. In addition to conducting outreach to businesses, specifically ethnic business owners, the Restaurant Advocate will work with partners to improve policies or programs across the public-private partnership.

“We have already benefited greatly from the City’s Restaurant Advocate, Jennifer Tam, as she has introduced us to a number of critical resources that will help us successfully open our new Indian restaurant,” said Gita Bangera, co-owner of a restaurant preparing to open in Pioneer Square in the coming months. “Getting clear information, helpful referrals, and assistance mitigating obstacles, definitely are making a big difference in our new startup venture of opening a restaurant. We are extremely appreciative of this resource.”

“One great way to move people upward is to have a great small business climate. The Restaurant Success online guide will help local restaurants navigate the regulatory steps that often hamper their ability to thrive. It also provides tools and information for restaurateurs in a format that is unlike a typical government publication,” said Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Restaurant Association. “We are committed to helping restaurants survive and we look forward to the further process improvements and regulatory reform that our government partners will continue to implement to make it easier for restaurants across the state to do business.”

“Making it simpler for restaurant owners to navigate the regulatory process will help the local small businesses that are so important to the vibrancy of our region,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “I believe this initiative will create a model for how city, county, and state agencies can work together to improve the customer experience.”

“We know that small business is a key generator of jobs and economic activity. Starting a restaurant is one of the most frequent ways that people launch a small business career. That’s why I have supported this effort and why this is a great example of the kind of work that the City can do to make it easier to run a business in Seattle,” said City Councilmember Sally Clark.

Restaurant Success is located at

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City of Seattle – Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and connected city, the City of Seattle provides numerous services for its residents. Learn more at
King County – King County provides regional services to 2 million residents, including 250,000 people living in unincorporated areas.  Learn more at the King County Executive’s website.
Public Health — Seattle & King County – Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over two million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health — Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day. Visit

Washington State’s Dept of Commerce
 – Commerce is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington. For more information, visit For information on locating or expanding a business in Washington, visit
City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) – OED supports a healthy business environment and empowers companies to grow and compete. We provide services directly to businesses through advocacy, retention and expansion assistance, and workforce development. OED has several financing options for businesses, including options for small to medium to large businesses. Visit to access city services for businesses, and for more information about our office, visit
Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) – The Washington Restaurant Association is the leading association for the all the state’s local restaurants. The restaurant industry is Washington’s largest private sector employer, with an average workforce of 222,900 employees. The state’s more than 13,723 restaurants annually generate $10.1 billion in food & beverage sales and contribute $721 million in state taxes. Washington restaurants are vital to our economy, communities and citizens.


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