Legal Side of Leasing a Restaurant: Commercial Lease Agreement

Updated June 30, 2023
8 min read
Legal Side of Leasing a Restaurant: Commercial Lease Agreement


Embarking on your restaurant venture is an exciting journey, and one crucial aspect is signing a commercial restaurant lease agreement. This agreement sets the stage for your restaurant's success, so it's essential to understand the negotiation process, key provisions, common issues, and legal considerations in standard commercial restaurant lease agreements.

In this article, we'll guide you through this process with a sprinkle of friendliness and practical examples. We'll also introduce you to a commercial restaurant lease agreement template, a handy tool to help you create an outstanding agreement tailored to your restaurant's needs.

Negotiating the Commercial Restaurant Lease Agreement

Discussing the terms of your standard commercial restaurant lease agreement is like creating a recipe for success. Let's explore a few tips to make it a successful experience:

  • Get a taste of the market: Do your research on rental rates and trends in the area. For example, if you're opening a cozy café, find out what similar establishments are paying for rent to negotiate a fair and competitive rate.

  • Spice it up with professional assistance: Consider teaming up with a real estate attorney or a knowledgeable commercial real estate agent. They'll add expertise and guidance to the negotiation process, ensuring your interests are protected. 

  • Savor the flexibility: A successful restaurant should grow and evolve. Negotiate lease terms allowing for future expansion, modifications, and lease renewal options. This flexibility in commercial lease agreements for restaurants will give your restaurant the room it needs to flourish.

By incorporating these tips into your negotiation strategy, you'll be well on your way to creating a commercial restaurant lease agreement that sets the stage for a thriving restaurant business.

Remember, just as a great recipe requires attention to detail and careful planning, so does the negotiation process. Take your time, gather the necessary information, seek professional assistance, and plan the future to prepare your commercial restaurant lease agreement for your vision.

Key Provisions of a Commercial Lease Agreement for Restaurant

Just like your signature dishes, the key provisions of your commercial restaurant lease agreement are essential ingredients for a successful business. Let's take a closer look at a few:

Rent and security deposit

Imagine you're opening a trendy bistro. Clearly define the rent amount, payment schedule, and any potential increases to ensure you're serving up a balanced budget. Additionally, understand the terms and conditions for the security deposit, ensuring it's returned promptly and fairly when the commercial lease agreement for your restaurant concludes.

Maintenance responsibilities of the landlord and tenant

Picture this: Your charming restaurant space requires maintenance. Make sure the commercial lease agreement for the restaurant clearly outlines who is responsible for repairs, upkeep, and improvements. This way, you'll keep your restaurant in top-notch condition and focus on providing exceptional dining experiences.

Use and alterations of the leased space

Let's say you're planning a vibrant, themed eatery. Review the permitted use clause to ensure your restaurant concept aligns perfectly with the commercial restaurant lease agreement. Also, understand the landlord's policies regarding alterations and signage. After all, you want to be able to add your personal touch to create an unforgettable dining atmosphere.

Suppose you'd rather spend your time focusing on perfecting your restaurant's menu and ambiance instead of getting lost in the intricacies of contract details. In that case, there's a fantastic solution at your fingertips: a commercial lease agreement template. Such templates are carefully crafted by legal experts and tailored specifically for commercial restaurant lease agreements.

Common Issues with Commercial Lease Agreements for Restaurant

Commercial restaurant lease agreements come with their own hidden pitfalls that need to be kept in mind.

  • Breach of contract: Restaurant leases can sometimes have problems. It's important to know what happens if there is a problem, like if someone doesn't pay or breaks the rules. You can prevent problems by adding ways to solve conflicts (dispute resolution methods) without going to court, like talking with someone to help you agree or using a special way to solve problems called "arbitration."

  • Dispute resolution: Dispute resolution: Suppose you and your landlord don't agree on something. It's good to know how to fix it. Learn how to solve problems, including what to do if things get worse and you need a lawyer. To make it easier to solve problems, you can add a special clause to your commercial restaurant lease agreement that says how to solve conflicts.

  • Termination and renewal of the lease: Knowing when to terminate or renew your lease is crucial. Review the termination and renewal provisions in your commercial restaurant lease agreement to understand notice periods, options for a lease extension, and any potential rent adjustments. By planning ahead for lease renewal negotiations, you'll ensure a seamless transition for your restaurant's continued success.


Now you're equipped with a recipe for success in signing a commercial lease agreement for your restaurant. Create it using a special template to ensure that all the best edits from the best lawyers provide you with protection from all problems during business operations.

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Article by
Inna Chumachenko

Inna Chumachenko is the Content Lead at Lawrina. She is responsible for managing all the content found on the blog, guides, and other website pages. Inna has a degree in philology and a vast interest in law. In her role at Lawrina, Inna oversees the content team, establishes collaborations with writers, and curates content from various contributors.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the content for Lawrina, please feel free to contact Inna directly via email at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key provisions to consider in a commercial restaurant lease agreement?

Provisions to consider in a commercial restaurant lease agreement include rent and security deposit, maintenance responsibilities, permitted use and alterations of the leased space, and termination and renewal of the lease. 

For example, the rent and security deposit should be clearly defined, and any potential increases should be outlined. Additionally, the commercial lease agreement should specify who is responsible for repairs, upkeep, and improvements. 

What legal considerations should restaurant owners keep in mind?

To open a restaurant, you need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses, such as health and safety regulations and liquor licensing.  Additionally, you must comply with zoning laws and building codes and ensure you have proper liability and insurance coverage. 

For example, you can obtain a general liability insurance policy covering bodily injury, property damage, and product liability. In case of injury or damage, such a policy would cover the costs of the claim, including legal fees if necessary. An example of a permit you may require is a food service permit, which certifies that your establishment meets local health and safety requirements for food preparation and storage.