Any business that serves food can endanger public health. That’s why restaurants are some of the most regulated businesses out there. Multiple state, county and city environmental health permits are common for restaurants. Those that serve alcohol need even more licensing. Prospective restaurateurs should expect to apply for at least five licenses and permits and in many cases much more.
Being one of California and the nation’s major cities means San Diego is home to many businesses. However, the city’s licensing systems are fairly decentralized requiring business owners to apply to numerous departments including the city treasurer, planning and development and the police. Additionally, licenses from San Diego County, the state and sometimes the federal government are required in certain industries. San Diego's major industries include defense, international trade, shipping, tourism, manufacturing, research and real estate. The city's close proximity to Mexico and large natural harbor make it a gateway to commerce with Asia and Latin America.