Sidewalk Cafe Guide

Overview

Are you operating a restaurant and would like to offer outdoor seating on the sidewalk?

According to Sec. 54.28 of City Code, business owners who want customers to dine on the sidewalk outside their restaurant must apply for a Sidewalk Cafe Permit.

This guide will help you navigate that process.

Eligibility

Sidewalk cafe permits are only allowed for eating and drinking establishments located entirely within the MU-1, MU-2, AC-1, AC-2, AC-3, AC-3A, AC-N, or MXD-2 zoning district, or within a planned development zoning district that allows eating and drinking establishments. You can verify your district in our Zoning Portal.

If your business is located within the downtown entertainment district, sidewalk cafes (railings, tables, chairs, etc.) must be removed and taken inside each day at close of business to allow the Downtown Clean Team to power wash. 

Contact cityplanning@orlando.gov if you have questions.

Required Materials

You will be required to upload the drawings/images/documents listed below in the city’s permitting system (ProjectDox): 

  • A scaled drawing of the eating and drinking establishment's INTERNAL layout, including tables, chairs, bars, host or hostess stations, windows, doors, waiting areas, and other features that may affect the movement and gathering of customers. 

  • A scaled drawing of the proposed sidewalk cafe area, including a plan of the layout of tables, chairs, host or hostess stations, barrier stations, umbrellas, utility stations, and any other features of the sidewalk cafe. The drawing must include measurements to the nearest property lines, including the curb lines and boundaries of the rights of way. 

  • Photographs or images of the fixtures that are proposed in the sidewalk cafe area.  Fixtures include tables, chairs, umbrellas, signs, barriers and any items that make up the sidewalk cafe.   

  • A statement outlining the hours of operation for the eating and drinking establishment AND the sidewalk cafe and whether or not alcoholic beverages will be served within the sidewalk cafe area. 

  • Proof of insurance. Comprehensive liability insurance covering against personal injury and property damage in the amount of $500,000. A certificate of insurance naming the city as an additional insured and requiring that the city be notified at least 30 days before termination or decrease in coverage must be uploaded. 

  • Proof that the operator has a contract to pressure wash the sidewalk cafe area, the adjacent sidewalk clear path, and the adjacent sidewalk furniture zone with a commercial-grade pressure washer a minimum of once per month. Please note: The permittee must maintain records of each pressure washing and must provide these records to the city upon request.  

  • A notarized statement from the property owner acknowledging consent to operate a sidewalk cafe at the subject property.   

Fees

Permit fees and impact fees will be assessed: 

Permit fees:

  • $500 for 1-5 tables or 1-200 square feet 
  • $750 for 6 or more tables or 201 square feet or more, whichever is greater
Impact Fees (Sewer and Transportation impact fees will be assessed):
Sewer  
  • Seats that are under a fixed awning are assessed at $182.70 per seat.
  • Seats that are not covered are assessed at $91.35 per seat (umbrellas are considered uncovered).

Transportation  

Sidewalk cafes that constitute less than 25% of the total eating and drinking establishment’s square footage, will NOT be assessed additional transportation impact fees. 

Example #1  

An eating and drinking establishment in downtown Orlando that is 1,000 sq.ft. and adds a sidewalk cafe that is 260 sq.ft. will pay approximately $4,519 in additional transportation impact fees.   

Example #2  

An eating and drinking establishment in downtown Orlando that is 1,000 sq.ft. and adds a sidewalk cafe that is 150 sq.ft will NOT pay any additional transportation impact fees.   

Example #3 

An eating and drinking establishment in the city (outside of the downtown area) that is 1,000 sq.ft. and adds a sidewalk cafe that is 300 sq.ft will pay approximately $5,488 in additional transportation impact fees.   

Final impact fee calculations will be determined during the Sidewalk Cafe permit review process.  Any impact fee credits that exist on the subject property will be rewarded. If you have specific questions about impact fees and potential credits related to your sidewalk cafe, please email cityplanning@orlando.gov.

For information on business assistance programs to help offset impact fees, visit our website.