If you are setting up a food business these are some of the things you need to do.

Register your food business with us

  • All food premises must be registered by law with us.
  • Registration is required even if your business only sells pre-packed food or drinks.
  • It is free to register and you can register online.
  • Certain types of food premises, generally manufacturers of products of animal origin, such as dairies, meat product manufacturers or fish processors are subject to product specific regulations and need to apply for Food Premises Approval.

Check with Planning and Building Control

  • Before you open your business you must make sure that the property you want to use has the correct planning permission.
  • If you want to make any structural changes or would like information about Building Regulation applications you need to contact Building Control.

You can find out more about the development history of an address.

Check with Licensing

You may need to register separately with the Licensing if you are:

  • Selling alcohol
  • Providing certain entertainment
  • Providing late night refreshments
  • Planning to sell food on the street or in any area to which public has access e.g. a mobile food business
  • If you are planning to place tables and chairs on the pavement, verge or road you will need to apply for a street cafe licence.

Contact Business Rates

Business rates are payable on most commercial properties.

  • Usually the person or company who occupies a commercial property has to pay the business rates bill.

Set up a documented food safety management system

  • If you are already running a food business you should have identified what might go wrong with the food and have put in place food safety procedures to make sure that the food you sell is safe.
  • The law requires you to have a food safety management system written down to show what you do to make the food safe and what records you will keep.

Get food hygiene training

  • All food handlers must be trained appropriately for the type of work they do and food business operators also need training to implement a food safety management system.
  • The usual way for food handlers to be trained is to gain a Level 2 Certificate in Food Hygiene/Safety (formerly a Basic Food Hygiene Certificate).

Visit the food safety training page for more information on the training available.

Disposing of waste from your business

  • As a commercial business you may need a trade waste collection (also known as commercial waste).
  • Businesses have a legal responsibility called a ‘Duty of Care’ to ensure that their waste is securely stored and disposed of legally. The safest way to do this is by using a registered waste carrier.

  Find a registered waste carrier Opens in a new window

Learn about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

  • This is a national scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, providing customers with at-a-glance information about hygiene standards of food businesses. It allows customers to make informed choices on where to buy and eat food.
  • All food businesses must be rated under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Opens in a new window and it includes restaurants, takeaway food shops, cafes, pubs, supermarkets and food stores.
  • You will be rated at your food hygiene inspection and given a rating from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good). This is a public rating so it’s important to understand how to get the best rating possible.