Starting a food business
How to set up a food business and make sure you meet the standards set out in food safety law.
Register a food business
You will need to register your premises with us 28 days before you start trading. Registration is free and you can download a firstname.lastname@example.org or by post. You will normally receive an unannounced inspection within 28 days of when you start trading. Appointments will be made with domestic properties.and submit it by email to
There are other things you will need to consider, depending on where you want to run your business from and what you are hoping to produce. This is not an exhaustive list and if there is anything you are not sure about you should contact us by email email@example.com or by calling 01775 761161 and provide as much detail as possible. You may also wish to seek your own independent advice.
Common types of premises
- Mobile/temporary vehicles
This will need to be registered at the address where it is normally kept. If you are hoping to operate within the South Holland area you may need to apply for a Street Trading Licence information is available on our licensing web page . You'll need to make sure that you have sufficient sinks with running hot and cold or mixed water (as a minimum; one for equipment and one for hand washing) to prepare food safely. If you provide tables for customers to sit at, you'll need to consider WC facilities.
- Domestic premises
You still need to meet the requirements of food safety law. Your kitchen will need to have sufficient space and layout, be clean and well maintained, have accessible hand washing facilities which are separate from your WC. You may also need to obtain planning permission.
- Commercial premises
If food or drink is consumed on the premises then customers will need to have access to toilets. The number of toilets you must provide depends on the number of seating you have, known as covers. If you intend to make any structural alterations you should contact our building control and planning department on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any premises where you're providing hot food or drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am will need to apply for a late night refreshments licence and if you plan to sell alcohol you will need to apply for an alcohol licence, more details are available on the licensing web page.
Manufacturing product of animal origin
If you are selling or making products of animal origin which are not sold directly to the final consumer you may need to apply for approval. For more details see the Food Standards Agency - running a catering business leaflet or contact us.
When you are inspected you'll need to show that you and any staff you employ are adequately supervised, instructed and/or trained. Our commercial partners EHC offer food hygiene training either online or in a classroom situation for level 2 and level 3, further detail can be found at www.ehcuk.co.uk.
Documented Food Safety system (legal requirement)
All food businesses must have written food safety management procedures. The Food Standards Agency have developed a simple system called Safer Food, Better Business for small caterers and retailers, or to purchase a hard copy for £25 (inc delivery) email email@example.com.
The extent of the procedures will depend upon the nature and size of your business, Safer Food Better Business may not be applicable for more complex operations (for example Butcher shops). There is guidance available on the Food Standards Agency website. When you are inspected, an officer will expect to see this paperwork and the lack of it will affect your food hygiene rating.
Further help and advice
Helpful food hygiene advice is available on the Food Standards Agency website.
If you have questions, please feel free to email the Food, Health and Safety Team firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01775 761161. We also have a dedicated commercial service to support new business and provide pre-inspection advice, please contact EHC UK on 0800 689 3512 or see new business advice.