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Starting a Food Business


How many times have you thought, I can do that! You might be handy in the kitchen and turn out delicious cupcakes, decorate the most beautiful cakes or produce any aspect of food for someone else. So where do you start other than the kitchen!?

Some top tips of what you need to do and who you need to contact. The best place to start is with your local authority and find out if you need to register your food business or apply for approval, from experience it will be different from authority to authority and from business to business. It might even depend on the time of year and how busy the authorities are. They are very useful to have a good rapport with so that you can make sure you are doing things properly and then you won’t get any surprises later on – well, hopefully.

For the majority of food businesses, you will need specific food related training to prove competence with in the safety of the business, the level will depend on the nature of the food being prepared but it will usually be Food Safety Levels 2 or 3. Please watch out that you use a reputable company that is accredited with an RQF status, otherwise the certificate might be invalid even if it was cheap!

You will need to register your business, including catering businesses run from home or temporary premises, such as stalls and vans. You can register using the food business registration service on GOV.UK

Here is a general checklist of what you need to do for starting up

  • Have you registered your premises?
  • Do the design and construction of your premises meet legal requirements?
  • Are you aware of the main General Food Law Requirements?
  • Do you keep written records of all suppliers that provide you with food or any food ingredients?
  • Have you put food safety management procedures in place and are you keeping up-to-date records of these?
  • Do you and your staff understand the principles of good food hygiene?
  • Have you considered health and safety and fire safety arrangements?
  • Have you registered as self-employed?
  • Do you need to register for VAT?
  • Are you keeping records of all your business incomes and expenses?
  • Are you keeping records of your employees pay and do you know how to pay their tax, pension and National Insurance contributions?
  • Do you describe food and drink accurately?
  • Do you need to apply for a licence to sell alcohol, for entertainment, for selling hot food and drink late at night, or selling food on the street?

Some useful resources are from the Food Safety agency:

Starting up: Your first steps to running a catering business

Good Hygiene is good for your business

Food hygiene: a guide for businesses

Or you could get in touch with me on 07801 441249,

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