Registering a food business

If you store, prepare, distribute or sell food from premises within the borough, it is a legal requirement that you register your business with us by completing a Food Premises Registration Form or you can contact us for the form. This must be done at least 28 days before you open. There is no fee for registration.

Food businesses that require registration includes restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, supermarkets, staff canteens, kitchens in offices, warehouses, guest houses, delivery vehicles, market and other stalls, burger and ice cream vans etc.

Food organisations that donate food such as charities, certain food banks and homeless shelters, and people who produce food in their home for members of the public such as jam making, cake baking etc. may also need to be registered. Registration applies to catering businesses run from home, business that sell food online, and mobile and temporary premises such as stalls and burger vans. Seasonal businesses operating for a certain period each year should give the dates between which they will be open.

There are some exemptions, for example:

  • infrequent activities, i.e. one off events
  • if you make food for your friends and family
  • village halls with kitchens only let out for use by members of the public
  • places where food is only sold through vending machines

Once you have registered with us you will need to notify us of any changes to ownership, if the nature of the business changes or the business closes. 

Food Business Approval

Certain businesses will require approval rather than registration. If your business makes, prepares or handles meat, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish or animal produce for supply to other businesses, it may require approval. This is a more stringent process. Please see our approvals page for more information.

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Once registered you will be inspected by an officer. For businesses in scope of the scheme, your rating will be issued based on the outcome of this inspection. In most cases this inspection will be made unannounced. Your rating will be publicly available online and you will be provided with a sticker to display on your premises.

Food Hygiene Training

You must ensure that you and any food handlers working for you are competent to handle food safely. It is a legal requirement for food handlers to be supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters. Officers will speak to you and food handlers during an inspection to assess the knowledge of food safety matters.

You should chose a course appropriate for your business and your food handlers. While online courses may be cheaper, you should consider whether your selected course will meet the needs of your staff.

Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering training courses accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health are routinely run at the Council Offices, please contact us on 01784 446291 for more information.

Food Safety Management

Food businesses are legally required to have a documented food safety management system in place. Safer Food Better Business is a free, easy to use food safety management pack produced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The pack aims to help small businesses put in place food safety management procedures and to follow food hygiene regulations.

Checklist for starting up

  • Have you registered your premises?
  • Does the design and construction of your premises meet legal requirements?
  • Are you aware of the legal requirements that apply to you?
  • Have you documented your food safety procedures?
  • Do you and your staff understand the principles of good food hygiene?
  • Have you considered health and safety and fire safety arrangements?
  • 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?

This is not intended as a complete list of all the elements you must consider when setting up a new business. It is your responsibility as a business operator to ensure that you comply with all relevant pieces of legislation

More information is available on the Food Standards Agency website - https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/setting-up-a-food-business.