You have finally chosen to open up your own food business, or perhaps you are simply taking over an existing business. You have everything in your head designed, how the place will look, what you will sell, and even the location. Now, there is only one thing left to do: register your food business.
Which businesses require food registration?
While it may seem evident that restaurants, grocery stores, patisseries, or butcheries will need registration to sell their food items. Some businesses are still required to have food registration, even if food is a small part of their business.
This might leave you wondering whether your business needs to be registered in the UK. Naturally, any food business cooking, storing, or supplying/ selling food will need to be registered. This includes catering businesses, restaurants, cafes, food stalls, food delivery services, and any company involved in the food distribution or supply chain.
What might seem more surprising is that if you are a childminder or are running a nursery, you will still be required to apply and register your business if you provide food to the children you are looking after. This is because you are handling, preparing, and supplying food to young children, and as such, as someone who is working with food items, you will need special registration for this service.
What should I expect when registering my food business?
Registering your food business is free, so you should not worry about any up-front costs for registering your business. In general, when registering your food business with a local authority, the principle is that the registration cannot be refused. This means that getting your business registration should be a reasonably straightforward procedure from the start.
Once you have registered your business, the next thing that you should expect is that your local authority will set up an inspection of your premises. Your business will be rated from 0 to 5 based on the food hygiene rating standards. The rating standards and factors include inspection of cleanliness, food storage, food quality, safe practices when handling food, and the food preparation that you put in. To learn more about what the food hygiene standards require, we recommend that you read the full government website on the topic by clicking here.
Generally, if you practice good health and safety procedures, you should receive a high rating from this inspection.
Do note that if you are handing or preparing food from animal sources that will then be supplied to other businesses, you will need the local council to approve your premises for you to be able to operate your business legally. To learn more about Food Premises approval in England, you can click here.
When should you register your business?
Standard practice is that you register your business at least 28 days before the official opening of your food business. However, if you are already operating your business and have not yet registered, it is recommended that you go through the registration process as soon as possible. This is important as you may be fined and even imprisoned for up to 2 years for running a food business without proper registration. Therefore, registering is not something that business owners should neglect.
How do you register your food business?
You can register your food business by visiting the government website. You can do so by clicking here and writing in the field your postcode. After that step, it will take you to your local council’s information page for registering your food business. For example, if you wanted to operate your business in London under the London Borough of Camden, the web page would be the one found here.
In the middle of the How to apply page, a green button will state Apply Online. By filling this application, you will be able to establish your food business establishment.
Are you required to display your license?
Whether displaying your licence is a requirement will depend on your type of business. For a business that requires food premises approval, you will most likely be required to display your licence. However, this is something that you will need to check with your local council, as each council has its own set of rules and guidelines.
What other actions should you take other than registering your food business with your local council?
Once you have registered your business with your local council, you will need to consider whether you need to register your business with a tax accountant or what other steps to take to run your business. These could include finding the funds to start your business. For more information on this, click here, or you may need to register your business name. For more information, click here. In any case, you will want to check with a lawyer and an accountant that you have all of your legal documents ready so that you can start operating your business straight away.
Other useful links from our knowledge centre:
Can a Business Refuse Cash?
How Does Brexit Affect Business
What is Liquidity in Business?
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