Starting a Food Business

How to set up a food business and make sure you meet the standards set out in food safety law


28 days before you start trading you will need to register your premises with the Council. Registration is free.  Download a Icon for word registration form [79.45KB] and submit it either by email to 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). 

In addition 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 the department either by email on or by telephone on 01775 761161, providing 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 the Licensing web page . You will 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 are providing tables for customers to sit at you will need to consider WC facilities
  •  Domestic Premises - you will 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, accessible hand washing facilities (separate from within 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 which you must provide will depend on the number of seating you have (covers). See the Council's Toilet Policy for more detail. If you intend to make any structural alterations you should contact our building control and planning department.

Any premises where you are providing hot food or drink between the hours of 23:00hrs to 05.00 hrs 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 leaflet “Starting up – Your first steps to running a catering business” or contact us.


When you are inspected you will 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

Documented Food Safety System (Legal Requirement)

All food business 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

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 on  available on the Food Standards Agency Website. When you are inspected the officer will expect to see this paperwork and the lack of it will affect your food hygiene rating.

Getting further 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 & Safety Team at or contact us by telephone on 01775 761161.

We have set up a commercial service to support new business and provide pre inspection advice.  If you are interested in one of our new business advice workshops, please visit the EHC What's on section of our Environmental Health Consultancy website