Start and register a new food business

You have to register your food business 28 days before you open. Fill in the application form and get help to apply.

Starting a new food business can be daunting. There are certain rules and regulations that you have to think about before you can open your business. 

Read the information below to make the process easier.

Make sure your business property has the correct planning permissions for the type of food business you plan to open. 

Register a food business

If you’re opening a food business, you’re required by law to register it with us 28 days before you open. This lets us keep an accurate register of all the premises in the city.

Before you open a food business you should read:

Once you have read these documents, if you still have questions you can send an email to

To register, fill in the online food business registration form or download a food business registration form and return it to us.

If you make certain changes to your business, you must re-register. 

Once you’ve registered a business, a Food Safety Officer will do a food hygiene inspection. 

Read our food business registration privacy notice for information on how we collect, store and process your data.

Small childminding businesses

If you’re starting a small childminding business from your own home you may not need to register. 

You will need to register if you’re starting a childminding business on a more commercial scale, from somewhere that’s not your own home. 

If you have any doubt, please call 01273 294 416 or 01273 294 491. 

Find information about food registration for childminders from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Avoid costly alterations

If you’re starting a food business by fitting a kitchen (or changing the layout), submit plans to your local Food Officer. They can help you make sure it meets legal requirements.

The officer will judge whether the size and layout of the kitchen is suitable for the type and amount of food you plan to produce. This will help avoid costly alterations after your food safety inspection.

Find out how we inspect food businesses.

Safer food, better business

All food businesses must, by law, set out how they make sure the food they produce and serve to the public is safe to eat. This is called a Food Safety Management System (FSMS). You should write it down and review it regularly. 

After the first food safety inspection, the officer will expect your FSMS to be complete and available for them to view. There should also be some evidence of daily opening and closing checks and temperature monitoring.

The easiest way to produce a FSMS for small and medium sized food businesses is to download and complete a Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB) pack. 

Find Safer Food, Better Business packs for different types of food business from the FSA.

Fill in the Safer Food, Better Business diary before the officer comes to do the inspection. If you don’t it could affect your score on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS). 

If you’re a newly registered businesses, phone 01273 294 491 or 01273 294 416 to get these packs.

Healthy Choice scheme

You can get free support to promote healthier catering practices for your food business and apply for a healthy catering award.

Find out more about the Healthy Choice scheme.

Support for new food businesses

Download our food business support pack and the food safety inspection checklist.

Explore our food safety section for more information and find a wide range of food safety advice from the FSA.

Find more advice on how to set up a business.

We can also supply hard copies of the above documents, please call 01273 292 161 or send an email to

Business Link South East

As part of the EU Services Directive we use Business Link South East. This makes it easier for businesses to set up or sell their services anywhere in Europe. 

They publish advice on: 

  • how to write a business plan 
  • choosing the right legal structure
  • choosing the right finance for your business
  • how to research your market
  • what organisations you must contact

Find out more about Business Link South East.

For general export control queries phone 02072 154 594 or send an email to