Starting and registering a new food business

Starting a new food business can be a daunting prospect and there are certain rules and regulations that you have to take into consideration before you can operate.  To make the process easier, we strongly recommend that you read the information below carefully.  The first thing you need to do is to register your food business (see below).

Planning Permission

When you find a premises to operate from:

Firstly make sure that the property has the correct planning permissions for the type of food business you intend to open.  In order to do this, you should contact our Planning Department.

Registration of a Food Business

All food businesses are required by law to register with the council 28 days before opening.  This lets the council keep an accurate register of all the premises in the city.

There are some exemptions to registration, and if you make certain changes to your business you must re-register.  It is advisable to discuss your new business and food hygiene requirements with an officer before opening.  Please call (01273) 294416 or (01273) 294491 to speak to an officer.

You can download a copy of the Registration Application Form, alternatively you can Register a Food Business Establishment online through the Business Link point of single contact website.

Once registered your business will get a Food Hygiene Inspection from a Food Safety Officer. The frequency of this inspection will depend on several factors and further information about the food hygiene inspection can be found on our Food Premises Inspections by the Council page.

There have been recent changes to the registration requirements for Childminders.  If you are starting a small childminding business from your own home, the Food Standards Agency have stated that you may not need to register; however, if you are starting a childminding business on a more commercial scale and from a premises which is not your own home, you will need to register.  If you have any doubt, please contact the Food Safety Team on the aforementioned telephone numbers.  Further information about Childminders and food registration can be found by following this link FSA Childminders registration

Safer Food Better Business

All food businesses must, by law, set out how they ensure that the food produced and served to the public is safe to eat.  This is called a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) and should be written down and regularly reviewed.  When your business receives its first inspection, the officer will expect this to be available to view and have been completed.  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.  The Food Standards Agency (FSA) produces the following SFBB packs (including diary) and diary refills:

SFBB Caterers pack  (for cafes and restaurants)

SFBB Retailers pack (retailers such as convenience shops, small cafes such as coffee shops or which have a very basic menu)

SFBB packs in other languages, for other styles of businesses (childminders), and styles of cuisine

SFBB Diary refill pages.

If you have not filled in the SFBB pack and the diary is not use by the time the officer comes to do the inspection, it could substantially affect your score on the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).  The packs can also be obtained (for newly registered businesses only) by calling 01273 294491 or 01273 294416.

Healthy Choice Scheme

Food businesses in Brighton & Hove can access free support to promote healthier catering practices and can apply for a healthy catering award. Further information about the scheme can be found on the Healthy Choice webpage.

Further Advice

If you are creating a food business by fitting a kitchen, or propose to significantly change the layout of an existing kitchen, then you are strongly advised to submit plans to your local Food Officer to ensure that it meets the legal requirements.  The Officer will make judgements on whether the kitchen is suitable in size and layout for the type, and amount of food you intend to serve/produce.  This may avoid any costly alterations after your food safety inspection.

The council website has numerous leaflets explaining food safety law, however the Food Standard Agency have a dedicated webpage on starting a business: We have also put together a Food Business Information Pack with useful links to webpages and leaflets.

As part of the EU Services Directive Brighton & Hove City Council uses Business Link South East which makes it easier for businesses to set up or sell their services anywhere in Europe.

For information on setting up your business there are various tools, videos and guides available on the Business link website, including 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.

If you need more information, please contact one of our Food Safety Officers on (01273) 294416 or by emailing If you would like further advice on setting up a business please see the council's business page.