Food businesses are required by law to register at least 28 days before opening. You may be fined, imprisoned for up to two years or both if you run a food business without registering.
Registration applies to most permanent and temporary establishments serving food to the public such as restaurants, canteens, mobile units, market stalls and home catering businesses.
If you have two or more premises you will need to register them separately.
Even if you do not take payment for the food you offer (eg as part of a charity), you are still required to register.
If you're not sure if you need to register, contact the food safety team using the details below..
How to register
Complete the online form on the Food Standards Agency website. Registration is free.
You will need to notify us If there is a change in business activities or a change in ownership after you have registered.
After we’ve received your form
A food safety officer will visit your premises to carry out a food hygiene inspection. You will then be given an inspection report and awarded a score as part of the food hygiene rating scheme.
Your rating and inspection report will be made available on our food hygiene ratings listings to help consumers make an informed choice when deciding where to eat or buy food.
What you need to do before the premises opens
Before you begin trading you must ensure that:
- all food handlers have appropriate food safety training and you have a record of this
- you have completed a documented food safety management system, such as Safer Food Better Business.
You should keep your documents and records at the premises ready for inspection. Businesses who do this are more likely to receive a higher food hygiene rating.
Further information about starting a food business is available from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Other things to consider
You may need to apply for a licence to carry out any of the following activities:
- sell alcohol
- have entertainment
- sell hot food and drink late at night
- place tables and chairs on the street
- trade on the street.
A building which is used as a restaurant or café must have planning consent for ‘A3’ use. It is the business’ responsibility to check that it has the correct planning consent.
Food safety team