How Do I Start A Food Business?

This article outlines the steps needed to start a food business. Food classifications, food licenses and food safety requirements are discussed.


June 30, 2016 By Grace Smith

Step 1 - Determine If You Need to Register Your Food Business

Different registration and licensing rules and regulations exist depending on your food business' location. Examples of common food businesses that need a food business licence include:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Pubs
  • Cafes
  • Mobile Food Units
  • Takeaway food
  • Community organisations
  • Charities that handle and serve food

Other types of businesses that may require a food licence include:

  • Aged care facilities
  • Child care facilities
  • Tour operators that prepare snacks for customers
  • Food processing companies

Step 2 - Determine Your Business Classification

Each Australian State and Territory classifies food businesses differently. To determine your food business classification, you should consult your State or Territory's guidelines. These are listed for your convenience below.

If you are uncertain which industry category your food business falls under, consult our handy guide on determining your food sector.

Step 3 - Contact Your Local Authority

Keeping the above information in mind, you can now register your food business with your local council and arrange to obtain a food business licence.

To determine your local council's process for licensing, visit the Australian Business Licence and Information Service to search for relevant information based on your location and business type.

You will need to provide your local authority with certain information:

  • Your food business classification
  • What types of food you will be serving
  • Who will be receiving your food
  • Whether or not your food is pre-packaged
  • Details of your nominated food safety supervisor (review the next step)
  • You will need to fill out the proper paperwork, pay a fee, and renew your licence annually.

Step 4 - Consider Food Safety

All food businesses must comply with food safety law. First, your State or Territory may require you to hire a Food Safety Supervisor. Second, you may need to develop a Food Safety Program based on HACCP principles.

To learn more about your food safety obligations, consider reading:

Hire A Food Safety Supervisor

In the following States and Territories, food businesses must have a Food Safety Supervisor on staff and available at all times:

  • New South Wales
  • Victoria
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Australian Capital Territory

Your elected Food Safety Supervisor must have proper training and certification before they can work in the position. To help you evaluate your choices regarding Food Safety Supervisors, we have compiled some useful resources:

In consultation with your Food Safety Supervisor, you will need to develop a Food Safety Program based on HACCP principles.

Once you have created your Food Safety Program, you will need to show evidence that your Food Safety Program meets food laws and regulations to your local council. This Food Safety Program can be audited by local government at any time, and you may face fines if your food business does not comply with all food laws and regulations.