A Listen to this page
Home > Business > Food safety and hygiene > Starting up and operating your food business

Starting up and operating your food business

Starting your business

If you are planning to open a new food business, getting it right now at this stage will be beneficial to you, and will also ensure that you comply with food safety law, which specifies the standards that you must meet to ensure food safety.

Definition of a food business

A food business is any undertaking - whether carried out for profit or not, and whether public or private - involved in any of the following:

  • Preparation of food

  • Processing of food

  • Manufacture of food

  • Packaging of food

  • Storage of food

  • Transportation/distribution of food

  • Handling of food

  • Offering food for sale


All new food businesses must inform the local council in which area the business is situated and then register the business. Upon receipt of a completed registration form the details will be put onto our database and an authorised officer from the Food, Health and Safety team will then make an inspection of the business soon after you have opened.

Design and layout

Current regulations specify certain requirements in terms of the type of structure, fixtures, fittings and equipment that can be used in a food business. If you have any plans of the design and layout of your proposed kitchen we would be happy to have a look at them and give you feedback, before or during the building stage. For example have you included sufficient wash basins which are to be used only for hand washing?

Food safety management procedures

All food businesses have to have written food safety management procedures in place. Regulations require that food businesses must write down how they make sure that food is safe to eat. The regulations require that anything that could pose a danger to food safety is controlled in accordance with Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.

You can purchase a bound copy of our  safe methods pack for £6.40 and a diary for £4.20 online here or by calling us on 01522 873249. For help and advice on writing a Food Safety Management system that is relevant to your business please contact the Food, Health and Safety team, email environmental.health@lincoln.gov.uk or call 01522 873249. 

Alternatively, you can download the Food Standards Agency model system ‘Safer Food Better Business’ (SFBB) from www.food.gov.uk.

Food hygiene training

Everyone involved in food handling has to be appropriately supervised, instructed and/or trained according to the type of job that they do. It is the responsibility of the food business operator to ensure that food handlers have training. The level of supervision, instruction or training will depend on the actual job of the individual and the type of food handled.

Chefs, cooks, kitchen assistants, staff working on meat or delicatessen counters, staff preparing sandwiches etc. would require training equivalent to the Level 2 award in food safety in catering. This course aims to provide an understanding of the basic principles of food hygiene. More advanced training would be appropriate for managers i.e. Level 3 award in supervising food safety in catering or the Level 4 award in managing food safety.

Knowledge for all caterers should be updated regularly especially to take into account changes in the business or to legislation. Staff demonstrating poor practices should attend refresher courses or be re-trained in-house. Please see our food safety advice fact sheet  “Food Hygiene Training Providers” which details local training providers for this area.

Pest control

Food business operators must take steps to ensure that pests such as cockroaches, rats and flying insects do not gain access to their building. Buildings must be properly pest-proofed and all areas should be monitored regularly to spot any early signs of infestation. A pest control contractor will be able to advise you how to manage pests in your business.

Domestic premises

If you want to operate a food business from home the areas of the domestic premises used for commercial food preparation will need to meet the requirements of food safety law. In particular, they will need to be suited, designed, constructed, kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition. There are a number of requirements including the provision of hot and cold running water, hand washing facilities, appropriate food storage etc. Some traditional domestic kitchens structures may be suitable if they can be kept clean. If you wish to operate a food business from home please contact the Food, Health and Safety team, email  environmental.health@lincoln.gov.uk or call 01522 873249.

Other considerations

In relation to operating a food business you will also need to consider:

  • Trading Standards/food labelling

  • Health and safety of employees, visitors and the public to the business

  • Duty of care responsibilities regarding food waste/refuse collection

  • Environmental protection issues, including the control of statutory noise and odour nuisance

  • Fire Safety

  • Licences for selling alcohol or if you plan to operate after 11:00pm

Food, Health and Safety Team

City Hall
Beaumont Fee
Tel: 01522 873249
Email: environmental.health@lincoln.gov.uk

If you can't find what you're looking for visit our contact us page for a number of options which may help.