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Starting a food business

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by Startacus Admin

Whether you want to open a restaurant and give Gordon Ramsay a run for his money or you simply want to start baking and selling cupcakes from home, there are a whole host of things that have to be considered first. Of course foodthere are the standard business elements like finance and marketing and the like to be considered, however working with food also means it’s essential to go through lots of other rules and regulations. So, if you are considering Starting a Food Business, here are the basics you need to know.

Focus on Food Hygiene
It is essential that you and any staff you have understand the principles of food hygiene. There are guidelines on everything from the personal hygiene of you and your staff through to the hygiene requirements of your business premises or food preparation and serving area. Full details of what legislation applies to you can be found on the Food Standards Agency site.

Contact your local authority and get registered
Irrespective of the type of food business you are planning, whether it’s home based, street based or you have business premises, it is essential to contact your council or local authority from the off. They will be able to discuss with you your idea, your plans and what specific requirements and legislation you must adhere to.
It is mandatory that at least 28 days before you plan to set up, that you register your business with your local authority. It may be the case that you may also have to get their approval before you can open for business or require a licence before you can legally trade. Either way, make sure that you abide by what they say, since if you don’t, you aren’t likely to be in business very long!

Undertake any mandatory training
Although in the UK it is not essential for a food handler to have a food hygiene certificate, it is however deemed essential that any staff who handle food are supervised and trained sufficiently. Also, the person within the business who creates the Food Safety Management policy will have to have undertaken training to do this correctly. So if this is you, you will need to identify how and where you can get the necessary training. The Food Standards Agency site is an excellent source of info on this.

Create a Food Safety Management Policy
There are also strict guidelines on recording and documenting how you work and what procedures you have in place to manage any potential food hazards. Obviously the nature of what and how much must be documented will vary depending on the type of food business you have - again your local authority will be able to advise you on the mandatory requirements for your particular case.

Avail of these useful resources
As well as the Food Standards Agency site, your own local authority’s website will usually provide details of requirements in your area as well as local contacts. If you are based in Ireland, check out the Food Safety Authority’s website for guidelines and advice.

We hope these basic tips go some way towards pointing you in the right direction if you are considering starting a food business. This is one business sector after all where you just can’t afford to get things wrong and if you need a bit of food based inspiration - check out this tale about the Loaf Cookery school

Check out the Startacus business toolkit for a growing directory of all the business bits and bobs, links and articles  you may need - whatever business you are looking to start.
*Information and links correct at time of publication

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Published on: 15th January 2013

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