Are you planning on starting a food business? Before you start ordering your wholesale catering supplies and costing your menu, here are some important things you need to consider first.
Register Your Premises
When starting your own restaurant, the first step should be registering your premises with the environmental health services. Your local authority will be able to instruct you on how to do this. If your premises requires any building work, you should also notify the environmental health services and local authority. Consider whether you need to register as self-employed and for VAT. These processes will require a different form to registering your premises. It is important that you have the licenses needed for your business and abide by premise regulations.
Food Safety Management
It is crucial that you have food safety management procedures for your business, this involves deciding how the food is produced to ensure that it is safe for your customers to eat. The Food Standards Agency have information available to help you put these systems together. The staff you hire are responsible for maintaining your food safety management procedures, so it is important that you train members of staff who handle food in your business. Choosing a good supplier is also essential for your business as these a responsible for the handling, safety and quality of your food supply. Keep all documentation of suppliers, for example, their contact details, product information and receipts. This is key for your business especially if there is a product recall.
Making sure that the food your business serves customers is safe is another aspect of starting up your own food business that is important. A business should have a good knowledge of food hygiene to avoid damaging its reputation and preventing customers from getting food poisoning. The four Cs of food include cleaning, cooking, cross-contamination and chilling.
Restaurant Menu Rules
To avoid your customers getting confused, you should make sure that you clearly display the prices on your menu. For example, you should include VAT prices when necessary, or if you decide to add a service charge, this must be as prominent as the other prices on your menu. Food should be described as accurately as you can on adverts and menus. Information about allergies should be placed prominently and stand out to your customers. Visit food.gov.uk for more information about describing the items on your menu.
Some of the main types of businesses include sole traders, partnership, or a limited company. Deciding on what type of company you are should be one of the first steps when starting a food business. If you choose to be self-employed, you should register with HM Revenue & Customs within three months of your new business opening. Being self-employed also means that you are responsible for paying your taxes and national insurance. If you would like advice on either of these, you should contact your local tax office.
Food Safety Regulations
The two main food safety regulations for any business consist of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 and The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations.
Food Safety Management Procedures – Help
If you need help with putting food safety management procedures into place, there a variety of packs containing information depending on where you are located. The Food Standards Agency produce information packs for businesses in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland and other organisations do the same in Wales. For more information on starting up your own food business, take a look at The Food Standard Agency’s website.