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Last updated: 14.02.20

A Guide to Running a Food Business

So, you’re thinking of starting a food business? Or maybe you already operate one and want to step things up a level? Read on to discover our top three suggestions for how to start up and run a food business:

Pick your premises well

You’ve got your great idea for a food business, So, what’s next?

It should come as no surprise, but your first step after coming up with an idea is to find somewhere to operate from. This can be a food venue, a production facility or even your own kitchen depending on your business.

However, there are several factors which should be considered and observed no matter where your food business is based, to keep your business safe, hygienic and free from contamination. Any facility that sees staff work with food should have handwashing facilities, changing rooms and toilets. All workspaces should be well lit and well ventilated to minimise hazards and accidents. For extra information, your best point of contact when it comes to picking your premises should be your local authority who can inform you best on the legal requirements and necessities.

Beyond this, there are obligations with regards to working surfaces, cleaning considerations and equipment requirements. We have created a self-inspection checklist, which can be found here.

Setting up shop with the authorities

Once you’ve obtained your equipment and your premises, your next step is to register with the appropriate business authorities. In the case of a food business, this authority is the environmental health service and you’ll need to register with them at least 28 days before you open your doors. After registration, you can expect a visit from local authority food hygiene inspectors, who will conduct a review of your premises and assign you a food hygiene rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The scheme awards a possible five out of five score and that score can have a significant effect on your company’s success as a business.

It’s worth remembering that from registering onwards, the local authority needs to be aware of any major changes you intend to undertake with regards to your operating procedures or whether you’re thinking of closing things down.

The importance of health and safety

Health and safety is one of the most fundamentally important parts of operating a food business and it’s something that you should get right, right from the start.

This often starts with you as the business owner, and the training you provide your employees. Get off to a good start with training your staff, and good hygiene practices will become part of the company culture and the ideals of everyone who works there. Start with the basics such as personal hygiene and workspace cleaning, and work your way up to professional programmes such as HACCP training. Attend these sessions with your staff and develop your own understanding so you can to maximise the usefulness of the training modules. Check out our HACCP cleaning schedule to help you keep on top of the tasks at hand.

Health and safety can make or break a food business in what is, in many ways, a highly competitive industry. Embracing good hygiene practices can promote your business’ reputation while ignoring it can lead to lost trust, potential bacterial outbreaks and even closure.

The above tips offer just a small look into the intricate, challenging and ultimately rewarding world of owning a food business. Above all, working in the food industry requires drive, focus and most importantly, an enduring love for food and a passion for business.

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