Starting a food business

Registering a food business

When you start a new food business, or take over an existing business, you must register the business with the Public Health & Regulation team at least 28 days before you begin trading.

This applies to any business where food is prepared and supplied to members of the public, including:

  • cafés
  • restaurants
  • pubs
  • takeaways
  • hotels and B&Bs
  • shops
  • catering businesses run from home
  • mobile caterers
  • nurseries and schools
  • care homes

Registration is free:

Details of your business, including the name and nature of your business, will be kept on a register. Some of this information will be publicly available, but certain details, including addresses of businesses operating from a private residence, will be withheld.

To register a food business please complete the online form below:

Please note:

  • Contact officer instruction: If you have already been in contact with a specific food officer regarding your business then please use the box marked 'OTHER' at the bottom of the section on the 'Type of business', to state the name of the food officer you have had contact with (this ensures that your registration and subsequent inspection goes to the correct officer).
  • Dark kitchens: If your food business uses a premises/kitchen operated by someone else, please let us know in the 'business other details' section of your food registration form. This will ensure that the premises record and food hygiene rating score for the host premises/kitchen that you are using is not removed from our records and the rating website. For example: “I use the kitchen at Happy Cafe 123 High St Worthing from 5pm to 10pm on Sundays and Mondays when the owner is not using the kitchen. 

Once you have registered you will need to tell us if:

  • there is a change in ownership
  • there is a change in the nature of the business, including if you close

After food premises registration, your business will be inspected and a Food Hygiene Rating score will be issued if applicable.

For more information please see:

Check whether you need a licence

Some businesses will require a licence if they intend to sell alcohol, or for street trading.

For more information please see:

Apply for premises approval

Your food business may require premises approval if you plan to manufacture large quantities of food products using unprocessed products of animal origin, eg fresh meat, raw minced meat, raw milk, eggs etc. 

If you think you may need premises approval please email our Food Safety Service to discuss, using the contact details below.

We have an application form but because the process is complex and there are some circumstances where you may not need to apply, we recommend discussing your requirements with us first. This may help you avoid filling out a form unnecessarily.

If following our discussion we agree that you do need to apply for premises approval, we will send you the form to complete. 

Planning permission

You will probably need to apply for planning permission if you plan to change the use of a premises. 

For further information please see:

Business support and advice

We want your business to be a success. If you are starting a new business our Economic Development team is here to give business support and advice. For further information please see:

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Page last updated: 21 April 2022

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