Register a food business

Last Updated: 6 April 2021

To store, prepare, distribute or sell food in premises you need to be registered with us.

Premises include:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • hotels
  • shops
  • canteens
  • market stalls
  • mobile catering vans
  • food delivery vans
  • business run from home

Registration of food premises (PDF 36KB / 1 page) should be completed in respect of new food business establishments and received by us 28 days before commencing food operations. On the basis of the activities carried out, certain food business establishments are required to be approved rather than registered

If you are unsure whether any aspect of your food operations would require approval, please contact our Food and Safety Group for guidance.

You should talk to your local planning authority about any change to the business.

Premises licences would be required if you:

  • intend to sell or supply alcohol
  • provide hot food or drink after 11pm


Any member of staff who handles food must be supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene in an appropriate way.


We carry out regular checks on all food premises. Inspections take place without warning and high risk premises are visited more often than lower risk premises.

Officers will want to be satisfied that:

  • adequate controls are in place to prevent any problems
  • staff are adequately trained
  • the conditions and cleanliness of the premises meets required standards

Scores are awarded for:

  • food hygiene compliance
  • structural compliance
  • confidence in management

If practices and/or conditions are not satisfactory then we will try to resolve the situation informally.

Where poor conditions continue or there is a risk to public health we may have to: 

  • serve a legal notice
  • prosecute
  • close the business

Food Standards Agency: national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme inspection results

Food safety

You must have food safety management procedures that staff understand.

The Food Standards Agency have developed Safer Food Better Business packs.

Other useful information

Business start up support

Health and safety for your new business

Trading Standards advice for businesses

Cumbria Growth Hub advice for starting a business