Getting into the catering industry

Before you start a catering business, you need to understand how the industry works, what things you need to consider in your planning, and the legal requirements you must meet.

Catering industry market research

Market research can help you to:

  • understand the industry
  • assess the viability of your business idea
  • identify key factors that could affect the success of your business.

Before you start your catering business, use our free step-by-step market research kit to develop your business plan.

Catering industry requirements

A number of licensing and registration regulations govern the catering industry. When starting a catering business you need to consider the following requirements.

Operating a food service business

To run a catering business, you may need a Food Business Licence from the local council where your food business is based. Licence costs and application processing times will vary so check details with your local council when you apply. Licensed food businesses may have more than 1 registered premises.

Occupying a stall or selling food from a stationary vehicle

To sell food from a stall or stationary vehicle, you may need a Standing Vehicle/Stall Licence from the local council where you will be selling food. Licence costs vary from council to council and it can take 4 weeks to process your application. Your permit will stay in effect for 12 months if it's approved.

This licence is not mandatory in all council areas so check with the local council to see if you need one.

Serving alcohol to customers

To serve alcohol to your customers, you may need a Liquor Licence (Commercial other) from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation. Licence costs vary depending on your business type so check with the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation when you request an application form.

Picking up meat (e.g. from a butcher or wholesaler) to sell to customers

If you pick up meat to sell to customers, you may need to fill in an Application for Accreditation from Safe Food Production Queensland. Accreditation costs vary depending on your business type and it may take Safe Food up to 4 weeks to process your application. You must ensure the meat's integrity for your customers' safety.

Travelling in council areas while selling food to the public

To travel within the boundaries of the local council while you sell food, you may need an Itinerant Vendor Licence from the local council where you'll be travelling. Licence costs vary from council to council and it can take up to 4 weeks to process your application. Your permit will stay in effect for 12 months if it's approved.

This licence is not mandatory in all council areas so check with the local council to see if you need one.

Food safety

You are legally required to meet the food health and safety standards set in the Food Act 2006, Food Regulation 2006 and Food Production (Safety) Act 2000. Ensure you make and store food safely for your customers.

Learn more about food industry regulations.

Related links

Last reviewed
January 17, 2014

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