Cafes, soup kitchens and serving food

When opening a café or other similar venture you must register with your local authority environmental health service at least 28 days before opening.

All food must be prepared safely, and it is important that your premises are suitable and meet the required regulations.

Food hygiene

  • The premises must be designed so that they can be kept clean easily and have adequate drainage, ventilation and lighting.
  • You must have enough wash basins for hand washing as well as a separate sink for washing food and separate sink for washing utensils.
  • You must have hot and cold running water, including drinking water.
  • Soap and materials for drying hands hygienically, for example disposable towels.
  • There must be enough toilets, and these must not lead it to food preparation areas.
  • You must have an area for rubbish to be kept and removed regularly. Some types of food must be disposed of in a certain way, contact your local authority for more information.
  • Windows that can be opened to the outside must be fitted with insect-proof screens, where necessary.
  • All utensils must be kept in good repair and be made in a way that allows it to be cleaned thoroughly. Electrical appliances should be capable of being moved for cleaning.
  • Store food properly, in particular keeping raw and cooked foods is extremely important to avoid cross-contamination.

For more information on food safety and legislation visit the Food Standards Agency's ‘Safer food, better business' website at or contact your local authority.