Existing premises may have had legal notices served on them. This means they require work on them to comply with the law. If this work hasn’t been carried out by the previous owner, they may still need to be completed and could become your responsibility. You should ask a solicitor to make enquiries about outstanding notices before you buy or lease a premises.
Some activities require a licence. If you are planning on supplying alcohol, providing regulated entertainment, selling hot food at night or trading on the street you will need a licence. To find out if your business will require a license,visit the licensing webpages.
Health and safety
Health and safetySHOW
You will need to ensure the health and safety of any staff you employ and any customers or other people who may be affected by your business.
The law required you to think about any risks that your staff or customers might be exposed to and for controls to be put in place to prevent or minimise these risks. This process is called risk assessment.
If unwrapped food is handled at the premises, wash hand basins must be provided. These must have hot and cold water and be linked to the drainage system. A supply of liquid soap, preferable in a dispenser, together with hand drying materials must be provided. Suitable hand drying materials include paper towels and paper or a fabric roller towel in a cabinet.
Food hygiene trainingSHOW
The law requires all food handlers to be trained, instructed or supervised in food hygiene to an appropriate standard. Food handlers who prepare open food should complete a Level 2 food hygiene training course. Local colleges can provide information about courses that they offer. You should ensure that all of the food handlers employed in your business receive appropriate food hygiene training.
Food safety management systemSHOW
The law requires all food business operators to put in place documented procedures to ensure that food is produced safely. The procedures must be based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, which are commonly used by the food industry. It is a system designed to prevent food safety problems occurring. To help food business operators comply with this law, the Food Standards Agency have developed‘Safer Food, Better Business’.
When your business starts to trade you will be included on our inspection programme. Your business will be inspected at regular intervals. Regulatory services will also investigate any complaints about your business. If your business does not comply with the law, the inspector will often write to you, explaining the action you need to take. If the problems are serious, the inspector may take more formal enforcement actions. We are always available to discuss the action you need to take to ensure that your business complies with the law.
Southampton City Council has adopted the national food hygiene inspection. Your business will be given a hygiene rating after each inspection. Your business can be rated from ‘5 – Very Good’ to ‘0 – Urgent Improvement Required’. The rating is based on the structural compliance of your premises, the hygiene practices you follow and your food safety management systems. After each inspection, you will be sent a window sticker to display the rating to your customers.
You will need to make arrangements for food waste and other refuse from your business to be stored appropriately and removed regularly by a licensed waste collection contractor. If your business involves frying, the waste oil will need to be collected by a licensed contractor. It must not be poured into the drains, as it may block them. You will need sufficient lidded refuse bins to store all of your refuse until it is collected by the contractor. You should make sure that the bins can be sited in an area which is easily accessible to both you and your staff, and to the contractor and which can be kept clean. There is a charge for the collection and disposal of trade waste.
You can find out more about the council's commercial waste service online or by phone on 023 8083 4325. Other contractors also provide trade waste collection and disposal services.
Mobile food premises
Street trading is only permitted in certain parts of Southampton. You should check thestreet trade licensing webpages to ensure you have picked a permitted location for your business.
Trading in parksSHOW
Trading in the city parks, The Common and car parks is controlled by the council. For further information, see thefood business webpages.
Trading at eventsSHOW
For information on trading at a special council event, visit theevents webpage.
Trading from highwaysSHOW
Trading from highways without the appropriate permission may result in enforcement action being taken by the police or Highway Authority for obstruction. If you are intending to trade from private land, you must have the permission from the landowner and ensure that the appropriate planning consent has been given. For further information, visit thebuilding control webpages.
If you are cooking food, you need to check if your premises has a suitable ventilation system to remove heat and steam. Ventilation can cause odour and noise nuisance, so they need to be carefully designed. They often include filtration equipment to remove odour and sound proofing to control noise from the fan motor.
You must ensure the building you are planning to use for your business has the appropriate planning consent, even if the building has already been operating as a food premises. For further information please consult theplanning pages of our website.
If you provide any seating for your customers, you will need to provide customer toilets. The size and amount of provisions will vary depending on the number of customers your premises will accommodate. You may need to provide toilets that can be used by people with disabilities. Guidance on the number of toilets you need to provide can be found in the British Standard on the Provision of Sanitary Facilities (BS6465 – Part 1)