Getting approval

Getting approval

Starting a food business

If you are taking on an existing food business, renovating or converting one you need to ensure that you have the appropriate consent.

Operating a food business without consent is an offence. Before you open you need to submit a business registration form.

Getting started

The site may already have development consent to operate as a food business. If not, check it is suitable before submitting your development application.

Make sure it is large enough and has a kitchen exhaust or room for one to be installed. The exhaust must discharge vertically above the roof level and not adversely affect another household or business. Further smoke or odour controls may be necessary.

If a grease trap is required by Sydney Water, it must not be installed in any kitchen, food preparation or food storage areas. You should be able to empty the trap from the boundary of the property.

Toilets and basins

You will also need toilet facilities with hand-wash basins for staff and similar facilities for customers if the venue holds more than 20 diners.

The following sinks and basins are also required:

  • hand wash basins within 5 metres of all food-handling and service areas; provided with hands-free delivery of warm running water through a single spout
  • a double-bowl sink or a single-bowl sink with a dishwasher
  • a food-preparation sink, where food washing is carried out and a separate cleaner’s sink
  • a hand basin and a sink for washing are also required in bar areas.

Kitchens should have enough room for all equipment, staff movement and to keep bulk food supplies off the floor and raw ingredients separate from food that is ready to eat. They also require:

  • exhaust hoods above all cooking areas
  • cool rooms and freezers
  • hot and cold displays capable of maintaining temperatures (>60 for hot, <5 degrees for cold)
  • chemical and clothing storage.

Controlling rubbish

Waste-storage areas need the following:

  • cold-water tap and hose connection
  • impervious flooring, drained to a sewer
  • smooth, impervious walls
  • ventilation
  • sufficient space for waste and recycling bins
  • vermin-proof structure
  • lidded waste bins to prevent pests.

Floors, walls and ceilings: Must be solidly built, smooth, impervious, durable and easily cleaned, even in store areas

  • kitchen floors graded to a floor waste – timber and polished concrete are generally not suitable
  • durable finishes such as stainless steel or tiles are advised for kitchen wall
  • drop-in panels are unsuitable for ceilings
  • benches and other equipment need to be raised 150 millimetres above the floor.

NSW Food Authority

Find out how to register and how to appoint a food safety supervisor.

Further advice is available from the City’s environmental health officers.

Planning advice is available at the Town Hall Customer Service Centre or you can call 02 9265 9333.


NSW Food AuthorityFood Act 2003 Food Standards CodesSydney Water

Last updated: Thursday, 16 January 2020