Advice for new food businesses and home catering start-ups

Lancaster City Council is encouraging new home catering businesses and start-ups to get in touch for advice on making a success of their new enterprise, including how to comply with food hygiene regulations.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic there has been an increase in the number of new online businesses offering food to local people.

Many of these are being run by those who have been furloughed from their main job and are setting up a new enterprise, or want to actively help their community.

While the city council encourages the establishment of new businesses, it’s important that the relevant regulations are followed to keep the public safe.

If you’re thinking of setting up a food business from home, regardless of whether this is baking cakes or preparing full meals, food hygiene regulations still apply, including the requirements for food labelling, food safety management and allergen controls. 

If you wish to run any type of business from home you also need to consider a number of things first, such as:

•       Do you need planning permission?
•       Will your business cause a nuisance to your neighbours?
•       Will you have to pay business rates?
•       Does your current mortgage or tenancy allow you to run a business from home?
•       Is there a covenant on your house deeds or lease that prevents you from running a business from home?
•       Can you run a food business safely from your home kitchen? Think of the size, layout, structure and whether you have young children or pets.

The council’s website has plenty of useful advice for anyone thinking of setting up a food business from home, and the Food Standards Agency also has a lot of helpful advice, which is available at

Anyone running a food business will also have to register the business with Lancaster City Council. Registration is free, very straightforward and can be completed online at

Registering a food business is a legal requirement whether the business is new or already established. Registration also applies to charitable organisations where food is given away for free.

The council’s food team is available to provide help, support and advice to anyone who is already operating a food business or thinking of setting one up. It is much better to ask for advice before starting the business.

This can save a lot of time, wasted expense and help you run your business safely.

Getting the right business advice early can also help to make your business a success.

For further advice and support please visit our food safety pages.

Businesses must also have a valid Duty of Care Note in place and have a licensed waste contractor collecting from them. Lancaster City Council provides this service and can be contacted on 01524 582416 or email

Last updated: 30 April 2020