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A woman making pastries at home.

The recipe to success for a food-based business

Whether you’re making Perth’s best wedding cakes or whipping up curries for big crowds, there’s nothing like freshly-made food to draw a crowd. If you’re a talented cook, your MasterChef skills could be the gateway to starting a business. You could even have the opportunity to work from home.

Before you start to make money online or through other opportunities as a food entrepreneur, it’s important to make sure you have all the right licences and permits in place. Here are our top tips to help you find the recipe for success.

Get an appetite for compliance

Applying for the right licences and permits can take time, effort and money, but it’s an investment worth making.

Without the right permissions, your food business could be just one ingredient away from a home-cooked disaster. Even with the best skill set and cleanest equipment in the world, factors outside of your control (such as ingredients and allergens) can easily have an impact on the food you serve. There are often stories in the news of salmonella or listeria outbreaks caused by food. Don’t take the risk – make sure your business can serve up legitimate and safe meals.

To get started, you might like to use our free online business licence finder. Just enter your suburb and business type to get a customised report outlining the licences and permits you’ll need and where to get them.

Know your kitchen terminology

While you might know your bouquet garni from your Béchamel sauce, there are some terms that you’ll need to know in the food industry to run a safe and suitable business. These include the Food Act 2008, Food Regulations 2009 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

You will need permission from your local council to work from home. When you apply for the relevant licences, the agency you apply to will want to answer a number of questions, including:

  • Is your proposed food business operation suitable for a residential area?
  • Is the structure of your home and kitchen appropriate for the proposed activities?
  • What kind of risks are involved in preparing the kind of food you want to sell?

If you meet the criteria and can get the right permits, you’ll be starting a business you can advertise freely and be proud of. If you aren’t eligible for the right kind of permits, your food dreams don’t have to end there.

Consider other courses

If your council doesn’t allow a food-based business to operate from your home, you could explore other business ideas to turn your love of food into a small business. For example:

  • You might be able to operate from an already established and licensed premises, such as a café with a compliant kitchen
  • You could start a food blog or review site with a view to make money online over time
  • You might be able to start your own food outlet, buy an established food business or explore food franchise opportunities.

If you’re hungry for business idea and passionate about great food, there are many foodie avenues you can explore.

For more help with your business ideas, learn more about our free small business advisory service or book your place in our next free ‘Starting a Business’ workshop.

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