If you would like to operate a catering business within South Burnett Regional Council area you will need to apply for a Food Business Licence before fitting out the premise/or setting up the business and operating.  The following information will provide a step by step process for how to obtain approval for a catering business.

Catering is usually defined as being food that is:

  • Of an agreed type
  • For a set number of persons
  • Served at a prearranged time
  • For a predetermined cost
  • Examples of On-Site Catering
Wedding reception centre that is not open as a restaurant Restaurant/Café – with Catering Provisions on site i.e. Weddings & Functions Winery

Exemption for On- Site Catering:

  • on not more than 11 occasions in any 12 month period; and
  • for fewer than 200 persons on each occasion

NOTE: Businesses that provide Pre-packed platters such as sandwiches, fruit, etc. or pizza delivery etc. do not come under the definition of Catering


Examples of Off-Site Catering

Off-site catering refers to a business serving food that has the potential to be hazardous, at a place other than the principal place of operation for the food business. If the caterer is an off-site caterer, they would need to be licensed with the Council at the principal place of business.

Camp Oven Spit Roast Function on Private Property – Wedding, Birthday, Engagement

Exemption for Off- Site Catering:

  • delivering food under an arrangement with, or on the order of, a consumer, for example delivering pizzas from a pizza shop.
  • the sale of food from a mobile food vehicle or temporary food premises


Step 1 Pre-lodgment meeting

  • Contact one of Council’s Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) to discuss your proposed business.
  • This can assist in the preliminary phase of choosing a suitable property
  • Ensuring there are no additional approvals required like Planning, Building & Plumbing
  • Ensuring you have all the correct information when you do lodge your Food Business Licence Application

Step 2 Assessing your Application

This is done in two parts with a structural design assessment and then a Food Business Licence Assessment

  • Structural Design Assessment

    • This assessment is when the design plans are assessed to ensure they comply with the Food Safety Standards and Food Act 2006.
    • This process generally takes up to 14 - 20 days.
    • A Structural Design Approval document will be issued with the required specifications on what the licensed area is to be fitted out to comply.
    • If there is insufficient information or design detail on the plans an Information Notice may be issued.
    • Structural Guideline
  • Food Business Licence Assessment

    • This assessment is the final part of your Licence Application, which can take 30 days to assess.
    • The process includes assessing the Licensee is suitable to hold a Food Business Licence and a final inspection of the premise is conducted.
    • The final inspection of the premise is undertaken to ensure that the licensed area complies with the original structural design approval and that all other approvals have been signed off including but not limited to Planning, Building, & Plumbing.
    • Before you can start Operating an Information Notice with a Decision about your Application along with a Food Business Licence is to be issued.

Step 3 Decision

  • Information Notice with a Decision is issued
  • Food Business Licence is Issued
  • If the premise is not ready or their problems that occur along the way with assessment or final inspections an Extension can be granted in accordance with the Act.

Step 4 Renewal & Inspections

  • Each year you will be sent out a Food Business Renewal Form & Invoice for the next 12mth Licence period, sixty (60) days prior to your expiry date.
  • Your Licence will expire at the anniversary of your first approval date.
  • This fee includes your 12-month Licence and annual inspections of your business.
  • If you do not complete your renewal form and pay the required funds by the expiry date your Licence will be cancelled.
  • If you operate after an expiry date without a Current Food Business Licence you are deemed to be operating illegally and Compliance Action will be undertaken.
  • Inspections are carried out by Council Environmental Health Officers and authorised contractors throughout the year.
  • You will generally be inspected at least once a year but often twice or more.
  • If you have regular non-compliance inspections you may be charged for these additional inspections.
  • You are not permitted to refuse an Authorised Officer to enter your premise. An EHO can enter the Licensed Food Premise at “any time” during normal operating hours as per your Licence Conditions.

Food Safety Supervisor

It is a requirement in Queensland that all Licensable Food businesses have a nominated Food Safety Supervisor. You can nominate this person when you make your Licence application.

You must provide certification of your Food Safety Supervisor within 30 days of being issued a Food Business Licence.

Find out more about Food Safety Supervisor

Water Supply

The Food Safety Standards Requires a Food Business to be supplied with Potable Water for both cleaning and food contact.  If the property is not supplied with Council Reticulated Water you will need to provide evidence of how the water is treated and undergo water certified water testing as per your Licence conditions.

If you are using tank water there are some handy guides that may assist you in finding a suitable solution for your business.  See link

Other Approvals

You may also need to check that you have other approvals either with the council or through Private Certification.  Some areas to check may include Planning, Plumbing and Building. 

NOTE: Council will not issue a Food Business Licence until you have complied with all other required approvals.