Having a ‘quiet’ weekend in Wales, I decided to stop ignoring the thing that’s genuinely preventing me from running a business: the food establishment application. I’ve been doing fun things, like making brownies, wondering what my branding might look like or planning the changes that need to happen in the house to make space for the new business, and pretending the legalities can come later. Rather pleased I took my head out of the sand to look into this…

I downloaded a somewhat terrifying form from my local council’s website, and started to read advice on the Food Standards Agency site: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/startingup. This is one of many useful publications available for download:

Food Hygiene Guide for Businesses

Aside from the guides, the first – and most useful – piece of advice on the FSA site to contact the Food and Safety Department at your local council.

I obviously ignored that though and cracked on with my application (how hard can it be?). By the time I got to the question “How many tonnes of frogs’ legs in total will be handled in the establishment per week on average?” I started to panic. So today I phoned the council, to discover that I was filling in the wrong form, and in fact didn’t need to provide the “detailed scale plan of the establishment showing the location of rooms and other areas to be used for the storage and processing of raw materials”. (I absolutely had not started to think about hiring an architect to do this for me.)

The lovely man at the council has sent me the correct form, which I have duly completed. Not a frogs leg or establishment plan in sight. He also advised I ought to be undertaking the Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate, which I was delighted to report I am doing in December, thereby looking far less stupid than I had done two minutes previously.

I still need to speak to the council about changing the use of premises, as well as arrange insurance and open bank accounts, but I feel I’ve made some headway this weekend.

Next weekend I get to go back to the fun of making cakes, but I’ve learnt an important lesson this week; don’t make assumptions.