Pop Up Takeaways

Where Should I Start?

Thursday December 17, 2009
Where Should I Start?

Before your Pop Up Takeaway can start serving food, there are a few legal and common-sense requirements to be satisfied in order to ensure your restaurant's success now and in the future. You should contact your local authorities for a full list and guidance on fulfilling these requirements. Sources of help and information are listed at the bottom of this page.

Registration and Licensing

One of the first things to do is to register your premises with the environmental health service at your local authority. This must be done at least 28 days prior to opening. If you wish to serve hot food between 11pm and 5am, you'll also need a license. You might also need to register as self-employed and/or register for VAT, and in the unlikely event that you want to make changes to your premises, remember that you may need planning permission.

Sourcing your ingredients

Before you start, you need to think about where you're going to get your ingredients from. Your choice of supplier is important not only for controlling your costs, but also because a supplier's reliability, and the value and quality of their food could affect the success of your business. While cost considerations are key to protecting your margin and making sure you can make money, it is especially important that the products you buy have been stored, processed and handled safely.

Always check that:

  • chilled and frozen food is cold enough
  • packaging is not damaged
  • it is what you ordered

Food Hygiene

Good food hygiene is absolutely essential in order to make sure that the food you serve is safe to eat. In the early stages of setting up your Pop Up Takeaway, it's worth considering which ways of working will help you ensure good hygiene right from the start. Visit the Food Standards Agency's website for information on how you can make sure that your restaurant complies with all the correct procedures and policies.

For delivery of your meals, you'll obviously need to consider how you're going to get your orders from your home to your customers' houses. When you transport food, you are required by law to prevent it from becoming contaminated, for example with dirt or bacteria. It is therefore especially important to make sure that food is protected in packaging or containers so you'll need to ensure you have adequate numbers and appropriate types of these.

Government enforcement officers may inspect your premises to make sure you are following food hygiene rules, and won't usually inform you of their visit in advance. Enforcement officers can take action if they find that your standards of food hygiene are not good enough - but they're primarily there to offer help and advice on food safety.

Be Prepared

The most important thing is to gather as much information as possible from all available sources in order that you are as well informed as possible about the law and best practice, before you begin trading. The companies listed below are a great starting point, but don't stop there if you feel like you need more information - there are many organisations which offer help and advice, usually for free, to those considering starting their own food business.

Learn more about selecting a restaurant theme and menu

Useful Sources of Help / Information

Food Standards Agency

The Food Standards Agency is an independent Government department set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000 to protect the public's health and consumer interests in relation to food. It produces a number of factsheets and information packs which it is essential you review when considering setting up your Pop Up Takeaway.

www.food.gov.uk | 0845 606 0667 | foodstandards@ecgroup.uk.com

Health and Safety Executive

The Health and Safety Executive produces a number of factsheets that are relevant to catering businesses.

www.hse.gov.uk | 01787 881165.

HM Revenue & Customs

www.hmrc.gov.uk | 0845 9000 404

Business Link

www.businesslink.gov.uk | 0845 600 9006

Business Eye (Wales)

www.businesseye.org.uk | 08457 96 97 98

Business Gateway (Scotland)

www.bgateway.com | 0845 609 6611

Scottish Enterprise

www.scottish-enterprise.com | 0845 607 8787

Workspace (Northern Ireland)

www.workspace.org.uk | 028 7962 8113

Invest Northern Ireland