Toggle menu

Food establishments


If you are thinking of starting a food business, you can contact us about anything from health and safety, to licensing or waste issues.

Advice for existing food businesses

If you decide to adapt or change anything regarding your food business you need to let us know, as you may need to review how you carry out your activities and update your policies and procedures.  

To help ensure such activities are carried out safely, please contact the Environmental Services Commercial Team for advice and guidance:

How do I start a food business?

When you start a new food business, or take over an existing business, you must register the business at least 28 days before you start trading.

Registration is free and cannot be refused. If you are already trading and have not yet registered, you need to register as soon as possible as this is a legal requirement.

Below are examples of types of operations that require registration. This list is not exhaustive:

  • restaurants, cafes and takeaways
  • retail shops selling food
  • making food and selling from your home
  • catering businesses run from home, mobile catering including marquees, food stalls, food pop-ups and food vans
  • nurseries, schools and care homes
  • distance selling, mail order and food delivery, including food supplied online or through social media channels or marketplaces
  • fishing vessels

Once you have registered, you must make sure the information is kept up to date. You should tell us if you:

  • decide not to start trading
  • make significant changes to your operating model, such as selling food online or from a mobile unit, or diversifying your business
  • plan to close your food business

If you are unsure whether you need to register or to inform us of any changes, please contact us.

Further information and guidance about starting a food business is available from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) (opens new window).

Food safety training

If you operate a food business, you must ensure that food handlers receive appropriate supervision and training in food hygiene.

The law does not require food handlers to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food, however it can be used to help demonstrate that staff have been given training.

The Food Standards Agency offers the following free online training:

Does my food business need to be approved?

Find out if you need to become an approved food premises and how to apply.

Businesses required by law to be an approved food premises

If your business makes, prepares or handles food of animal origin such as meat, fish or dairy, and supplies it to other businesses and not directly to the public, you may need to apply to us to become an approved food premises.

The types of premises that by law have to be approved include:

  • meat processing or preparation plants
  • minced meat processing operations or mechanically separated meat processing plants
  • cold stores
  • manufacturers of meat, dairy, egg or fish products

This is different to our normal food registration requirements.

Applying for approval

Please contact the Commercial Team regarding your food business if you think you may require approval.

How do I request a new food hygiene rating?

If you wish to have a new food hygiene rating after carrying out the required work after a previous food hygiene inspection, you can request a revisit by filling out our application form.

There is an administrative fee of £211.

What toilet facilities do I need to provide for the public in my food premises?

If you provide any seating for people to eat and drink at your premises, you must provide public toilets and hand washing facilities for those people to use.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has adopted a Code for the Provision of Customer Toilets in Eating and Drinking Establishments. 

The code covers any premises or establishments used in the sale of food or drink to members of the public for consumption at the place of sale, such as cafes, restaurants, licensed pubs, bars, and clubs.

1. Introduction

This code has been produced to ensure that adequate toilet provisions are provided within eating and drinking establishments within the Borough of Great Yarmouth. This code supersedes the Great Yarmouth Borough Council Code of Practice: Provisions of Customer Toilets at Cafes and Restaurants. (Approved October 2007) 

In producing the Code, consideration has been given to the standards laid down in the 2007 Code of Practice and BS 6465-1:2006: Sanitary Installations - Part 1: Code of Practice for the Design of Sanitary Facilities and Scales of Provision of Sanitary and Associated Appliances. 

2. What type of premises does the code cover?

The code covers any premises or establishment used for the sale of food or drink to members of the public for consumption at the place. This includes but is not limited to - cafes, restaurants, licensed pubs, bars, and clubs. 

3. Where does the code not apply? 

The code does not apply to establishments used for the sale of food and drink which is all consumed off the premises. The code shall also not apply where a maximum of 10 seats are provided within an establishment for the consumption of food or drink at the premises but where the primary use of the establishment is for takeaway food and drink. 

4. When does the code apply? 

This code must be applied in the following situations: 

  • new buildings intended to be used as an establishment defined in section 2
  • where significant refurbishments are being carried out in any establishment defined in section 2
  • change of use of a premises to a use defined in section 2

Outside of these situations the guidance shall be applied where authorised officers of this Council identify significant deficiencies in toilet provisions in premises defined in section 2. In these circumstances they may require, by service of a statutory notice, the business operator/owner to provide adequate toilet provisions within a specified period from the date that the deficiencies are identified. 

Please Note: building regulations approval or planning permission may be required for changes to facilities or the provision of additional facilities. Nothing within the code removes the requirement for building regulations or planning permission.

5. Standard for provisions

5.1. Minimum provisions for establishments where seating is provided for food and drink for consumption at that place.

Where there are a maximum of 20 seats at the premises 1 toilet shall be provided for use by customers. Where no more than 20 seats and where a maximum of 5 staff are working at any one time (including proprietors), staff may use the toilet provided for customers.

Where there are 21 seats or more, minimum provisions for toilet facilities within establishments where food is served:

Toilets (WC)

Male customers: where urinals are provided: 2 for up to 150 males; plus 1 for every additional 250 males or part thereof. Where urinals are not provided: 2 for up to 50 males.
Female customers: 2 for up to 30 females; plus 1 for every additional 30 females up to 120, plus 1 for every additional 60 females or part thereof.

Hand basin

Male customers:1 per WC, plus 1 per 5 urinals or part thereof.
Female customers: 1 per WC.


1 per 60 males or part thereof up to 120 males; plus 1 for every additional 100 males or part thereof.

5.2. Minimum provisions for licensed pubs, bars, nightclubs, and discotheques

Toilets (WC)

Male customers: 2 for up to 150 males; plus 1 for every additional 200 males or part thereof 2 for up to 40 males if urinals are not provided
Female customers: 2 for up to 25 females; plus 1 for every additional 25 females or part thereof up to 200 females; plus 1 for every additional 35 females or part thereof.

Hand basin

Male customers: 1 per WC, plus 1 per 5 urinals or part thereof.
Female customers: 1 per WC, plus 1 per 2 WCs or part thereof.


1 for every 50 males up to 200 males; plus 1 for every additional 70 males or part thereof.

Please Note: to calculate the number of male or female customers, an assumption should be made that an establishment will receive a 50:50 ratio of male and female customers, i.e. for establishments with seating for up to 100 customers, requirements should be calculated based on 50 male customers and 50 female customers.

5.3. Requirements for employees

In addition to toilets provided for customers, toilets are also required for employees. Where 5 or more employees are likely to be in the workplace at any one time, these facilities must be separate to customer toilet facilities. For more information, please refer to Workplace (Heath, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 or refer to the Health and Safety Executive website

6. Relaxation of the standards laid down in this code 

The Council recognises that there may be situations where it is impossible to meet the requirements of this code and to ensure that local economic growth is not hindered, there may be certain circumstances where the Council may agree to a relaxation of the standard laid down in the code. Such circumstances may include:

  • specific restrictions imposed by Planning and Development Control
  • physical restrictions that do not allow the required facilities to be accommodated
  • where change of use is sought with no major refurbishment

Also having regard to the following criteria:

  • number and type of customer seats provided
  • proximity of other sanitary accommodation available to customers
  • nature of food provided. 

Written agreement must be obtained from Environmental Services.

7. Enforcement of the code 

Toilet provisions within relevant premises will be checked during routine Food Hygiene or other inspections at the premises. Visits to specifically check the adequacy of toilet provision may also be made in the following situations:

  • following a complaint
  • planned initiative

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 provides powers to Local Authorities to require sanitary facilities to be made available in relevant places, as defined in section 2 of this code. 

Authorised officers of this Council will enforce the standards laid down in this code through the service of a statutory notice requiring the provision of adequate toilet provisions to meet those standards within a specified period. 

8. Limitations 

This code does not cover requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. For more information visit the Council's website.

How can I find out about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?

If you are a food business and you wish to check your food hygiene rating, appeal your rating because you feel it was unfair or wrong and/or you would like the opportunity to request a revisit when improvements have been made in order to be reassessed for a new rating, you can find out how to do this on the Food Standards Agency (opens new window) website.

Complete a low risk food establishment questionnaire

If you have received a request to complete a low risk food establishment questionnaire please click this link to complete a low risk food establishment questionnaire.

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email