Licences for fixed premises

'Fixed premises' refer to a fixed location, where a food business will be preparing or handling unpackaged food for retail sale. The licence covers a specific location at a time. A separate licence is needed for each fixed premises that you will be using for food handling, preparation or serving.

Have questions?

Call the Business Hotline on
133 BNE (133 263)

Business types

The various types of food businesses below may have different requirements, but are all covered under the same type of food business licence for fixed premises.

  • General retail – café, restaurant, baker, delicatessen, food shop, takeaway, fruit and vegetable processing
  • Food or beverage manufacturing (including breweries and distilleries) or home based food business
  • Catering – onsite/offsite, including serving vulnerable populations such as aged care, hospital or child care
  • Accommodation meals (not to vulnerable populations), including bed and breakfast

Who needs a licence

Licence neededLicence not needed

You need a licence if you are preparing or handling unpackaged food for retail sale, that could include:

  • cutting or juicing fresh fruit or vegetables
  • baked goods with fruit, dairy fillings or icings
  • yoghurt
  • takeaway foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas, hot chips or curry
  • cooked meat such as sausage sizzle or barbecue
  • cooked pasta or lasagne
  • food for taste testing
  • any other unpackaged food that is not exempt.

Exemption list - you don’t need this licence if you are only:

  • selling drinks such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, alcohol
  • selling whole fruit or vegetables
  • selling unpackaged snacks such as baked goods without cut fruit, dairy filling or icings
  • grinding coffee beans
  • selling ice/flavoured ice made onsite
  • selling pre-packaged food (prepared by licenced food business).

A food business licence is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Charities and religious organisations who need a licence and are listed in Council's register of Type 1 organisations are exempt from the application fees.

Non-profits do not need a licence unless they are selling meals 12 or more times a year. A meal is food served with cutlery and requires seating. For example, a sausage sizzle is not considered a meal that requires seating and use of cutlery.

Download Council's register of type 1 organisations (Word 38.67kb)

Application fees for fixed premises
Based on size of area for handling or storing foodFees
Minor < 250m2 (applies to most home-based business kitchens)$922.95
Medium > 250-1000m2$1,260.65
Major > 1000m2$3,939.45

Note: Gross floor area equals all areas associated with the premises used for handling or storage of food.

Your renewal fee will be based on the lowest Eat Safe star rating you receive within the renewal period. The higher your Eat Safe star rating, the higher discount you get on your renewal fees. 

Before you apply

If you have already checked that you need this type of licence, these can help you with your application:

Home-based food business

If you intend to operate your food business from your home, applications will only be considered for low-risk food preparation and handling. Check FAQs for further details. This includes baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes and other prescribed foods that are not potentially hazardous. Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the individual risks of the proposal.

Your food preparation area at home will need to meet the fit-out requirements. Your business will need:

  • to separate food business activities from household food preparation (usually means a separate kitchen)
  • commercial-grade surfaces and appliances
  • to secure the kitchen from children and pets.
This table provides information on when a licence is or isn't required for a home bases business
Licence is required if home business isLicence is not required if home business is
  • home-based preparation of food for sale at a market or fete
  • bed and breakfast accommodation
  • home-based catering
  • motel kitchens that also serve as kitchens for owners or on-site managers
  • cooking demonstrations where the demonstrator supplies the ingredients and the participants consume the prepared food.
  • cooking demonstrations where the participants supply the ingredients, help with the food preparation and then consume it
  • in-home support services for an individual.

Food safety program

You may be required to prepare a food safety program, which is a document to identify and control food safety hazards in the handling of food. It is particularly important if you are handling potentially hazardous food, transporting it to different locations, or serving vulnerable customers. It is not mandatory for all types of food businesses, but it is a good idea to have one so that you have a plan for managing food safety.

If it is mandatory for your business, you will need this as a requirement before you can apply for your food business licence.

A food safety program is mandatory if:

  • the food business involves offsite catering
  • the primary activity of the food business in onsite catering at the premises
  • the food business is part of the operations of a care facility such as private hospital, childcare, nursing home, or otherwise processes or serves potentially hazardous foods to six or more vulnerable persons

Exemption for onsite catering:

The exemption for onsite catering if it is not the primary activity of the business, and you provide onsite catering:

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

Design fit out guide

If you are doing fit-out or renovations, or need to check if your food preparation area meets requirements:

Additional approvals to consider

  • Planning approval - as a home business
    If you will be selling food directly from your home (e.g. with a type of shopfront) you may need to check for planning approval as your home would be in an area zoned for residential use.
  • Building approval
    Construction and renovations of buildings, including internal fit outs, may require approval from a building certifier. You can obtain information about building certifiers in your area from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
  • Plumbing and drainage approval
    Making changes to or installing plumbing and drainage related infrastructure generally requires Council approval. All work should be conducted by a licensed plumber. For commercial buildings often a hydraulic services design is required. This may need a private hydraulic consultant to be engaged to produce a design and submit the application to Council’s Plumbing Services Group (PSG) for assessment and approval. Fees and charges will apply. For details associated with PSG’s fees and charges please contact PSG on 07 3403 8888. Find out more.
  • Trade waste permit
    Premises which trade waste will be discharged into Urban Utilities’ sewerage system must apply for and hold a trade waste approval. If you are a new business or amending a permit you will need to submit an application to Urban Utilities. A trade waste permit is different from a plumbing and drainage approval, though they are complementary to each other.
  • Food labelling as a home business or as a manufacturer
    As you are manufacturing and packaging the food, you will need to comply with food labelling standards. Be aware that your food labels will include your address where you will be manufacturing the food, so consider if this is appropriate if you are a home business.
  • Footpath dining
    If you have an existing food business licence for fixed premises and want to offer dining on a public footpath outside your premises, you may require a footpath dining permit to use the area for customers to eat and drink.
  • Outdoor dining in a mall
    If you have an existing food business licence and want to put tables and chairs for dining in an outdoor mall space directly outside your premises, you may require an outdoor mall dining permit to use the area for customers to eat and drink.
  • Advertising signs permit
    Council has rules about the type and location of any advertising signs for businesses. Depending on the type of advertising sign, you may need to apply for a permit. Your signs will need to comply with the criteria and conditions outlined in the Advertising Devices Local Law 2021 and associated rules.
  • Liquor licence
    If you will be serving alcohol, you may need a liquor licence from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.

Frequently asked questions

How do I find out if the premises I want to use is suitable for a food business?

For the fixed premises you are planning to use for food preparation or serving, you can check the following :

  • Zoning: if your selected premises is zoned for your type of business
  • Planning approval: if you are planning to construct, use the City Plan online mapping tool to see if you need planning or development approval
  • If a home business: check if comply with the self-assessable checklist

Does my food business licence cover multiple locations where the food gets sold or served?

No, your licence only covers one fixed location/premises. If you are preparing food at any other location, you will need to apply for a separate food business licence for each location you use where food is prepared or served.

Do I need a food safety program?

Under the Food Act 2006, licensed food businesses required to have an accredited food safety program include:

  • off-site caterers – businesses that cater for functions, other than at their principle place of operation, such as charter boats
  • on-site caterers – wedding venues, function halls, hotels, clubs etc and you operate more than 11 occasions in any 12 month period and for 200 or more persons on each occasion
  • private hospitals, aged care facilities, child care facilities and other businesses that serve potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable people.

What is considered 'low-risk' versus 'potentially hazardous' food?

Potentially hazardous food is any food that needs to be kept below 5°C or above 60°C to minimise the growth of bacteria in the food, for example:

  • raw and cooked meat or foods containing meat, such as casseroles, curries and lasagne
  • dairy products, for example milk, custard, and dairy based desserts
  • seafood (excluding live seafood)
  • processed fruits and vegetables e.g. salads
  • cooked rice and pasta
  • foods containing eggs, beans, nuts, or other protein rich foods, such as quiche and soy products
  • foods that contain these foods such as sandwiches and rolls.

Low-risk food is any food that is not a potentially hazardous food.

I did some training a while ago - what skills do I need for my food business?

We recommend you look at the 'I’m Alert' free online training modules. This will give you the basic skills or refresher training you need to establish safe food handling practices.

I wanted to use my home kitchen but if it is not suitable, what other options do I have?

You can consider the following options as alternatives:

  • Lease a commercial grade kitchen to conduct your food business from.
  • Sublease a commercial or shared kitchen – you could prepare your food as catering or food manufacturing types of activity.

Note that you will need to apply for a separate food business licence for each location you use where food is prepared or served.

I am thinking about sub-leasing a commercial (shared) kitchen, what do I need to know?

You could sublease an approved existing commercial kitchen – a shared kitchen, restaurant, Queensland Meals on Wheels premises or private school tuckshop are examples.

Check that the shared kitchen meets the fit-out requirements.

After reaching an agreement with the owner or operator of the commercial kitchen, apply for your own food licence for fixed premises for that location. Your main type of food activity would be for food manufacturing or catering. You will need a letter of permission from the primary licensee and must establish rosters and separate storage areas for your goods.

In a shared kitchen, you may not be aware of the activities or processes of others who share the facilities. This means you will need to be particularly careful with your food safety and cleaning processes as you are the one who holds the food business licence.

Can I offer 'Bring Your Own (BYO) alcohol' at my premises?

The State Government’s Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) regulates the supply of alcohol under the Liquor Act 1992.  For information on liquor licensing and BYO, please refer to the Business Queensland website in the first instance.

You do not need to notify Council if you intend to operate as a BYO restaurant.

If you are a liquor licensed premises and are altering it to BYO with approval for footpath dining, you must advise Council's Compliance and Regulatory Services Office in writing.

I only deliver the food – do I need a food business licence?

No, if you are only delivering food to customers and have not prepared it and are not serving it, this does not require a food business licence.

What does 'catering' involve?

Catering refers to a business where you prepare and serve food that has the potential to be hazardous to consumers, usually of an agreed type, for a set number of persons and served at a prearranged time for a predetermined cost.

“Onsite” catering is at the premises where the food business is carried out. This does not include:

  • preparing and serving food at a restaurant, cafe or similar food business that involves the preparation and service of food for customers that order and eat it straight away
  • preparing and displaying the food for self-service, for example preparing food for consumption from a buffet at a restaurant.

“Off-site” catering is at a place other than the principal place of operation for the food business.  This does not include:

  • delivering food under an arrangement with, or on the order of, a consumer, for example, delivering pizzas from a takeaway pizza shop or delivering platters of food for a morning tea
  • the sale of food from mobile premises or temporary premises, for example the sale of ice cream from a mobile ice cream van.

What does 'food manufacturing' mean?

Food manufacturing refers to making food by combining ingredients, for example:

  • producing frozen meals in a factory and producing cake mixes
  • significantly changing the condition or nature of food by any process, e.g. milling flour and peeling, cutting and freezing vegetables
  • bottling or canning food, e.g. bottling water or canning fruit
  • packing unpackaged food, other than unprocessed primary produce
  • making ice.

The following activities are not considered food manufacturing:

  • preparing food at a location for consumption/sale at that location e.g. preparing food at a restaurant for sale to a person dining in the restaurant
  • preparing and packing sandwiches at a cafe for retail sale at the cafe
  • preparing food for a food business that involves offsite catering
  • making ice at a particular place for use at the place
  • changing the condition of food merely by changing its temperature.

What are 'site-specific conditions'?

Your food business licence may have specific conditions relating to food handling activities associated with your business. It may restrict or prevent certain processes from being conducted. These conditions must be complied with.

I have a licence, what if I have done renovations since the last inspection?

The renovations will need to be assessed as an amendment application to ensure the fit out and changes are still suitable for the food handling that is being conducted onsite. View the fee for amendment application.

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