Taking over an existing food business

If you are buying a food business that is already operating, you will need to apply for a food business licence from Brisbane City Council. It is not possible to transfer an existing food business licence to a new owner or operator. The new owner or operator must apply and receive approval for a food business licence before they start trading.

Researching the food business

When buying a food business that is already operating, it is recommended you obtain information from Council before the sale is finalised or contracts are signed.

Firstly, you can search online using the Eat Safe Brisbane listing to check that the food business has a current licence. If you want written advice about the business, for a fee you may apply for a Pre-sale Inspection Report from Council.


If you are making changes to the premises, particularly the food preparation, storage and major appliances, you will need to lodge a design application and follow the same process as starting a new food business. Refer to the application process for the relevant new food business:

No renovations

Even if there are no structural changes to the premises, all new owner/operators must submit a Food Business Licence application to obtain their own food business licence.

As a general guide, for this food business licence application that does not include renovations, fees that may apply for the 2018-19 financial year include:

Table showing size of premises and food licence fees
Size of premisesFood licence
Less than 250 square metres$770.30
250 square metres to 1000 square metres$1052.15
Over 1000 square metres$3287.80

These fees do not attract GST.

Application process

The application process includes a number of steps. You can complete them all online using the Application for Food Business Approvals online form.

Application for Food Business Licence

  • applications for a food business licence must be submitted no more than 30 days before the desired start date of operation
  • you can lodge the food business licence application using the Application for Food Business Approvals online form and pay with a Visa or Mastercard
  • before you can start operating, an Environmental Health Officer will conduct a final site inspection. This inspection will also provide you with your first Eat Safe Brisbane food safety star rating.

Food Safety Supervisor Notification

  • all licensable food businesses in Queensland must have a Food Safety Supervisor. You can nominate this person when you make your licence application using the Application for Food Business Approvals online form
  • otherwise you can nominate a Food Safety Supervisor by phone to the Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) within 30 days of the permit being issued
  • find out more about Food Safety Supervisors

Alternatively you can apply by completing the hard copy forms.

Food Safety Program Accreditation

Application Assessment

Prior to the food business licence being issued, Council will conduct a full Eat Safe audit of the premises. Find out more information about Eat Safe Brisbane.

More information

For further information phone Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Last updated:13 May 2019