Taking over an existing food business

If you are taking over an existing food business that has a food business licence, e.g. a café, mobile food vehicle, takeaway, catering business or food manufacturing business, you will need a food business licence.  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, you can apply for a Pre-sale Inspection Report from Council for a fee.


If you are making changes to the premises, particularly to the food preparation or storage areas, or replacing large appliances, then the layout must meet the requirements of the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment.

Council has introduced a free advisory service for new and existing businesses. The advisory service allows you to speak with one of Council’s Environment Health Officers to provide advice on meeting the requirements of the food safety standards and ensure any future application is properly made. To book a meeting with a Council Environmental Health Officer, please contact Council’s Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263).

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 a food business licence application that does not include renovations, the following fees may apply in the 2022-23 financial year.

Table containing size of premises and food licence fee.
Size of premises Food licence
Less than 250 square metres $859.50
250 square metres to 1000 square metres $1174
More than 1000 square metres $3668.70

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

For small businesses that fit into the category of café, restaurant, takeaway food, mobile food, delicatessen, bakery, food shop and fruit and vegetable processes with up to 19 employees with a proposed kitchen area of less than 250m2, suitably made food business licence applications will be decided within 5 business days. For all other food business licence applications, properly made applications will be decided within 10 business days.

You can lodge the food business licence application using the Application for food business approvals online form.

Before you can start operating, Council's Environmental Health officer will conduct a final site inspection. You can use the Taking Over an Existing Premises Checklist to help you prepare for your 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 completing the Application for food business approvals online form.

Alternatively, nominate a food safety supervisor by phoning Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) within 30 days of the licence issue date.

Find out more about food safety supervisors

Alternatively, you can apply by completing the hard copy forms.

Food safety program accreditation

If your business requires a Food Safety Program it should be submitted for Council accreditation at the same time as the food business licence application.

Use the Application for food business approvals online form to apply for the food safety program accreditation at the same time you lodge your food business licence.

Find out more about Food Safety Programs.

Application assessment

Prior to the food business licence being issued, Council will conduct a full Eat Safe audit of the premises. Find out more 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: 25 July 2022

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