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Outside caterer: Licences


As you will be preparing food you will need to register with your local authority environmental health department. Contact your local authority for details. They will inspect your premises - or a commercial grade kitchen in your home if you intend to base your business there - and help you to comply with the requirements of food hygiene regulations made under the Food Safety Act. There is no charge for registering. Contact your local authority to find out more.

If you are providing alcohol for a client, you should check that the event or venue is appropriately licensed if necessary, with a named supervisor who holds a personal licence to sell or supply alcohol. You may well decide that it's advantageous to obtain a personal licence yourself. If the venue doesn't have an alcohol premises licence then you're likely to need a 'temporary event notice'.

You should also be aware that if you are organising a whole event for a client rather than just providing catering, you may need a music licence for the venue from PPL PRS Ltd. Most private domestic events such as weddings are exempt but you should check if you're in any doubt.

Waste carrier registration

If you carry away waste that you have generated in the course of a catering job - such as food and preparation waste, used disposable cutlery, crockery and tableware, empty bottles and containers, and so on - then you will need to register as a lower tier waste carrier (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or a professional collector or transporter of waste (Scotland) Registration is free of charge and lasts indefinitely.

Waste carrier registration is carried out by:

  • the Environment Agency in England
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • the Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • the Northern Ireland Environment Agency