Food Law

Food Court: 5 Must-Possess Legal Documents When Establishing a Food Court

There are standard requirements every food court owner must possess before opening its doors to its customers. There is additional documentation that differs from one state to the other.

We are particular on specific documents you need to have- as a food handler or as a business- to be accepted in the food industry business. Failure to have any of them is a breach of the law which has its legal implication. What are these documents?

  • Registration certificate
  • Tax compliance certificate
  • Food handling certificate
  • Signage permits
  • Environmental license

You may ask, why so many licenses for the food business entity? This is a delicate investment that one can’t afford to gamble with people’s lives.

It is not just a matter of getting the certificate; you have to prove that you are worthy to have it through quality service delivery. Let’s get the details.

1.Registration certificate

This is a free-license given not only to food handlers but also to all businesses. It’s a way in which the government has details of all the businesses within their jurisdiction. Just in case there is a problem, they know where to go and start.

 Most of these licenses come in handy to cushion the relevant authorities in tracing in case there is a problem.

2.Food handling certificate

Just as the name suggests, this is a license specifically for food court investments. It is a payable service; the application process is simple and difficult depending on several factors.

After the application, the public health officials visit your business premises, inspect the environment to give it a clean bill of health. They also verify the health status of the workers you need to have their health status approval before the inspection. 

The certificate is never issued instantly; you wait for about a month or so and get it. However, this varies from one state to the other. Get the application form to ascertain all the requirements. There is no short cut to this, follow them to the latter.

3.Environmental certificate

Climate change is a topic with diverse opinions and interests. Most states incorporated it after the UN-Habitat conference on climate change made it a business requirement. Just like the public health officials’, the environmental assessment team visits the premises to check on waste disposal; your adherence to environmental health regulations as well as an environmental needs assessment.

Once you fulfill it to their satisfaction you get the license. When they feel you are not up to standard, they give you recommendations on what you need to include or work on before they come for final assessment.

4.Signage license

How will people know that there is a restaurant around? Do you know you don’t just erect signage without the state officials giving you a go-ahead? It’s not as simple as it looks. You have to go through the process and allow them to approve where to put the signpost. There are many factors they consider before putting the signboard. Some of them include

  • Visibility
  • Location
  • The size of the post
  • Duration

The state planning department is responsible for the overseeing process. They will guide you accordingly based on the laid down procedures.

5.Tax compliance certificate

You are in business and you have no option but to pay tax to the government based on the standard figures. Many businesses have had to face the rule due to ignorance of the law. It’s high time you get a tax compliance lawyer to educate you on what you need to avoid the long hands of the law.

You don’t start the business then choose to pay tax or not. It’s a mandatory requirement; otherwise you may end up with expensive legal battles that not only waste your time but also lead to complete business closure. The rates and the application process differ from one state or country to the other.

As part of your business planning, you need to ensure you have some money set aside for the legal documentation. Some are expensive but worth the investment. They come in handy to cushion you during times of trouble.

Imagine when a customer sues you for poor food handling yet you are not registered. It is a way they now get an opportunity to rip your hard-earned money.

Apart from the legal certificates, there are also additional factors you have to consider when setting up a food court business.

  • Location-it should be strategic to attract customers
  • The availability of ingredients
  • The local and international market
  • Competitors 
  • Availability of affordable staff for both skilled and unskilled labor

When all factors put into consideration, opening a restaurant is simple with the right business support systems. Never get discouraged by the legal documents, just follow the due process and operate a business with minimal interruptions.