Food Safety Tips Before Opening A Restaurant Or Café

by Andrew Thomson on July 25, 2017

If you are contemplating opening a restaurant or a café then my advice to you before you begin, is make sure that you have a clear understanding of what your business and food law requirements are.

Opening a restaurant or café can mean that there are great opportunities for success, and at the same time, high levels of competition and risk.

Issues around food safety and compliance and good business practice are often overlooked.

So, what are the key requirements for success?

Develop a plan and contact your local Council health department or food authority for information on:

  • any outstanding legal notices on the premises
  • the Food Safety Standards
  • requirements for a food safety program or a Food Safety Supervisor
  • the design, construction and fit out to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.3, Food Premises and Equipment, which will assist your food business to produce safe food
  • registration and notification requirements
  • any other license requirements such as outdoor dining or liquor licensing
  • pre-purchase health inspection

What else is required?

It is also important to remember to check the cleanliness, safety and working order of equipment such as the exhaust canopy, ovens, coolrooms, freezers and dishwashers.


Remember to lookout for pest entry points and signs of pest activity (a pest contractor may be required). These measures will contribute to a safe working environment for everyone and save you money!

In any foodservice operation, a proper cleaning program is something that every business should implement from the very start.

Visit the Think ST Solutions Products  for cleaning guides and our A Cleaning Resource Kit for Food Businesses Many restaurants and cafés miss the mark with cleaning and are penalised because of this, make sure business is not one of them.

Think about the food on your Menu and who will supply your food products and how they will be delivered, handled and stored within your operation. Purchasing a thermometer is also required for measuring the core temperature of potentially hazardous foods from delivery through to cooking and cooling. Keeping records of food temperatures is critical.

For food safety to be guaranteed, training is essential at all levels within a food business. Managers need to have a high degree of understanding of food law, hygiene and food safety to ensure effective control.


Food handling employees need to demonstrate skills and knowledge in food hygiene and safety for the tasks performed and they must be aware of their health and hygiene responsibilities. Our A Guide To Food Safety In Your Restaurant or Cafe is affordable and essential information you need have. Training provided by a food business needs to be linked to the identified goals and direction of the business and its overall business plan.

You should be wary of off-the-shelf solutions that cannot be tailored to your business, whether these are offered by providers of e-Learning, a Registered Training Organisation, a consultant, the health department or by the internal training department.

It’s important for you to share your overall business strategy with your employees because it provides a clear message to your employees of your intended goals and direction for your food operation.

Check out the great article on business planning by Alsco to help grow your business.

Prior to opening day

  • Walk through your restaurant or café and conduct a check using The Think ST Solutions Food Safety Self-Management Checklist which has been designed specifically for restaurants, cafés or a foodservice operation in mind. Visit our Products page.
  • Seek approval from your local environmental health officer prior to opening for business.

Future articles will discuss these food safety issues in more detail.

Think ST Solutions thanks Amanda Kelly Photography for the images provided. All rights reserved.

Related articles:

A Few Simple Checks For Monitoring Food Safety

Standard Operating Procedures – The Business Benefits

Food Safety Training Must Be Top Priority For Restaurateurs

 Think ST Solutions offers you practical solutions at a management level and to your staff whether you operate in hospitals, aged care facilities, restaurants, hotels or the food industry generally. We specialise in developing useful tools to assist you in the areas of food safety, strategic planning, business management, risk and compliance training and easy to implement business consultancy solutions.

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