Register a food business

If you're starting or buying a food business in the City of Stonnington, your business must be registered with Council.  

Follow the steps below to register your food business and/or have your fit-out plans assessed.

How to apply

Confirm your business address

You must confirm the address of your premises before you apply because we can't process your application or provide accurate advice without it.

Request a report on the property you are buying (optional)

If you're buying an existing food business, we can provide a property report that contains important details including:

  • the current registered owner
  • information about the current registration, including the annual cost and expiry date
  • any non-compliant cleanliness or maintenance items we identified.  

Apply for other permits, if required

You can save time by applying for a Building Permit and Planning Permit before registering your food business. We recommend applying for both at the same time.

Use our Permit Finder if you’re not sure what permits you need.

For building or alteration work on most commercial and industrial developments, you will need a Building Permit.

Regardless of the overall cost of the work, this can include:

  • new buildings
  • shop fit-outs
  • alterations and additions to current buildings
  • pergolas (roofed), verandahs and shade sails
  • decks and balconies
  • changes to the use of a building
  • minor structures, including garages and sheds
  • demolition of existing buildings
  • swimming pools, spas or safety barriers.

You may need to apply for a Planning Permit if you plan to:

  • carry out building works
  • display advertising signage
  • increase operating hours
  • reduce the number of parking spaces
  • change the use of the building.

Prepare your documents

If you're applying for a Fit-out Assessment, you must upload a copy of your plans for the proposed premises showing the use for each room. Plans must be:

  • drawn to scale
  • at a scale of at least 1:100
  • accompanied by specifications for materials and finishes for all surfaces including floors, walls and bench tops.

The plans must also clearly show:

  • the layout of all fixtures, fittings and equipment (e.g. food preparation area, dishwasher, mechanical exhaust unit, cool room)
  • all sinks and their intended use (e.g. hand wash basin, cleaners sink)
  • all storage areas (e.g. food, chemical, equipment)
  • bin wash area and bin storage
  • location of toilet (staff and customer).

Read our construction guidelines for more information.

Submit your application

For a Fit-out Assessment, have payment for the $150 fee ready.

Apply now

If you prefer a paper or PDF form, please contact us.

Receive approval for your fit-out

If you applied to have your fit-out plans assessed, an Environmental Health Officer will review your plans and let you know if there are any non-compliant items.

When there are no issues, we'll send you a stamped and approved copy of your plans.

Have your property inspected

An Environmental Health Officer will contact you to organise a time to inspect the property listed on your application.

We'll then send you a report letting you know if your business is compliant or if there are any issues you need to address before a follow-up inspection.

Pay the registration fee

Once your inspection is successful, you will receive an invoice via email. You can pay this online.

Receive your Food Business Registration

We will send your Certificate of Registration via email.

You’re now ready to trade in the City of Stonnington!

Frequently asked questions

How much does a Food Business Registration cost?

The cost of a Food Business Registration varies. For small food businesses it can cost between $640 and $730. For large businesses like supermarkets or a hotel chain, registration can cost up to $3,745. Registration for a community club or fete is $98.

Does the permit transfer to me if I'm buying an existing food business?

No. Food business permits are not transferable. You will need to apply for a new permit. 

What are the four classes of food businesses?

Food businesses have one of four food classifications to indicate the health risk involved with food handling.

Businesses that are classed at a higher risk have more actions they need to take or documentation they need to provide or maintain.

For full details, please visit the Department of Health website.

Class 1: very high risk

These businesses handle potentially hazardous food served to vulnerable groups. They include hospitals, childcare centres, aged care facilities and hostels.

Class 2: high risk

Businesses whose main activity is handling potentially hazardous unpackaged foods are classed as high-risk. These include restaurants, fast food outlets, pubs, caterers, delicatessens, supermarkets with delicatessens, cafes and most manufacturers.

Class 3: medium-high risk

Medium-high-risk businesses sell low-risk foods or potentially hazardous pre-packaged foods. Class 3 businesses include milk bars, convenience stores, fruit stalls selling cut fruit, and wholesalers distributing pre-packaged foods.

Class 4: low risk

Class 4 food handling activities pose a low risk to public health. They include bottle shops, wine tastings and shelf-stable, pre-packaged low-risk food sold at places like newsagents or pharmacies.

What is a food safety supervisor?

Class 1 and 2 food businesses must nominate a food safety supervisor for the business. The person in this role is certified and is responsible for recognising, preventing and alleviating hazards associated with food handling.

For more information about the role and the necessary training, visit the Department of Health website.

What is required of class 3 and 4 businesses?

While class 3 and 4 food businesses do not need a food safety plan or food safety supervisor, some class 3 businesses may need to maintain certain records. If your business falls into this group, we will notify you after assessing your application.

What class do community groups belong to?

For the purposes of registration, a community group is classified as either:

  • a not-for-profit body
  • an individual or unincorporated group undertaking a food handling activity solely for the purposes of raising funds for charitable purposes, or for a not-for-profit body.

Examples of a community group might include canteens on sporting grounds, fundraising cake stalls, sausage sizzles and school fairs where food and drinks are sold.

If you are a member of a community group and need help to classify your food handling activities, please contact our Business Concierge at