Starting your own restaurant or cafe? There are heaps of legal considerations that come into play – from specific licences, permits, food regulations and commercial leases. Our legal team specialises in helping business in the food industry – get in touch to learn more.

To set up a restaurant or café business in Australia, you will need to prepare and register a variety of legal documents. Key requirements include:

  • Registering your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
  • Obtaining a Food business registration and implementing a food safety program.
  • Obtaining a liquor license if serving alcohol.
  • Getting Workers' compensation insurance and business insurance (e.g. public liability, property damage).
  • Securing Council approval (e.g. building, planning, environmental health) and a lease agreement (if renting premises).
  • Obtaining a trade waste agreement with the local council.
  • Having Health and safety policies and procedures in place.

It is also a good idea to get a trade mark registered for your restaurant or café business to protect your brand and business name. Additionally, it is important to consider privacy obligations, such as complying with the Privacy Act 1988 and having a privacy policy in place to protect the personal information of your customers and employees.

If you're starting a restaurant or cafe, you'll need to enter into a Retail Lease Agreement. This agreement should set out key matters like the duration of your lease, the kind of business activities you're allowed to conduct on the premises, sub-letting rights and how you can extend or terminate the lease.

It's important that you get a legal professional to review your Retail Lease for you before you finalise anything as certain terms can restrict your business plans. For example, you want to ensure that your lease allows you to conduct business on the premises as a cafe (under the 'permitted use' clause).

This way, you can be supported in your negotiation of those terms.

Here are some key things you should look out for in a cafe or restaurant lease.

At a federal level, food businesses need to comply with the Food Regulations Act 2015, as well as the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code.

In addition to this, your cafe or restaurant will need to have a food safety supervisor and anyone working in the business will need to have undergone training in food safety.

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