Catering

Catering involves preparing and serving food to a predetermined number of customers either on-site or at an off-site venue.

To operate a catering business, you need a Food Business Licence ( PDF, 1.28 MB ) from Council. You may also need an accredited Food Safety Program.

For further advice on operating a catering business, contact Council on 1300 69 22 47.

Off-site catering

Off-site catering refers to serving potentially hazardous food at a place other than the principal place of operation of the licenced food business.  Examples include:

  • A spit-roast catering company partially prepares food at one place (their principal place of business). It then finishes preparations and serves food at another place, such as a local park, on a beach or in a hired hall.
  • A charter boat company prepares food such as chicken, cold meat and salads in a licensed fixed premises (their principal place of business). It then transports and serves the food as a buffet for lunch, either on the boat or on land at a designated or random stop.

If your business involves off-site catering, you must prepare all food at an approved premises and/or at the event. If you are transporting food, you must advise Council of all the food transport vehicles involved in the catering operation.

On-site catering

On-site catering means preparing and serving potentially hazardous food to consumers at the premises where the licenced food business is carried out.  Usually, the food is:

  • of a predetermined type (this may be product specific or include a particular type of food)
  • for a set number of persons (this includes a group of people attending a particular event)
  • served at a predetermined time (specific day/s and time/s)
  • for a set cost agreed prior to food preparation and service.

Licence requirements: catering

FOOD SAFETY PROGRAM AND FOOD BUSINESS LICENCE IS REQUIRED

FOOD BUSINESS LICENCE ONLY

  • off-site catering, ie serving potentially hazardous food at a place other than the principal place of business.
  • delivering food under an arrangement with or on the order of a consumer, such as delivering pizzas from a takeaway pizza shop
  • on-site catering, ie preparing and serving potentially hazardous food to consumers at the premises (or part of the premises) from which the food business is carried out
  • selling food from mobile premises or temporary premises, such as the sale of ice-creams from a mobile ice-cream van.
 
  • preparing and serving food at a restaurant, cafĂ© or similar food business that involves the preparation and service of food on the order of a person for immediate consumption by the person
 
  • preparing and displaying food for self-service by consumers, such as a buffet at a restaurant.

Food Safety Program accreditation

All off-site and on-site caterers must have a Food Safety Program accredited by Cairns Regional Council as part of their Food Business Licence application.  This applies even when only part of the premises is used primarily for on-site catering.

You should submit your FSP to Council, together with an approved auditor’s Notice of Written Advice, at the same time as applying for your Food Business Licence.

You can use the Food Business Licence application ( PDF, 1.28 MB ) form to apply for your FSP accreditation.  Cairns Regional Council is responsible for accrediting FSPs for food businesses located within the Cairns local government area.

Find out more about Food Safety Programs.

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Last updated: 14 December 2018