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6 ‘Must-Have’ Documents to Make Starting a Hospitality Business a Pizza Cake

Published September 20, 2023 (last updated on June 7, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


Launching a small business needs countless hours of planning and preparation, and hospitality is no exception. Before you open the doors and serve your first hungry customer, you’ll need to apply for licences and get to grips with industry laws and regulations.      

If your to-do list makes you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, it’s wise to start by ticking off the most important documents. Here are the 6 ‘must-have’ documents you’ll need to consider if you want starting your hospitality business to be a pizza cake!      

1. Food Licensing Plan 

Before you can register your hospitality business, you’ll need to create a food licensing plan.  

Your plan’s specific rules will depend on how much risk is associated with your business. The higher the chances of something going wrong, the stricter the rules you have to follow.     

Depending on your business’s risk levels, there are two types of rule schemes: 

  • Food control plans: High-risk businesses, like restaurants, food trucks and cafes, need to have a written food control plan.  

  • National programmes: Low-risk businesses, such as small food delivery companies, will follow the broader rules of the national programme.  

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has a questionnaire that will help you determine which scheme your business falls under. 

A food control plan will normally contain the following components: 

  • Hazard analysis: Pinpoint all the hazards throughout your food production process, from receiving raw ingredients to serving food to customers 

  • Preventive controls: Describe the steps your business will take to prevent the identified hazards from occurring 

  • Monitoring procedures: Outline how you will monitor your preventive controls to ensure they are effective 

  • Corrective actions: Describe the corrective steps you will take if a preventive control fails 

  • Verification procedures: Define the measures you will use to verify the effectiveness of your plan 

The MPI website has several food control plan templates that can be customised, meaning that creating one for your business is easy as pie!

2. Food Premises Registration 

Now you’ve got your food control plan, it’s time to apply for a food premises registration. Having one is a legal requirement for all Kiwi businesses that sell or prepare food. 

To register your business, you’ll need to contact your local council. The application will involve sharing your food control plan and providing some basic information about your business, including the type of food it will sell, the hours of operation, and the number of employees. 

A council officer will inspect your premises to ensure it aligns with your food control plan and meets New Zealand’s food safety standards before issuing a certificate.  

Your registration certificate must be displayed in a prominent location. It’s also important to keep your certificate up to date. If you make any changes to your business, such as changing the type of food that you sell or the hours you operate, you should notify your local council. 

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3. Alcohol Licence 

Thinking of serving alcohol as well as food? That’s the spirit! If you plan to sell alcohol, you’ll need to get a licence first. To get an alcohol licence in New Zealand, you should apply to your local District Licensing Committee (DLC).  

There are four types of alcohol licences: on-licence (for selling alcohol to be consumed on the premises), off-licence (for selling alcohol to be consumed off the premises), club licence (for selling alcohol to club members), and special licence (for one-off events). 

If you want to find out about the licence criteria and how to apply, visit alcohol.org.nz.  

Remember – if you sell alcohol without a licence, your whiskey and your business will be on the rocks.  

4. Health & Safety Policy 

Hospitality businesses are rife with risks and hazards. If you don’t boil your eggs to the right temperature, you could end up in hot water.   

A health and safety policy outlines your business’s commitment to providing adequate health and safety for customers and staff.   

Your policy should include:  

  • A statement of the business’s health and safety responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015  

  • A description of the roles and responsibilities of management and employees in relation to health and safety  

  • A list of the hazards that are present in the workplace and the measures that the business has taken to control them  

  • A description of the procedures that are in place to respond to accidents and emergencies  

  • Commitment to providing health and safety training for all employees   


5. Outdoor Dining Licence

Alfresco dining can help make your business a hit. However, there’s a good chance you’ll need to get an outdoor dining licence from your local council. The licence is required for any outdoor dining area on public land, including footpaths, streets, squares, parks, or recreational areas. 

The application process for an outdoor dining licence will vary depending on your local council, but you will typically need to provide the following information: 

  • Your business name and address 

  • The location of your proposed outdoor dining area 

  • A sketch of your proposed outdoor dining area, including any dimensions 

  • A copy of your food premises registration

  • Proof of public liability insurance 

You may also need to pay a fee for your outdoor dining licence. The fee will vary depending on the size and location of your outdoor dining area. 

6. Employment Contracts 

Unless you run a micro-business, you’ll probably need at least a few employees. Alas, that food won’t cook and serve itself! If you want the employment relationship to go smoothly, you’ll need employment contracts in place.   

A well-drafted employment contract clearly outlines the terms and conditions of employment, such as the employee’s responsibilities, remuneration, and leave entitlements. It also documents your obligations to the employee. All this can help to avoid disputes further down the track.  

There are multiple laws and regulations that govern employment in New Zealand, and having the right employment contract can help ensure you’re meeting your legal obligations. It’s the icing on your pizza cake!  

How can Peninsula help?  

Peninsula are Australia and New Zealand’s largest provider of Employment Relations and Workplace Health & Safety support, helping over 33,000 small businesses just like yours.  

If you’re struggling with your health & safety policy or employment contracts, call our FREE Advice Line on 1300 249 306. Our experts can answer all your difficult questions.  

*This article is intended to provide general advice only. The information it contains is correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change. If you are unsure about the legal requirements of starting a new business, we recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified professional.

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