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When opening a new bakery in New Zealand, it is easy to get excited about all the delicious food and baked goods your business will be offering. You may even already be planning what your menu will look like. However, while food and commercial aspects are essential for your bakery, there are various legal and regulatory considerations before opening your new bakery. This article sets out three considerations when opening a bakery, including:

  • food licences and registrations you will need; 
  • your bakery’s food control plan, and 
  • your bakery’s workforce and employment needs.

Food Licences and Registrations

New Zealand takes a rigorous approach to food licencing and registrations for businesses that sell food, like bakeries. Requirements in New Zealand differ depending on the specific nature of your food-based business. Bakeries and other food businesses that make food (rather than just transport or store it) are under higher regulatory and procedural requirements. Therefore, it is critical to ensure your bakery obtains all of the licences that it will need before operating. 

Operating without a licence is a serious offence in New Zealand. Likewise, you do not want to risk the significant penalties associated with doing so. 

You can register your new bakery directly with the Ministry of Primary Industries. They will help you obtain the certifications and documentation you will need, such as a food control plan. 

You may also need other licences for your bakery to operate legally. These may well depend on the specific circumstances of your bakery and premises. For instance, not all bakeries offer alcohol. However, if your bakery wants to offer alcohol to customers, you will need an alcohol licence. You will also need an outdoor dining licence if you have outside seating or the like for customers. Again, you can discuss what certificates your bakery will need with the Ministry of Primary Industries. If you have further questions, it is best practice to engage a lawyer. 

Your Food Control Plan 

As your bakery will make its business from making and producing food, you will need a food control plan to obtain the food certifications before you operate. These can be intimidating to create. However, you can access help online, including a template food control plan from the Ministry of Primary Industries website. No matter how you create your plan, there are some basics that it will need to include. Your plan should cover:

  • what kind of food your bakery will be making;
  • where food production will be occurring;
  • how the bakery will be sourcing the food;
  • what health and other risks are involved;
  • how the bakery will manage those risks;
  • who is responsible for each part of this process; and
  • what the bakery will do if something goes wrong.

Planning Your Workforce

Finally, you should think about the workforce your bakery will need, and what kinds of employment agreements will best fit your needs. For example, will you need a core base of permanent full-time employees to supplement with casual employees as the need arises? Or potentially, you have a smaller bakery in mind and may just need help to meet spikes of demand through the day. 

No matter what your workforce needs are, think through the employment agreements your business will need before getting staff on board. Getting advice from a legal expert or a template for employment agreements can be a helpful step for new bakeries.

Key Takeaways

There are some significant considerations when opening a bakery in New Zealand. These are particularly important regarding the legally mandated certifications and plans you need to operate a food business in New Zealand. For example, you need a robust food control plan, so think through your business’ food control practices and processes ahead of time. Likewise, seek external legal advice to ensure that your food control plan meets minimum legal requirements. Further, you should think about workforce planning and how you will ensure you have the right employment agreements to meet your bakery’s particular demands. 

For more information about opening a bakery in New Zealand, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do bakeries need registrations or certificates to operate?

Yes, there are strict requirements on bakeries as they are producing food. You can see more information about this on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

What is a food control plan, and do bakeries need one?

A food control plan will outline your bakery’s processes for making food. It should also detail how a bakery will protect against health and other risks and the plan if things go wrong. Bakeries need a food control plan to be certified to operate in New Zealand.

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