Starting a Bed and Breakfast

If you are operating as a bed and breakfast and provide any food to your residents then you are classed as a food business. This means you are required to comply with food hygiene legislation and and must register with your local authority.

You will need to complete a simple registration form which can either be completed online or you can download a copy of the form and post it back to us. Further information about the registration process and the associated forms can be found on our registration guidance page.

Anyone thinking of starting up a bed and breakfast is advised to contact the planning department at Winchester City Council before starting. 

Business Rates
You should also contact the business rates team at Winchester City Council to confirm whether or not you will need to pay business rates.

All food handlers must be suitably trained in food safety matters relevant to their work. This requirement is designed to ensure that the food you produce is safe to eat. To satisfy this requirement you may want to consider attending a recognised food hygiene course such as the level 2 award in food safety in catering. Further details about the training offered by Winchester City Council can be found on our food hygiene training page

Food safety management
All food businesses are required to have a documented food safety procedure based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles. What this means is that you must write down some simple records of how you ensure that the food you provide is safe. In most cases bed and breakfast accommodation will only need a simple system.

In order to help you comply with this regulation a pack has been produced that is specifically for use in bed and breakfasts. You are only required to document the parts of the pack that are relevant to your business but you must ensure that the pack is kept up to date. A copy of this pack can be downloaded by following the link at the bottom of this page.

General hygiene
Below are some general points that will help you comply with the law and demonstrate good practice:

  • Purchase food from reputable suppliers
  • Regularly check your fridge to make sure it is operating effectively (between 0°C and 5°C). A simple thermometer kept in the fridge will make this easier.
  • Store raw meat in covered containers at the bottom of the fridge to avoid any risk of juices dripping on to foods that are ready to eat.
  • Do not use foods after their use-by dates
  • Make sure food is cooked/reheated thoroughly until it is piping hot all the way through.
  • Wash hand basins must have a supply of hot and cold water, soap and hygienic means of drying hands
  • Hand washing should be carried out frequently when preparing food. Particularly, before beginning food preparation, after using the toilet or handling raw meat, fish or soiled vegetables.
  • Use disposable cloths for cleaning. If you do use reusable cloths, make sure that they are changed on a regular basis and are washed on a hot cycle in the washing machine.
  • Use a food safe sanitiser to clean your kitchen as this will ensure that bacteria levels are kept to a minimum.
  • Pets should be kept out of kitchen while food is being prepared.
  • Laundry should not be carried out at the same time as food preparation
  • Walls, floors and ceilings must be smooth, non-absorbent and easy to clean.
  • You must ensure that the state of repair of your property prevents access to pests

Further advice can be found by searching the links at the bottom of this page.

As a registered food business you may, at any reasonable time, be visited by an inspector from the local authority. They will look at the parts of your property that you use to store and prepare food, discuss your food handling practices and also look at the documentation that you keep. You can find more information about the inspection process by visiting our food hygiene inspection page.

Health and Safety
Health and Safety in bed and breakfasts is enforced by the health and safety executive (HSE). The Local authority is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety in hotels and guest houses (where the property is non-domestic). Further information about health and safety can be found by visiting the HSE website.

Fire Safety
Employers and persons in control of premises have a duty to ensure that a fire risk assessment is carried out. Hampshire fire and rescue have produced guidance to assist in completing a fire risk assessment. Visit our business fire safety page for more information.

Further Information
At the bottom of this page you will find some links to websites and leaflets that you may find useful.