Starting a food selling business

Ontario's food sellers give consumers the opportunity to enjoy their food purchases in a variety of locations. Food selling is commonly organized into two groups - food retail and foodservice. While food stores tend to sell pre-packaged food and foodservice outlets tend to be locations where food is served as a meal, these separations are blurring.

Restaurants now sell consumers their favourite sauces and dressings from beside the cash register and retail stores sell prepared meals from a "hot & fresh" counter.

Different rules apply to these different retail activities. So when you start a food selling business, it's important to see which rules apply to you.

For food retailers: Ontario is home to over 12,000 food retailers. This includes:

  • convenience stores
  • farm markets
  • roadside stands
  • grocery stores
  • warehouse clubs
  • drugstores selling food items
  • websites.

For food service companies and Broader Public Service establishments: Ontario is home to over 30,000 foodservice outlets. This includes:

  • bakeries
  • caterers (including those who run outlets such as employee cafeterias)
  • cafés
  • foodservice
  • vending trucks and chip trucks
  • home delivery services
  • Broader Public Service (hospitals, schools, prisons).

Both types of outlets are governed by food safety rules contained in Ontario's Food Premises Regulation 493/17 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

These guides will help you deal with Ontario regulations, financing, taxation, managing your business, advertising and much more:

For more information:
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