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What you need to know before setting up a catering business in Spain

Creating a catering business could be a good option if you don’t have the capital or the know-how to open a proper restaurant.

The initial investment to create such a business is also a lot less than that needed for a restaurant or bar, but you may still need to own or rent a kitchen space.


What to consider

First of all you need to decide who your clients are – are they the general public, other businesses or do you want to cater just for events? All of these work in different ways and have different pricing structures and different rules and regulations to stick to.

For example, if you are becoming a private caterer for weddings and other events you need to take into consideration that venues will often take a cut between 10 and 20 percent.

You may also want to consider the individual market and sell directly to customers, not from an establishment, but straight to their homes providing a lunch delivery service for example or takeaways.

READ ALSO: What are the rules for setting up a food truck in Spain?

Legal requirements

As with setting up any type of business in Spain, there a lot of legal requirements you need to meet before you can start. These include. 

  • A municipal license for the specific activity you want to carry out
  • Registering for Economic Activities Tax
  • Registering with Social Security.
  • Declaring when you will start your services
  • Registering all personal files you gather from your customers with the Spanish Data Protection Agency. 

There are also specific requirements for each region in Spain depending on where you live. You will need to contact your local authorities to find out the specifics.  For example, you need to register on the list of local commercial activities too.

If you want to use transportation for deliveries, you must also have an authorisation for private transportation of goods or a transportation card.

Companies may be required to register for the general registry of commercial activities, in the sales registry or the general registry of tourism companies, if necessary too.

READ ALSO: What are the rules for setting up a pop-up stall or market stand in Spain?


Health and safety requirements

Of course it’s not just the legal side you’ll need to consider. There ae lots of health regulations for food companies too, including:

  •  A licence from the corresponding regional council to obtain a registration number
  • Inscription in the General Health Food Registry. This is applied for through the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs for a second the registration number.

Those companies that prepare, package, store, distribute, import, supply and serve meals prepared in their own or another’s premises, for other communities and establishments will also have to register in the General Sanitary Registry, in addition to registering in the General Health Food Registry.

Companies who prepare, package, serve and sell prepared meals directly to the final consumer in the same premises – whether or not there is a home delivery service – may only need a regional licence.

  • Food handler training certificate – Personnel who handle food must receive training in hygiene and food safety. The maximum period from starting the business to receiving the training is one month.

Things you may need access to or to purchase

  • Machinery for cooking and preparing food such as ovens, stove, mixer etc.
  • Refrigerator, freezer, etc.
  • Cleaning equipment including sink and dishwasher.
  • Cabinets to store household items and food.
  • Equipment to keep food warm.
  • Basic kitchenware

If you plan on catering events you may also need:

  • Tables and chairs
  • A marquee
  • Carts to transport dishes and serve food
  • Transportable refrigerators or coolers
  • Cutlery and glassware
  • Tablecloths and decorative elements

All of this will have to be sorted out before you start trading and making any money, so it’s important you start the paperwork as soon as possible. 

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