In this article, I want to explain simply how you can start a food stand business in Japan. But, I want to skip the details of how you can get and renew your visa before you start a business. If you need information about this, please refer to this article. Especially, I want to talk about the following 3 basic preparations which are really important to win permission to sell foods in a street in Japan

  • How to get business permit for a street stall
  • How to get the certificate of food hygiene supervisor
  • Required street stall layout and its equipment to get business permit

Two types of business permit

  • Temporary stall operation permit
  • Stall business permit

Both of them are the business permit for a street stall but the permit you will get is going to be different depending on how frequently you do the business in a street.

Temporary operation permit

“Temporary business permit” is usually acquired by people who want to do a street stall once or twice a year.
For example,

  • When you want to open your stall in a regional festval held every year
  • When you want to open your stall in a Matsuri held in a shrine every year
  • When you want to open your stall in a school festival held every year

Ostensibly, this business permit is issued to people without the intention to pursue a big profit, which you can get all over Japan.

Stall business permit

On the other hand, “stall business permit” is for those who want to open a stall as many times as possible to pursue a continuous profit. However, unfortunately, there are some municipalities that don’t issue this business permit.

For example, Kyoto-fu issues business permit for a street stall but Kyoto-shi which is an administrative district of Kyoto-fu doesn’t issue this business permit. Therefore, in Kyoto-shi, there is no stall business. Only the business permit you can get in Kyoto-shi is “temporary stall operation permit”. Festivals or matsuris which you can join for stall business are limited and competition among street stalls during the festival held in Kyoto-shi get more and more intensified.

Like the above, there are some regions that strictly prohibit stall business aiming at pursuing continuous profit. So you should first make sure if a health center that takes charge of the area where you want to open your stall business issues a stall business permit just before you make a business plan.

Food menus which you can’t deal with

In Japan, food provision regulation is particularly severe and there are some foods which you can’t deal with in a street stall. What health authorities pay watchful attention to is hygiene environment of a food stand. A food stand is easy to become unsanitary compared to an ordinary restaurant. For that reason, unheated foods provision is strictly prohibited. The following lists are about things prohibited to do in a stall in Osaka.

  • Unheated foods before providing it to customer. (Cold noodles, Sandwiches, Sashimi)

  • Milk and rice (Rice ball (onigiri), Curry rice, a rice bowl topped with something)
  • Fruits and cream (fresh cream, custard cream)
  • Ice block ( to put into soft drinks)
  • Squeeze fruits (for fresh fruit juice, mixed fresh juice)
  • Processing food after heating it ( slicing a block of beef after you grill it )
  • Doing the first food processing stage in a stall (cut food materials)

Basically, food menus which you can deal with in a stall are the ones heated right before providing it to a customer. However, depending on the prefecture and the municipality, there are additional prohibited matters from the viewpoint of hygiene environment. You also have a case that a health center restricts you from providing multiple food menus at the same time. For example, even if you want to provide pancakes and burger at the same time, a health center doesn’t issue a business permit unless you decide either one of them to sell.

First thing first, you should gather information from a health center and other food authorities about what you really can do in strict regulation of stall business in Japan. Making a business plan and thinking what food you want to sell is things you should do after you understand you what you can do in this kind of business.

“Business permit certificate” which you need for your stall business

“Business permit certificate” is the one given to a cooking facility that satisfies “health center standard”. Prior to starting stall business, you need to acquire both “business permit certificate” and “ food hygiene supervisor“.

Business permit certificate” is permission to cooking facility of your stall that manufactures food products.

Business permit certificate is classified into two types depending on food items you use, which are

  • Confectionery manufacture business permit
  • Restaurant business permit

Please note that a valid period of a business permit is 5 years. After expiration, you need to renew it if you want to continue this business.

Confectionery manufacture business permit

If you want to sell crepes, pancakes, waffles, cookies, donuts, you will have to get this business permit. It costs you 8000 yen to get this business permit.

Restaurant business permit

If you want to provide an ordinary meal menu and a light meal menu, you get this business permit. It costs you 8000 yen to get this business permit.

The certificate of food hygiene supervisor

This is a qualification given to a person in charge of food manufacturing and restaurant operation. At least, one person with this qualification needs to stay in the cooking facility during the stall is open. A person who needs to get this qualification should not necessarily be the business owner but someone who can keep staying in the kitchen during the stall is open.

Anybody can get this qualification after you attend a seminar held by the Food Hygiene Association

Required equipments to get business permit

Getting business permit,

  • Your stall is needed to completely cover three sides except for the front.
  • Organize simple water supply system with a plastic tank
  • Secure a place for a storage of kitchenwares and garbage boxes
  • Place a fridge and a freezer

Business permit conditions somewhat differ depending on the municipality but generally you are required to satisfy these 4 conditions wherever you go to open a street stall in Japan.

Things you do until you get permission

Get an advice from a healty center

First, you get advice from a heathy center about what equipment you need, food menus you want to sell, the area where you want to open in advance. If you surely get accurate information to get permission, you proceed with hammering out the details and creating recipes of food menus

Prepare necessary equipments and things

Prepare necessary equipment and things for inspection and screening by a health center on the application date.

Go through the procedure at a health center

If you deiced the date you want to apply, make a call to a health center and book the date. On the application date, you load everything you need for your stall on a car or a truck and go to a health center. At a health center, you set up your stall which you practically operate in a street. Health center staff will inspect your stall.

Things you bring on the application date

  • Tent
  • Other ncessary equipments which you are required to install in your stall
  • The certificate of food hygiene supervisor (if you have)
  • Application fee
  • Inkan (Stamp seal)

When you apply for a stall business permit, you need to submit several application documents. You can receive the application form from a health center beforehand and complete it but I don’t recommend it because you might not understand how you can complete it without support if you do it for the first time.

You just go to a health center on the application day without preparing application forms and fill out the form under the support of the staff of a health center. This way is quite effective and you make fewer mistakes. But you have to understand Japanese at least at the level of N2 or N3.

Recieve business permit

After stall inspecting and submitting necessary documents, stall business permit is issued after 3 weeks at the lastest. A health center tells you to visit to receive a business permit. You need to bring “Inkan” then.

How you can get a business permit really depends on the municipality and the prefecture.

Decide your business name

Your business name is your shop name which you draw on a signboard of your stall. You should decide it till the application day. If you don’t decide it, your business name is registered as your real name. Of course, you can change it after registering the name but it is really troublesome that you need to submit a notification of change if you want to change the name. By the way, you can decide just one business name you can’t register multiple business names.

Conclusion

These are a simple overview of how you can get permission to open your stall in a street in Japan. I repeat again that a business permit issued by a health center is really different depending on the municipality and the prefecture. You should gather accurate information and get advice from a health center that takes charge of the area where you want to open a stall before making a business plan.

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