Gain an understanding of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the accommodation and food services industry.

The accommodation and food services industry includes:

  • hotels, motels, serviced apartments, and other short-term accommodation for visitors
  • cafes, restaurants, takeaways, pubs, bars and other businesses that sell meals, snacks and beverages
You should check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business. For further advice and assistance, contact your accountant, solicitor or business adviser. You may also wish to consult with an industry association or group for more information and advice on your industry.

Legislation, standards and initiatives


It’s important that you are aware of the laws that apply to the accommodation and food services industry. Key legislation includes:

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's (ACCC) guides

Licences and permits


State or territory governments manage the licences and permits for the accommodation and food services industry. The licences and permits you may need include:

  • preparing and/or selling food
  • selling and/or consumption of alcohol
  • erecting/displaying signage
  • restricted trading days
  • outdoor dining 
  • playing video/sound recordings
  • disposal of waste

Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS)

Find the licences and permits you need for your accommodation and food services business.

Taxation requirements


Accommodation and food services industry businesses have specific goods and services tax (GST) measures. It’s important that you know your GST obligations and to make sure you register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure you can claim your GST credits.

Employing people


If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia’s national workplace laws specific to the accommodation and food services industry.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for awards specific to your industry.

Workplace Health & Safety (WHS)


There are general occupational health and safety regulations for all businesses. The accommodation and food services industry also have state-specific WHS requirements, including:

  • occupational noise management
  • standards for protective clothing and equipment
  • standards for occupational safety signage
  • national standard for manual handling 
  • prevention of burns from hot liquids, surfaces or steam
  • prevention and response to workplace bullying 
  • prevention of workplace violence (e.g. robbery)
  • electrical safety

Federal government organisations


The federal government agencies and websites relevant to the accommodation and food services industry include:

Government industry research


Industry research is an important part of planning for your business, it may help you identify:

  • economic and industry trends
  • establish or improve your business
  • help you keep pace with your industry

The government source for statistics for the accommodation and food services industry is the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Read the hospitality industries section of the ABS website to find out the statistics for the accommodation sector, the cafes and restaurants sector, and the clubs, pubs, taverns and bars sector.

Read next