Opening a gelato parlour in Australia

Opening a gelato parlour in Australia

Australia is a natural paradise, with its breathtaking beaches, crystal clear waters and pristine forests: a fascinating world with a thriving economy which many people choose as the place to make a fresh start in life.

Australia is of course both an island and a continent – the largest island but the smallest continent in the world. The sixth largest country in the world by land mass, it also has the lowest population density per square kilometre, and has animals and plants that are found nowhere else on the planet. With its outstanding natural features and climate, its generally calm and peaceful lifestyle, its multi-ethnic atmosphere and its excellent economic and employment situation, Australia has become a favourite destination for many people looking to start afresh.

As with any country, Australia also has its own traditions and customs, as well as various regulations and laws that you need to take into account when you move, especially if you are looking to settle and find work, perhaps as a gelato craftsman in an existing gelato parlour or else looking to start a gelato business from scratch.

First of all, bear in mind that if you want to work in Australia you’ll need a special work visa. There are visas for employer sponsored workers (fine for working as a gelato-maker in an existing gelato parlour) or business development provisional visas (for those who want to start up their own gelato parlour business) that can then become permanent, once the business is making enough money for you to earn a living. Otherwise, the visa cannot be renewed.

As Australian laws on immigration are extremely strict, the visa application and processing phase, for non-citizens, is considered an integral part of the business plan. For more complete and detailed information, please visit the Australian Government website at the following address:

Once you have the right visa for your needs, you can begin to get your gelato parlour business under way. The first thing you need is to find suitable premises for starting up a gelato-making business and either take out a lease or purchase it. If there is anything preventing you from opening your premises, you are legally entitled to rescind the contract.

Once you have found the right premises and signed the lease, you have to take the plans of the premises to the local council (Local Government Area). This department has an office whose job is to provide codes for construction, health and safety and suitability (Community Suitability). In most cases, you will need to submit a development application which the Council will use to decide whether the premises and the area are compatible with the plans you have presented. This is relatively straightforward provided your plans do not envisage any structural changes to the store, or if the previous usage was food production and sales. It is then up to the Council to inform the gelato craftsman if it requires specific facilities to be installed, such as a grease trap, required for businesses – including gelato parlours – which handle fats and oils. Please note that this step may take between 3 and 12 months.

In addition, if you want to make changes to the structure of the premises, you will have to submit a building application to the Council, which will check the safety issues related to the building work you want carried out. In some places, this may come under an assessment process known as heritage listing, which means that the building work on the premises is not allowed to alter the shop frontage. Since this process covers all the utilities you need, from water to electrics, and takes 3 to 12 months, you should begin it at the same time as the development application.

After that, the local council health department (corresponding to the Italian ASL) will send an inspector to make sure that you comply with all of the food-production criteria. The inspector will check there are enough cleaning facilities for staff and equipment and that these are properly equipped, that the production units are parasite-proof (in some areas this is a crucial factor to take into account), that the refrigeration facilities are adequate and that the store-room is big enough. It is worthwhile remembering that even though the gelato sector is already highly developed, inspectors often do not know anything about gelato-making equipment, so having a skilled craftsman around to help out the inspector during his visit can be a great help in speeding up the approval process.

Finally, the employer will be required to attend a course specifically for food operators. Once you have been awarded the course completion certificate you will be allowed to open up your gelato parlour. These are typically short courses, either held by the local council or that can be taken online.

Once the gelato parlour opens, you need to consider the regulations on importing ingredients. Importing food products into Australia requires a license issued by central government and each imported product has to be registered. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase from importers of gelato ingredients who also usually provide a service whereby they will find you premises (and follow up the approval process) where you can carry on your business.

Finally, contact the local authorities for any issues relating to opening a bank account, issuing cheques, choosing a permanent residence, etc. ... that are all part of the process needed to start up your chosen career as a gelato craftsman in Australia.

Opening a gelato parlour in Australia
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