You do not need to register pop-up restaurant activities with the food control authority if the activities do not take place on more than 12 days in a calendar year and the activities comply with the Finnish Food Authority’s instructions for pop-up activities.
In a pop-up restaurant, the food and foodstuffs are served and consumed immediately after preparation either at the restaurant or as takeaway food.
For food safety reasons, products requiring special food hygiene competence, such as raw or almost raw meat and fish, have been excluded from the activities.
The pop-up restaurant operator is responsible for the safety of the foods served and for not misleading consumers.
Sections 1–5 below apply to unregistered pop-up restaurant activities.
If you already have a registered or approved food establishment and you would like to carry out pop-up- type activities in the food sector, see section 7 of these instructions.
1. What kind of activities are allowed in unregistered pop-up restaurant activities?
A pop-up restaurant can be operated by anyone, for example, a private person, a company or a sole trader operating under a trading name, excluding a registered or approved food industry operator.
- A pop-up restaurant is allowed to operate on 12 days in a calendar year at the most and the turnover of the activities may be no more than EUR 15,000 per year.
- The operator of the pop-up restaurant can freely choose the dates of operation, but it is recommended that pop-up restaurants operate for short periods at a time, preferably on individual days so that it will be easier to manage food safety.
- The turnover limit corresponds to the limit for small-scale activity set in the Value Added Tax Act (1501/1993).
- In a pop-up restaurant, the food and foodstuffs are served and consumed immediately after they have been prepared.
- The restaurant may also give the food to the customer to take out as takeaway food.
- Foods other than those listed in section 2 of these instructions can be prepared and served in pop-up restaurants. For example, in a pop-up restaurant you are allowed to
- bake pastry and pies
- prepare salads, sandwiches, soups, hotpots and casseroles
- grill, fry and stir-fry food, and
- serve cooked meat and fish.
- Home-made gluten-free products and products suitable for allergy diets can also be served in a pop-up restaurant.
- The facilities used for pop-up restaurant activities must be clean and suitable for the activities; see more detailed information in section 3 of these instructions.
- The foodstuffs and food can be prepared in facilities that are not within food control, such as an unregistered home kitchen.
- In addition, the Finnish Food Authority instructs the following:
- a pop-up restaurant must clearly inform consumers that it is a pop-up restaurant
- the name of the person responsible for the activities must be displayed to consumers
- on request, the consumer must be told orally or in writing what ingredients and products in the foods and foodstuffs served cause allergies and hypersensitivity (intolerance). Further information: allergens (in Finnish)
- it is recommended to inform consumers in writing of the country of origin of the fresh, cooled or frozen beef, pork, mutton, goat meat and poultry used as an ingredient in the meal.
2. What you are not allowed to do in an unregistered pop-up restaurant?
- Pop-up restaurants must no prepare and /or sell food or foodstuffs to be stored for later use.
- Pop-up restaurant activities must not include delivering the food or foodstuffs to customers.
- Food prepared in a pop-up restaurant must not be served in a registered or approved food establishment.
- Raw or almost raw meat or fish products such as the following must not be served in a pop-up restaurant:
- steak tartare
- medium-cooked minced meat patties
- fresh-salted fish
- fish roe or
- sushi dishes.
- Pop-up restaurants must not operate on more than 12 days in a calendar year and the turnover of the activities must not exceed EUR 15,000 per year.
3. Obligations of a pop-up restaurant operator
Although pop-up restaurant activities do not need to be registered with the food authority, certain parts of food legislation must be complied with in the activities.
- The activities must be safe and they must not mislead the consumer (Food Act 297/2021, section 6, subsections 1–3).
- The operator must inform the food control authority of serious hazards to human health, such as discovered suspected cases of food poisoning and the measures that have been taken to rectify the shortcomings (Food Act, section 17).
- For example, if a customer contacts the operator to say that they suspect food poisoning, the operator must notify the matter to the food control authority. You will find the contact details of the food control authority in your municipality here: Contact the food control authority.
- Further information: What to do in suspected cases of food poisoning (in Finnish)
- Comply with the instructions for good hand hygiene. Do not prepare food if you are ill. Further information:
- Use only fresh products of good quality. Observe the date markings of foodstuffs. Check what ingredients the foodstuff contains and where the foodstuffs have been obtained from. The information given to consumers about the foodstuffs /foods must be correct and true. It is forbidden to give misleading information. Further information:
- Make sure that the storage and handling facilities are suitable for the activities, tidy and clean so that you can prepare food safely in them. Take care of the hygiene related to preparing the food, including the hygiene of the preparation facilities, surfaces and equipment. To prevent cross-contamination, keep raw and cooked foods separate from each other. The utensils used in preparing the food must not spread bacteria or allergens. Further information:
- Comply with the temperatures for storing and serving foodstuffs. Take care of the cold and hot chains by keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. Avoid keeping foodstuffs in temperatures between 6°C and 60°C if they require temperature control. Further information:
- Take care of allergen management. Further information:
Pop-up operations must also take into account other official regulations and requirements, which may be local or regional, for example the area's licensing and fire safety. For more information, see Chapter 8.
4. Supervision of unregistered pop-up restaurant activities
If necessary, the food control authority may impose supervision and administrative measures even on unregistered food service activities. Even though pop-up restaurant activities as a rule do not fall within the scope of food control, the activities may still be inspected, for example, if food poisoning is suspected. If shortcomings requiring the authority to take measures are detected in the activities, the operator carrying out pop-up-type activities may also be required to register and, if necessary, may be subjected to systematic and regular supervision. Registered food activities are within the scope of systematic food control and, as a rule, also subject to the service charge for food control (EUR 150 per year).
Pop-up restaurant activities play an important role in upholding a vibrant culinary culture. According to the Food Act (297/2021, section 10), only low-risk food establishments can be exempted from registration. However, the Finnish Food Authority has wanted to make pop-up restaurant activities possible although food preparation as such is never low-risk activity according to the Authority’s interpretation. With the exemption from the requirement to register, the Authority has wanted to promote a living food culture and make sure that anyone can sell the food they have prepared and have only light administrative duties when complying with the Authority's instructions.
6. What about if I want to carry out the activities on a larger scale?
If you wish to carry out more extensive food service activities, contact the food control authority of your municipality preferably already in the planning stage and at least four weeks before starting the activities. For the contact details of the food control authority in your municipality, click here. To read the Finnish Food Authority's interpretations on whether activities on a larger scale must be registered, click here.
7. Mobile food service activities in connection with registered or approved food establishment
If you would like to carry out food service activities outdoors or in some other temporary sales or serving point in connection with a registered/approved food establishment, your activities are mobile food service activities related to a registered/approved food establishment. Find out from the food control authority in your municipality whether such a change in your activities means that you must notify the mobile food service activities. You will find the contact details here: Contact the food control authority. More information on mobile food service activities is available here: Movable food premises.
8. Where can I get additional information?
Ask your local food control authority for additional information on the topic and for other requirements considering pop-up activities. You will find the contact details here: Contact the food control authority.
If you would like to ask about other permits, such as the location of the restaurant, the sale of products other than food, the pursuit of a business or taxation, contact the relevant authority, such as your municipality, regional state administrative agency or tax authority.