The Hospitality Association is criticising the Christchurch City Council over its mishandling of registrations for food outlets.
City by-laws stipulate that any businesses selling food must be registered, with the license expiring at the end of each financial year on 30 June.
On Monday, the council confirmed there have been delays in sending out invoices for registrations and some businesses are yet to receive them, meaning they are not licensed for preparing and selling food.
The Canterbury president of the New Zealand Hospitality Association, Peter Morrison, says this hasn't happened in his 30 years in the businesses and the council didn't even notify him of the issue.
Mr Morrison said it should have issued a press statement or put adverts in the local newspaper and on the radio.
Willows Cafe owner Grant Miller said he was inspected in March, so he can't understand why he couldn't have been registered months ago.
The owner of the Honeypot Cafe, Brendan Alcock, said it isn't a good look when customers come into his shop.
The council's inspections and enforcement manager says invoices for registrations were sent out on Sunday and once payment is received, food businesses will be re-registered.
Anne Columbus said the council would not follow up expired certificates until operators have had a fair opportunity to receive their invoice and pay the fee.