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Regulated businesses


Restaurants and catering

Restaurants and other catering businesses will need to conform to some or all of the following legal areas:

* Alcohol sale requirements
* Entertainments licences
Food Business requirements
* Music licences
Smoke-free premises.

Contract with customer
A table reservation and the terms of supply of food and services including the prices are governed by the contract between the proprietor and customer. The contract will normally become binding when the costomer's booking is accepted and the customer's order is accepted by the server. The terms and conditions are rarely written so the terms will generally be those "implied" by the law, in particular the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

For further information on the contractual aspect, and the rights and obligations of the supplier and the customer, see :
Selling and marketing

Corkage: Customers may be permitted to bring their own alcoholic drink but this is at the discretion of the proprietor. A reasonable corkage fee for such permission may be charged at common law even if no alcohol licence is held.

Pavement café licence

England and Wales

To place tables, chairs or other temporary furniture on the pavement, you may need:

* planning permission from the local planning authority;

* a highway licence from the local authority (e.g. the county council unless the authority is a unitary authority which will also be responsible for planning permission).

For further information, visit the local authority's website.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Assembly has passed the Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (Northern Ireland) 2014t which will require premises owners which place temporary furniture in the open air and in a public area for use in the consumption of food or drink to obtain a payment café licence from the district council.

It will be an offence for the premises owner and any person concerned in its management to place such furniture without a licence. There will be a ‘due diligence’ defence.The Act will come into force on a day to be appointed by the government.


The position is similar to that in England. To place tables and chairs on the pavement or footpath outside premises, a •street café approval is required. An occupation of a road form should be completed and returned to a local area roads office. [Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, Section 58; Transport (Scotland) Act 2005, Section 19].


Further information for UK generally
For further information, see:
the British Hospitality Association
the Nationwide Caterers Association

The Nationwide Caterers Association has useful information on the "due dilgence" defence in relation to a food law prosecution. It also has a series of guides for those coonsidering to start up a catering business as follows:

* Starting Up a Catering Trailer Business
* Starting Up a Motorised Catering Van Business
* Starting Up a Marquee / Market Stall Catering Business
* Starting Up a Hog Roast / BBQ Business
* Starting Up an Ice Cream Van Business
* Starting Up a Baked Potato Business
* Starting Up a Home Working / Buffets Business
* Starting Up a Coffee Round Business
* Starting Up a Mobile Sandwich Van Business
* Starting Up a Fish & Chip Shop Business
* Starting Up a Takeaway Business
* Starting Up a Sandwich Bar / Cafe
* Starting Up a Restaraunt
* Starting Up a Cheffing Service
* Starting Up a Mobile Bar
* Starting Up a Pub / Wine Bar

[Page updated: 14/05/2014]


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