Legal Q&A: Rules on serving hot food

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Hot food rules: What additional permissions do pubs need to provide hot food later into the evening?
Hot food rules: What additional permissions do pubs need to provide hot food later into the evening?
Specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen's latest legal Q&A looks at the rules governing service of hot food and drinks.

Q: I have just taken over the management of a pub in my local village and my premises licence allows me to trade for the sale of alcohol and regulated entertainment until midnight.

We want to improve our offer and, following some surveys conducted with the ‘locals’ , they are keen for us to provide hot food and drinks, such as coffee and simple toasties, later into the evening.

Currently, we close our kitchen at about 9pm but I’m thinking about opening a bit later and just wondered if you could tell me what additional permissions I might require?

A: Firstly, I would check whether your premises licence permits ‘late night refreshment’, this is hot food and drink provided to customers between the hours of 11pm and 5am, such as hot drinks, hot food and puddings.

If you don’t have this permission on your licence, then you will be permitted to provide hot food and drinks only until 11pm, subject to any conditions on your licence to the contrary.

If you did want to provide hot food and drinks after 11pm up until your closing time, you would need to make an application (which you may be able to submit as minor rather than a full variation) to add late-night refreshment to your licence.

Further reading - Top tips: the key to takeaways​ - With the rise in third-party home delivery services in recent years we are recieving more queries from operators seeking to add home deliveries and takeaways to their offering. 

Related topics: Licensing law

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