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Stay on the right side of the law with deliveries and takeaways

By Suraj Desor, solicitor Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Getting delivery right: ensuring you have a good age verification policy is one aspect to consider
Getting delivery right: ensuring you have a good age verification policy is one aspect to consider

Related tags Licensing Legislation Social responsibility Food Health and safety

With the rise in home delivery and takeaway in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic, many operators such as our online delivery and restaurant clients have seen this as a great way to expand business.
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However, it is not without licensing implications, which operators must address to ensure they are compliant with the law. Here are key points to consider, however, if in doubt, seek legal advice.

  • The sale of alcohol by retail for takeaway or via delivery is a licensable activity and will require authorisation under a premises licence (and as such will also require a designated premises supervisor in place who must have a current personal licence)
  • The premises from which the alcohol is selected for an order is the location that will need to be licensed (eg, for deliveries, this will be the warehouse where alcohol is stored and bagged for customers rather than the call centre where orders are taken)
  • Your premises licence will need to permit off-sales of alcohol and you should check there are no conditions on your premises licence that restrict off-sales or (where relevant) any such restrictions under planning or your lease
  • The Business and Planning Act allows certain premises licensed for on-sales to also provide off-sales where their premises licence would not otherwise permit this, for a limited period (likely to be until 30 September 2022). However, specific conditions on an individual premises licence and exemptions may apply
  • Sales to underage customers is one of the biggest risks linked to deliveries of alcohol. Consider how your business model will address this. There is a mandatory condition attached to premises licences requiring that an age verification policy is in place and you may have other applicable conditions on your licence. Consider age verification measures at the point of order (ie, before an order is taken online or over the telephone) and also at the point of delivery
  • You should also consider potential for public nuisance such as noise from delivery drivers operating from the premises and the effects on local residents – consider measures you can put in place to mitigate this, including where delivery vehicles are parked at the premises and training on driver conduct on picking up and delivering orders
  • We would recommend consulting with the responsible authorities prior to applying for a new licence or variation to an existing licence to permit takeaway or deliveries of alcohol
  • You should ensure any conditions agreed on your premises licence are operationally workable for your business model. For example, you will need to ensure whoever carries out the deliveries (whether your own staff or a third party) complies with the conditions because the premises licence holder and designated premises supervisor are liable for any breaches of the licence. If you use a third-party delivery company, you may wish to check you are satisfied with the company’s age verification policy and procedures and, if necessary, provide training
  • As part of your delivery or takeaway service, if you intend to sell hot food and drink between 11pm and 5am, this is also a licensable activity and you will need to ensure the premises is licensed for late-night refreshment.

Contact Poppleston Allen​​ for more details and its other services.

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