Licensing Act 2003 and restaurateurs
The introduction of the new licensing regime, as laid out in the Licensing Act 2003, is not just an issue for publicans, and has far-reaching consequences for restaurateurs, among others.
According to licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen, the Licensing Act 2003 creates "a regulatory minefield" for restaurateurs and "unless you act soon, you could be jeopardising your future".
Even if you don't currently sell alcohol in your restaurant but do serve hot food or beverages after 11pm, you will still be affected by the changes in the licensing law, Poppleston Allen advises. The transformation to the new regime has several major implications for restaurateurs. If you sell alcohol in your restaurant, Poppleston Allen advises that the main changes to the law that will affect you are:
You will require a premises licence and a personal licence in place of the current justices' licence.
Licensing administration switches from magistrates to local authorities, so your application will go through your local council and must have regard to its local policy.
Permitted hours will be abolished, and you'll be able to apply for different opening and closing times by varying your premises licence.
You can apply to vary your licence to improve your trading position, eg, by adding entertainment or by selling alcohol to people who haven't come in to eat.
If you don't sell alcohol but wish to serve hot food or beverages after 11pm, you will need a premises licence.
Poppleston Allen has jointly developed with the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) an online licence application service called PAPA, which is designed to streamline the process of applying for licences. For more information, call 0115 9487474, or go to: www.popall.co.uk/papa.