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Food in alcohol on-licence business sites and clubs

Serving food in alcohol on-licence business sites and clubs

Businesses with alcohol on-licences or club licences must serve food whenever they are open and selling alcohol.

This condition forms part of good host responsibility, as eating before or while drinking significantly reduces the level of intoxication.

Minimum standards for serving food (excluding restaurants)

To meet the conditions of your on-licence or club alcohol licence, the range and style of food you serve must be similar to the menu you submitted as part of your alcohol licence application.

Food that meets a minimum standard

The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority states that you should offer a minimum of three types of food:

  • pizzas
  • pies
  • toasted or fresh sandwiches
  • wedges
  • salads.

You can’t serve three types of the same food (three types of pies).

You can have a menu from neighbouring businesses to provide for one or two of these options, but you must always have a back-up option that you can produce on site.

To meet a minimum in food standards you must have:

  • a microwave or fryer
  • a supply of a variety of 'long life' meals that do not need temperature control
  • tins of soup and rolls
  • utensils and plates.

You must also have a food preparation area and utensils to serve the food.

Clear advertising of the food available

Menus for the food that you provide at a club or on-licence business must be highly visible, and food should be actively promoted with:

  • menus on the tables
  • a menu board
  • food on display.

You must advertise food in outdoor areas. Bar staff should actively promote the range of food options available.

Certificate of Registration

Registered businesses, such as restaurants that mainly sell and serve meals on the premises, must display a current Certificate of Registration with the premises grading.

For more information about getting a Certificate of Registration see how to open a food business.

Licence renewals and inspections

Our inspectors check menus at businesses during an inspection.

When an inspector calls, they will ask if:

  • food is available
  • it is promoted well
  • the business has free food available during drink promotions
  • there are special meal deals.

The inspector will also ask to see your kitchen or food preparation area and check the range of food available in the refrigerator, freezer or dry store area.

Make sure that these areas are clean and that food is within its use by date.

The inspector will check that you rotate stock and replace food items, so that fresh food is always available.

They will report to us their overall perception of your business. This will help us when we review your alcohol licence application.

If your business loses its food licence

We work closely with the Alcohol Licensing Agency and keep them informed whenever a business is closed down because of food safety issues.
If your food business loses a licence to operate because of unsafe food handling practices, this may seriously affect your ability to meet the conditions of your alcohol licence.

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