Late night refreshment licence

Under the Licensing Act 2003, the provision of late night refreshment is a licensable activity and covers businesses selling hot food or hot drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am. The Act is mainly aimed at licensing takeaways, and late night cafes, including mobile vans.

The Act exempts:

  • premises selling immediately consumable food such as bread, milk or cold sandwiches in an all night grocers shop, unless they are selling hot food or hot drink 
  • the supply of a hot drink by means of a vending machine, so long as it is operated by members of the public without the involvement of the staff on the premises
  • the supply of hot food or hot drink free of charge 
  • supplies by a registered charity
  • supplies on vehicles, other than when they are permanently or temporarily parked

Additionally, the following are exempt if there is no admission to the public and supplies are to: 

  • persons staying overnight in a hotel, guest house, lodging house, hostel, caravan or camping sites etc where the main purpose is providing overnight accommodation; 
  • staff canteens; 
  • a person engaged in a profession or vocation (e.g. tradesman carrying out work at a particular premises);
  • a guest of any of the above
  • The provision of hot food for a charge by a vending machine is licensable when the food has been heated, even though no staff on the premises may have been involved
  • A personal licence is not required if there is no supply of alcohol