Industry sector:

Sandwich bar: Licences


Because your business will prepare, store and sell food you will need to register with your local environmental health department. They will inspect your premises and help you to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Act and regulations. You should contact your local authority early on in your planning so that you register in good time. There is no charge for registering.

If you plan to play background music in the sandwich bar you will probably need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website.

If you plan to have some tables and chairs outside your sandwich bar on the pavement you'll probably need to get permission from your local highways department.

Most sandwich bars don't serve alcoholic drinks, but if you decide to then you'll need to be licensed. You'll need a personal licence and a premises licence.

Premises - planning usage classes

When choosing premises, note that you may need to find some with the appropriate planning usage classification. It may be possible to change the classification of a premises, but this requires planning consent. It's easier to change to some classifications than to others - for example it can be difficult to change from a cafe or restaurant serving food for consumption on the premises to a hot food takeaway.

Planning usage classes covering cafe and restaurant activities are as follows:

  • A3 - restaurants and cafes (food and drink for consumption on the premises)
  • A4 - drinking establishments (pubs and wine bars, but not night clubs)
  • A5 - hot food takeaways (hot food for consumption off the premises)

It's sometimes possible to run a sandwich bar from A1 premises (retail). For example, if you're going to sell ready-prepared sandwiches and you're not going to do any cooking on the premises - and if you're going to have few or no tables for eat-in customers - then the planning department may not require A3 permission. However, do check carefully first before committing to a particular premises.