Dine in to dine out: what are the legal implications?

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With Covid-19 restrictions resulting in the closure of restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs, new legislation has allowed them to re-purpose themselves as takeaway services. But is it as easy as just changing from dine in to dine out?

Our Commercial Property solicitors look at the legal implications of making such a change to the way the hospitality sector operates.

Can a restaurant change to a takeaway?

Simply changing overnight from a restaurant or café to a takeaway service is not as easy as it sounds. Here are the steps commercial owners need to take to ensure this shift in operation is legally sound:

Inform your local authority

If you’re now providing a takeaway service, you must inform your local authority that your intention to use the property is changing. You can find your local authority here.

Thinking about planning permission to trade as a takeaway

This new legislation lasts for a period of 12 months from March 2020. If you wish to continue providing this takeaway service after that and you didn’t do so previously, or have planning permission to trade in that way, you must apply for it.

Check your commercial lease

Does your commercial lease allow you to use the property as a takeaway? Don’t presume it will. Get in touch with your landlord and discuss what you are planning to do. Confirm your intentions to operate as a takeaway with them and, if necessary, seek consent for this temporary change of use.


The Government’s guidance stresses that, “Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.”

Do you have a licence to sell takeaway alcohol?

If you are planning to sell alcohol to take away, you will need to ensure your premises licence reflects that. Check through the terms and conditions in your premises licence. It will outline whether you’re permitted to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises.

Thinking of operating a takeaway service from your restaurant or pub? Get in touch

Our commercial property lawyers provide practical and clear advice to clients across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. We can tailor our fee structure and work to suit your requirements and budget so that your business can get the legal support it needs.

To arrange a consultation with someone in our specialist team, call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.


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