Licensing a Takeaway in the UK

Takeaway Licensing can be difficult to arrange and just as difficult to understand. Below, we pinpoint the licences you need to open your Takeaway.

These licences are also highly relevant to ghost and dark kitchens, as well as delivery kitchens. Please bear in mind your business type when completing licences (dark kitchens are takeaway only, where delivery kitchens offer delivery and customer collection).

If you would like immediate advice, speak to one of our professionals today, or get in touch directly by emailing or calling 0114 266 8664.

What licences do I need for a takeaway?

Before you begin to build a portfolio of licences for your takeaway, there are a few important steps to take for your business.

1. Register as a food business

An important first step is to register your takeaway with your local authority as a food business.

If you have a Portsmouth-based business, for instance, register your food business by visiting the Portsmouth County Council website and following the prompts. When registering your food business, please be certain that you are registering it under the local authority that oversees the area your business is based in

You can use the local council finder if you do not know which local authority your business falls under.

Local councils recommend that you register with them at least 28 days before your takeaway restaurant opens for business. 

Registering as a food business is not always straightforward. If you have any doubts when registering your business, get in touch with John Gaunt & Partners today, who can help you complete your registration.

2. Premises Licence

A premises licence is important for any takeaway restaurant that wishes to sell either hot food or drinks between 11 pm and 5 am. 

You will also need a Premises Licence if you wish to sell alcohol at any time of the day from your takeaway restaurant. This licence is one of two licences that are necessary for selling alcohol on any premises. The second licence is a Personal Licence.

If you choose to sell alcohol you must then have a designated premises supervisor (DPS) selected when you apply for the licence, and that DPS must have or be working towards their Personal Licence.

Take note of the following factors when applying for your Premises Licence. They will form the basis of your licence, so being aware of them is vital to keeping your business operating:

Your Operating Schedule

Your Operating Schedule is one of the most important parts of your licence, and making sure to promote and maintain the licensing objectives is something that all business owners should do to avoid investigation.

Be sure to detail how your will promote and maintain the following licensing objectives:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder 
  • Public safety
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of children from harm 

This part of the application is highly important, and will form a part of your licence, so please be as thorough as possible when filling it out. 

If you’re unsure of how you will meet your above licensing objectives, consider getting in touch with John Gaunt & Partners today. Our team of licensing specialists are dedicated to helping businesses receive the best possible licence, and will help to ensure that your Premises Licence application meets the needs of your business.

Hours of operation

In some ways the most contentious part of the application, knowing and understanding your hours of operation is very important. This is especially true with takeaways, which are often open until the early hours of the morning.

Consider that takeaways, dark kitchens and delivery kitchens surrounded by populated housing could face noise complaints from drivers (particularly those on scooters) coming back and forth to the restaurant for deliveries, or idling outside while waiting for a pickup. Due to this, further licensing requirements may need to be considered or added to your application.

John Gaunt & Partners have years of experience working with takeaways and other food businesses to help them make the most of the hours on their licence, helping maximise your potential success. We can also offer pros and cons to particular opening hours, so you can make an informed decision.

Proving that you are entitled to work in the UK

Being entitled to work in the UK is absolutely necessary if you plan to open your own takeaway food business. 

You must make sure that you are eligible, and you must prove that you are subject to any of the conditions that may prevent you from obtaining a Premises Licence. Please be aware that immigration status checks may also take place during this process.

Acquire DPS consent

If you require a Designated Premises Supervisor they are most likely to be handling all queries and communications regarding the licence, so having their consent during the application process is essential.

Plan of your Premises

Having a detailed plan of your premises is very important. Be sure to consider these elements and expand upon them if you need to:

  • Where are your property boundaries?
  • Where are your entrances and exits?
  • Where are the toilets on the premises located?
  • Do you have any steps, or staircases on the premises?
  • Do you have fire escapes and other escape routes?
  • Where are your licensable activity areas? For instance where you serve and prepare food
  • Do you have any other raised areas on your premises?
  • What safety equipment do you have on your premises?
  • Is there any part of your premises that requires any special attention?

Make sure to outline the licensable area in red on your plan. Consider your licensable areas carefully, as it can be a balance to find the right amount of trading space as well as allow room for any other licensable activities without jeopardising your application.

If at any point you are unsure of your premises plan and need support, contact John Gaunt & Partners, who can provide guidance and advice.

Premises Licence advice from the experts

Expert advice can be incredibly helpful when it comes to a daunting task like applying for your Premises Licence.

Your licence application can be open to objection if your application is completed incorrectly. In the event that your application is objected to, it will be considered by the Local Licensing Committee, which could result in a rejection or delay to your business opening.

You could also be at risk if you miss elements off of your licence application and it is accepted. In this event, you could be acting outside of the permissions of your licence, which could result in your business being shut down or licence revoked. If at any point you are unsure of your licence application and need expert guidance, get in touch with our team today.

During your licence review, you may be contacted by Responsible Authorities like the Fire Office, the Police, and Environmental Health. All of these authorities will review your licence as part of the process, and may have suggestions or provide feedback. At John Gaunt & Partners, our experience dealing with responsible authorities can help put you in the best position to argue your case. We can help you decide what parts of the feedback are reasonable and what you may want to argue, and as part of our service we can also represent you in that argument.

Get in touch with us today through our contact form, or call or email directly through 0114 266 8664 or Our team can help you make the best decisions on your Premises Licence, and if it falls before a committee for review we can represent you and your interests.

3. Personal Licence

A Personal Licence, owned by your takeaway restaurant’s DPS, is the second and final step needed towards selling alcohol on your premises.

You only need one DPS on your premises to sell alcohol, but it is worth noting that the DPS needs to oversee and authorise the sale of alcohol. Commonly, venues appoint the General Manager or a member of staff that is frequently at the takeaway restaurant to be the DPS. This helps to ensure that correct procedures to sell alcohol are maintained.

Personal Licence holders must follow the process of applying for a personal licence correctly by following these steps.

Prove Eligibility

You must pass a DBS check to be allowed to hold a Personal Licence. You must set up a DBS check yourself, or if you need support, John Gaunt and Partners can help you arrange one.

Earn an accreditation

Earning an accreditation in the form of an APLH (Award for Personal Licence Holders) is vital. Gain your accreditation through an APLH course today.

Working in a food business may require you to also be aware of things like allergens and food safety. Consider also taking part in John Gaunt & Partners Allergen Awareness, Food Safety (levels 1 to 3 in catering, retail and supervising food safety), or Customer Service eLearning courses.

View our Training Courses today

4. Music Licence

A Music Licence is necessary for your takeaway restaurant if you plan to play music while operating. This is to make sure the owners and performers of the music are paid for their song use.

These licences affect restaurants that:

  • Play live music or host music events
  • Use recorded music during operations, whether through Spotify, CD, radio, or other channels.

Our friendly team is available today for further information on obtaining your Music Licence, or visit the PPLPRS website for more information.

5. Pavement Licence

On busy high streets full of competition, having ‘curb appeal’ could be a great benefit to your business. The best way to do this is to apply for a Pavement Licence, which allows you to place removable furniture and signs over certain pavements. This is a great way to share your offering and bring in foot traffic that may have otherwise gone to another takeaway restaurant.

Look to your local authority for Pavement Licence fees, which is currently capped at £100.

Please be aware also that this area of law is complex, and it varies from region to region. With this in mind, speaking to a licensing specialist could be beneficial in helping you navigate the Pavement Licence requirements.

6. SIA door supervisors

Due to the late hour that your business may potentially run to, it may be within your best interests to consider door supervisors. While most takeaway businesses will not need a door supervisor, in cities and towns they can act as a deterrent for any intoxicated or antisocial behaviour.

When working with door supervisors, it is your responsibility to ensure that they have a licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA), have a recognised door supervisor qualification, and have passed identity and criminal record checks.

At John Gaunt & Partners, we can offer advice on whether you might require a door supervisor for your takeaway business. While this may seem like an added expense, a good door supervisor can potentially save you many in the long run by preventing vandalism and keeping intoxicated people out of your business. Reach out to us today to discuss whether a door supervisor is the right choice for you.

How much does it cost to get a takeaway restaurant licenced?

Licensing costs vary depending on the type of takeaway restaurant you have.

Premises Licence cost

For instance, if you do not wish to sell alcohol, you may only need to look into a Premises Licence. The fee band of the property affects this licence, so it can range from £100 up to £635 depending on the rateable value of your premises, this is payable to the local authority.

When managing your Premises Licence application, consider that you will need to advertise your application both at the premises and in local newspapers. At John Gaunt & Partners, we utilise an agent who can secure significant discounts when going to the press. If this is something you are interested in, consider viewing our Premises Licence Costs page and getting in touch with us. Once we know the requirements of your business, we can provide a more accurate assessment of the cost of your Premises Licence.

Personal Licence cost

If you would like to sell alcohol and need a Personal Licence, application processing costs £37. You will also need to include a criminal background check. If you do not have an up-to-date criminal background check, the DBS can perform one for you, which will cost £36.

Also consider the APLH training involved when applying for a Personal Licence. At John Gaunt & Partners, our APLH training courses cost only £120 + VAT per person, with a member of our team getting in touch with you to arrange the online examination date.

An APLH Combined offer is also available through John Gaunt & Partners. Through this, we will work with the DPS to complete the APLH training course, and complete the Personal Licence in the one payment. This streamlines the process greatly, helping you to get started on your business. Our team will also handle the DBS check through this service, and make sure your licence is submitted in a timely manner.

If you live in Scotland and need a Personal Licence, you can also take an SCPLH or SCPLH Combined course with John Gaunt & Partners.

If you need help costing up the licences for your takeaway restaurant, reach out to the John Gaunt & Partners team today.

Pavement Licence costs

Pavement Licences are dictated by local authorities, but currently there is an application fee cap of only £100.

If you have any uncertainty surrounding Pavement, Premises or Personal Licences, get in touch with the licensing experts today. We will make sure that your applications are filled out with the greatest chance to succeed.

Need help getting the right licences for your takeaway restaurant?

At John Gaunt & Partners, we specialise in getting you the best licences for your premises. 

Reach out to us today for expert advice and aid.