Pizza delivery legal issues

The catering sector is subject to quite a significant amount of regulation and it's advisable to obtain specialist help to make sure you comply with all the legal requirements. The following is an outline of some of the areas that are likely to be particularly relevant to your business.

What licences does a pizza delivery business need?

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

If you plan to sell alcohol you will need to obtain the appropriate licences from your local authority.

If you plan to play background music in your pizza outlet 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.

Of course, your drivers must have valid driving licences for the vehicle they drive - scooter and motorcycle delivery riders need to hold the appropriate motorcycle licence.

Be aware that that a premises licence may be required by an outlet supplying hot food between the hours of 11pm and 5am ('late night refreshment' - in some cases late night refreshment may be exempt from the licensing requirement). You can find out more about premises licensing from your local authority.

Premises - planning usage classes

When choosing premises, note that you will 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)

Food safety legislation

All businesses in the food sector must comply with strict food safety legislation. Before you open, you must register your business with the local authority environmental health department. Your local environmental health officer will be able to give you advice and guidance as to what you should install in your premises to make sure your operating areas are hygienic, and on how to comply with the requirements of food safety regulations.

Alcohol licensing legislation

The sale of alcohol is regulated by:

  • the Licensing Act in England and Wales
  • the Licensing (Northern Ireland) Order
  • the Licensing (Scotland) Act in Scotland

If you intend to sell alcohol you'll need to obtain the appropriate licence and comply with the terms of the legislation, as well as with standard and any other licensing conditions. You can find out more information about alcohol licensing throughout the UK from:

  • the Gov.uk website
  • NI Direct
  • the Scottish Government website

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act

This legislation makes businesses responsible for clearing up any litter around their site that has originated from their retail activities. For example, this would include take-away pizza boxes, empty cans, crisp packets and so on.

Consumer protection

Special legislation protects members of the public from misleading advertising and dishonest business practices, such as substituting an ingredient with a cheaper alternative without making it clear to customers. Goods and services must not be misleadingly described - for example in photographs on menu displays - and prices must be clearly displayed. You are responsible for making sure that everything you sell is of satisfactory quality. You can find out more about consumer protection and fair trading legislation on the Gov.uk website. Your local trading standards department should be able to answer any specific queries you have.

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for a pizza delivery business

Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • employer's liability
  • public liability
  • product liability
  • premises, premises contents, equipment and stock
  • freezer and refrigerator contents cover
  • goods in transit
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • motor insurance (for delivery vehicles)

Some trade associations offer specialist business insurance to their members, often at discounted rates. For example, membership of the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) gives you access to an insurance package tailored specifically for take-aways. There is more information on the NCASS website.

When comparing insurance quotes, uncover the differences between policies by using an insurance comparison form.

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