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If you are opening a restaurant it is crucial to ensure you are legally complaint. You must take into account various regulations and licensing laws, and be ready for occasional inspections. Instructing a solicitor can help you avoid the legal pitfalls and ensure you can get on with running your business.


Working with food can be hazardous and consequently the law requires you to follow a considerable number of regulations including:

  • The Food Premises (Registration) Regulations 1991
  • The Licensing Act 2003
  • The Food Safety Act 1990
  • The General Food Law Regulations (EC) 178/2002
  • The General Food Regulations 2004 (as amended)

You are responsible for complying with all this legislation. Remember that ignorance of the law is no defence. If that seems daunting, you can see why instructing a solicitor is a good idea!


You do not need an overall licence to open a restaurant in your area, but you must inform your Local Authority that you intend to open this type of business. If you fail to do so, could be fined. Different regulations apply if you want to serve food off the premises and of course if you sell alcohol.

A solicitor with experience of licensing and food law in the restaurant business can be an invaluable asset to have available. If you are unsure about any aspect of the law that relates to your restaurant business a solicitor can help clarify the law for you.