Restaurants selling liquor without a meal
Pursuant to the Liquor Control Act 1988 (WA) the primary and predominant purpose of a restaurant must be the regular supply of meals to customers seated at a dining table (or similar fixed structure). However, restaurants can obtain an extended trading permit to serve liquor without a meal.
If the capacity of the premises is less than 120 persons, then the process for obtaining an extended trading permit is relatively straight forward. In most circumstances, licensees should have little trouble in obtaining the same and can apply for a permit themselves at minimal cost.
However, if the capacity of the premises is greater than 120 persons, then the process is more complex and requires the applicant to demonstrate how the grant of the application is in the public interest. In these circumstances, a public interest assessment submission is required to be lodged and it is important to ensure that you prepare a thorough PIA to avoid the application being refused.
In preparing a PIA the applicant must satisfy the Licensing Authority that the grant of the application will not result in:
- increased harm or ill-health due to the use of liquor;
- a lessening of the amenity of the locality of the licensed premises; or
- undue offence, annoyance, disturbance or inconvenience to people who reside, or work in the vicinity of the licensed premises.
The approval process for an extended trading permit to serve liquor without a meal (for more than 120 persons) can take several months. However, recent changes to the Licensing Authority’s Policy on Extended Trading Permits – Restaurants to Sell/Supply Liquor Without a Meal has recently been updated so that applications for renewal of existing extended trading permits are only required to be accompanied by a brief submission addressing why the permit will cater for the requirement of consumers. This can save licensees valuable time and money as they do not have to prepare a full public interest assessment submission on renewal of the existing permit.
It is important to note that even with an extended trading permit, patrons must still be seated whilst consuming liquor. This is a key feature which differentiates restaurants from bars and hotels.