Food And Beverage Law Frequently Asked Questions
What Planning Permission do I need when opening new premises?
Whether you are opening a new café, restaurant or takeaway, you will likely require planning permission with two main aspects to be considered – what can be built and what it can be used for. If, for example, a new coffee shop is being established on the site of an existing coffee shop, the existing planning permission may be suitable although it will still be checked. If the developer is establishing a coffee shop in a new location which did not have one previously then a ‘change of use’ planning permission will most probably be required. It is also worthwhile noting that whilst most buildings can take a restaurant the planning conditions may prohibit it.
What is a franchise?
Franchising is a proven method to scale a business and some of the most successful Food & Beverage brands in the world are franchised. A franchise is a contracted agreement to operate someone’s brand under strict terms and conditions. It involves assistance and support from the franchisor (the person or company that grants the license to a third party for the conducting of a business under their marks) to the franchisee (a person or company who is granted a license to do business under the trademark and trade name by the franchisor).
In a franchise, the franchisee usually pays the franchisor an upfront fee, royalties, and sometimes even a monthly or annual fee, and in return will likely receive access to and permission to use the franchise branding, know-how and assistance. This typically makes a franchise more expensive than a standard licence agreement.
Another important aspect of franchise agreements is that you may be granted a specific region thereby protecting your business from other similar franchises being opened within your region.
Planning permission is especially important for franchises as Head Office may dictate specific layouts and designs which may need additional permissions sought.
What is a licence?
A licence is a contract which one party grants another permission to use the licensor’s brand name and/or other intellectual property (IP) rights (such as copyrights, designs or trade secrets). The party licensing their IP is unlikely to receive any royalties and the licensee does not receive any business assistance the way they would if they were a franchisee.
What are the main Food & Beverage Governing authorities?
In Ireland the main advisory authorities for the Food & Beverage sector are:
Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) - The Authority is a statutory, independent and science-based body, dedicated to protecting public health and consumer interests in the area of food safety and hygiene. Its main function is to ensure that food produced, distributed or marketed in Ireland meets the highest standards of food safety and hygiene reasonably available and to ensure that food complies with legal requirements and recognised codes of good practice.
Health & Safety Authority (HSA) - The HSA is the body responsible for ensuring the highest standards of safety, health and welfare for Irish businesses and their workers. It has specific guidelines for food & beverage owners to follow in order to protect their employees and customers from a wide range of risks such as falls, cuts and burns.
Local Authorities - When opening new premises, an application for planning permission must be sought through the local authority. Planning is a public process and is subject to various checks and balances.
Can I be restricted in my opening times?
Planning permission can often dictate the hours in which you may operate. For example, planning permission may insist your business stops serving food/drink at midnight due to a residential area nearby.
Food & Beverage operators based in shopping centres or entertainment complexes may also be restricted to the centre’s opening and closing times.
What insurances do I need?
There are many different types of business and commercial insurances available for Food & Beverage businesses. There is no ‘one size fits all’ policy, and there are different levels of cover available. Whilst insurances can prove costly they can provide compensation and peace of mind should things go wrong.
The most common insurance required by business owners is Public Liability Insurance. Whilst not compulsory, this type of liability insurance is a standard commercial insurance policy that protects its policyholders against liability claims for property damage and bodily injury.
If food & beverage business owners hire employees they will require Employers Liability Insurance. This insurance will protect employers against claims for injury, illness, disease or death of any employee under a contract of service with their business.
Businesses will also require Fire Insurance unless their building is leased. If the premises are leased it is usually the responsibility of the property owners to provide Fire Insurance.
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