Saturday, 10 November 2012

A1 or A3 licence - An Explanation


Are you considering opening your own cafe? Do you know anything about the 'licences to trade' in the UK and the restrictions these place on a business. Have you ever wondered about the difference between a cafe and a shop or a restaurant or a pub or a showroom?

Basically it is this, or at least this is my understanding and story. The council, or government, allocate a licence to trade to each building. Here are some examples:


    Class A1. Shops
    Use for all or any of the following purposes—
       (a) for the retail sale of goods other than hot food,
       (b) as a post office,
       (c) for the sale of tickets or as a travel agency,
       (d) for the sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption off the premises,
       (e) for hairdressing,
       (f) for the direction of funerals,
       (g) for the display of goods for sale,
       (h) for the hiring out of domestic or personal goods or articles,
       (i) for the reception of goods to be washed, cleaned or repaired,
    where the sale, display or service is to visiting members of the public.
    Class A2. Financial and professional services
    Use for the provision of —
       (a) financial services, or
       (b) professional services (other than health or medical services), or
       (c) any other services (including use as a betting office) which it is appropriate to provide in a shopping area,
    where the services are provided principally to visiting members of the public.
    Class A3. Food and drink
    Use for the sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises or of hot food for consumption off the premises.

PART B
    Class B1. Business
    Use for all or any of the following purposes—
       (a) as an office other than a use within class A2 (financial and professional services),
       (b) for research and development of products or processes, or
       (c) for any industrial process,
    being a use which can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit.



So the shop for Kaffeine is an A1 licence, as are all the s...bucks, costas, prets etc and probably most other independent cafes. Being A1 means you are primarily for the sale of take away food and of course coffee or tea. But the question is, how much food can you prepare, of what type and what methods can you use to prepare it? Can you cook on site at all?

For example, can you do cooked bacon and eggs on a plate for service? Does this fit in with council guidelines? Can you actually cook on the premises at all? What about soup or porridge? We cook virtually everything, but we do not cook to order, we only 'prepare food primarily for the retail sale and we also heat food as required for consumption'.

Before opening, this was a major question for us, and luckily I had the advice of the Taylor Street baristas owners to guide me, thank goodness for them! So we started cooking on site, preparing all our food as you know it.

Then, about six months ago, we were investigated by council on whether we are breaching the license conditions because we had installed an extraction canopy in order to ventilate the kitchen and because of this they assumed we were cooking large commercial quantities.

For this I had to give them our menus, a list of all our equipment, a breakdown of our sales and the relation between take away and eat in, how many seats we have, how many customers we serve per week. It was a six page document that took ages to fill in.

They also came and visited, twice actually, and took photos, asked questions, had a good look around.

They came back to us with their decision that we were trading as per the lawful guidelines of an A1 licence, which was great news, but that we should possibly investigate having less seats. (We seat 24 people at any one time, but we serve over 600 per day).

My understanding now is that the council really do not have strict guidelines either, or that the lines are so blurred or they do not have consistency in their decisions between them, so it is a really difficult and potentially frustrating area.

At the ends of it though, we are very very happy with their decision  as we believed we were doing the right thing all along, and we hope that you are happy too, because you are 'legally' allowed to enjoy our menu this week.




Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.30
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.30
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passionfruit, peach) 3.50
(add 30 p for granola or yogurt)
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.70
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.70
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.70
Croissant with gruyere cheese and plum tomatoes 3.90
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with homemade preserves 1.70
Coffee, cherry and walnut toast 2.30
Banana bread 2.20

Porridge - Served with rhubarb and raspberry compote, chopped nuts, muscovado sugar, golden syrup or honey 3.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissants 1.70
Pain au chocolat 2.30
Almond croissants 2.70

Baked Treats
Pear, honey and oats sweet muffins 2.00
Spinach and feta savoury muffins 2.00
Melilot friands 2.00
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.30
White chocolate blondies 2.30
Portuguese tarts 1.90
ANZAC cookies 1.70
Whoopie pies 1.70

Lunch
Soup - Puha and pork

French retro baguettes 4.70
Chicken, salsa verde, brie, rocket
Courgette, gruyere, red peppers, lemon and mustard mayonnaise

Foccacias with sea salt and rosemary crust 4.90
Ham, mature cheddar, cranberry jelly, red onion, rocket
Mushrooms with Welsh rarebit and spinach

Salads 4.90/5.90
Red pomolo, crab, frisee lettuce, pickled horseradish, wasabi dressing
Sauteed rape greens with honey baked tofu
Roasted root parsley

Tart 4.00 or 6.90 with salad
savoury scone with poached pear, cote hill cheese and watercress

13 comments:

  1. Hi Peter,

    I am opening an A1 health concept. I am struggling to understand the grey area of A1 premises. Can you poach/fry an egg? Are you allowed to have a stove? Any knowledge regarding A1 and advise you can give, I will be extremely grateful.

    Best wishes,

    Marina

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  2. Hi Peter, we are currently navigating this area - would you be willing to have an off the record chat about your experiences with the A1/ a3 issue? Would be really useful to get the benefit of your experience / wisdom of course just informally. happy to do so via email / phone / in person as you prefer... many thanks! Sal

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  3. Thank you for this post!!
    Ive tried numerous times to find this out via my council and it seems they know very little about it, so seeing this has been a God send!!

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  4. Thanks for explaining of the topic , it really helpful , thanks again

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  5. Thanks for explaining of the topic , it really helpful , thanks again

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  6. hi I am about to open a coffee shop and want to try and open as a1 licence but I need sound advice about what I can and cant do. could you email me at bradjsmith1973@gmail.com so I can ask a few questions.....please

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  7. Hi, i wanna open a italian Delicatessen in a A1 licensed shop where want to use a electric oven to bake pizzas and warm up paninis as well.. also i need to know about the exhaust for the oven.. do i need to have a license for that as well? Never had a business in my life, therefore i could use all the great knoledge i could get. My email adress is bo1983@hotmail.co.uk. please Help as i am stick, cannot go ahead renting the premises without knowing what am i getting myself into. Much oblidged,
    Bodie.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, i wanna open a italian Delicatessen in a A1 licensed shop where want to use a electric oven to bake pizzas and warm up paninis as well.. also i need to know about the exhaust for the oven.. do i need to have a license for that as well? Never had a business in my life, therefore i could use all the great knoledge i could get. My email adress is bo1983@hotmail.co.uk. please Help as i am stick, cannot go ahead renting the premises without knowing what am i getting myself into. Much oblidged,
    Bodie.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Im Confused im looking for A1 Shop i need an electric oven to bake a few cakes and make my own soup, preeat sandwiches is this under the A1 license? can some one please help me. Can you sen me an email matmatluma@gmail.com Thanks

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  10. can i open rosting coffee shop in A1

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  11. Hi All

    As the article suggests it's all a matter of fact and degree. However, put simply primary cooking (such as frying an egg) is not permitted under A1 planning uses while reheating food prepared off site or assembling sandwiches would be.

    The stance varies from council to Council as well. If you are looking at taking a lease of retail premises and would like an initial chat about things to look out for please get in touch ah@cbglaw.co.uk

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  12. Hi, i wanna open a pizza bar in a A1 licensed shop where want to use a electric oven to bake pizzas and warm up paninis as well.. also i need to know about the exhaust for the oven.. do i need to have a license for that as well? Never had a business in my life, therefore i could use all the great knoledge i could get. My email adress is chakib_chemani@icloud.com. please Help as i am stick, cannot go ahead renting the premises without knowing what am i getting myself into.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looks Delicious! Love breakfast cafes in london to taste, can i have more pics so that i can checkout their website and visit thier patisserie.

    ReplyDelete