Guideline 23: Food courts

For the licensing of food courts a commercial other (subsidiary on-premises) licence is appropriate.

Criteria for licensing

  1. The licensee must meet the principal activity required under the licence - that is, the provision of meals prepared and served to be eaten on the licensed premises. The licensee may not rely solely on the preparation of meals by another outlet operator to meet the basic criteria for licensing.
  2. A licence may not be granted where the licensee is the head lessor and each of the food outlets is sub-leased. This would be a breach of Section 153 of the Liquor Act.
  3. The operator of other food outlets in the food court may formalise an arrangement with the licensee to enable other patrons to consume liquor in the food court. The minimum arrangement required would be a catering agreement between the licensee and the other food outlet operator/s. All outlets covered by the contract will be included as part of the approved licensed premises. Any catering agreement must include:
    • the maintenance of food hygiene standards; and
    • that the outlet will form part of the licensed premises and that the operator authorises access to investigators of the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation in pursuit of their duties under the Liquor Act, including access to records of food sales as part of any investigation relating to the provision of meals to meet the principal activity of the licence.


Prior to any approval for the conduct of entertainment within the licensed area by the licensee, the approval in writing from the centre management and each of the other food outlets in the food court must be provided. Written agreement by each of these parties to the provision of entertainment must detail the nature and style of entertainment which may be provided.

Licensed area

The licensed area must include the liquor service outlet, food preparation area/s and liquor consumption area. It must not include any public thoroughfares. Where a catering agreement has been formalised with other food outlets, each other outlet will become part of the licensed premises.

The licensee must provide evidence of the approval of centre management to the on-going use and segregation of any area proposed to be incorporated as part of the licensed area.

The licensed seating area must be delineated by a permanent fixed structure of at least 1m in height and signposted so as to make it clearly apparent to the public where liquor is to be consumed.

Trading hours

Approved hours of trading will be directly linked to the food court trading hours as specified by centre management. The Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming will not approve trading hours exceeding the ordinary hours for a commercial other (subsidiary on-premises) licence specified under Section 9 of the Liquor Act.

Functions approval

Prior to considering any approval for the use of the licensed area for functions and the subsequent potential for the provision of liquor to non-diners, the licensee must submit to the Commissioner, the approval in writing from the centre management and each of the other food outlets in the food court, whether they form part of the licence or not.

The Commissioner will also consider any submissions received from the operators of any of the food outlets within the food court in relation to the application. In considering the application, the Commissioner will have regard to the mix of other businesses adjoining the food court and any associated impact or foreseeable repercussions in relation to those businesses.

Re-issued 24 January 2013
(Issued 3 September 1997; re-issued 1 November 2001)

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