Guideline 55: Commercial other (subsidiary on-premises) licence - café

Liquor Act 1992 - Section 67


This guideline is to inform applicants of the circumstances where the Commissioner will consider granting a licence for a café business.

When a licence for a café may be granted

A commercial other licence may only be granted where the sale of liquor is subsidiary to another activity, matter or service (except for the commercial other bar licence). This activity, matter or service must be, in the Commissioner's opinion, sufficient to ensure the sale of liquor is not the principal activity of the business.

A business which the Commissioner may consider suitable for the grant of a commercial other (subsidiary on-premises) licence is a café. A café business may not be able to meet the requirements of Section 67A where the principal activity of the business is the provision of meals prepared, and served to be eaten, on the licensed premises.

Specifically, the licensee may not be able to prepare meals on the premises as defined under sections 4 (definition of meal) and 10A (when a meal is taken not to have been prepared and served to be eaten on the premises) of the Liquor Act 1992 (the Act). In this regard, 'prepared food' does not have to meet the definition of 'meal' and also does not have to be prepared from its raw ingredients on the premises. The main preparation can occur elsewhere as long as the prepared food undergoes some form of value adding on the premises such as reheating and garnishing before being presented to the customer.

In these circumstances, the Commissioner will consider that the principal activity of a café business is to be the provision of 'prepared food' to be eaten on the premises.

Providing that the sale of liquor is a subsidiary aspect of the business, a café may be granted a licence under this section. This means that the business being conducted at the premises maintains greater sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages (such as coffee) than liquor. The Commissioner, in making a determination of the suitability of the premises to be licensed will take into consideration the type of food to be provided and the layout of the premises.

The business will be required to provide 'prepared food' to be eaten on the premises up to 1 hour before the approved closing time for the sale and/or supply of liquor.

Prepared food means:

  1. a meal
  2. other food usually needing preparation before it can be eaten, but not including snacks, or liquor or other beverages.

Examples of prepared food - burger, falafel, hot potato chips and sandwich.

This definition does not include products such as peanuts, potato chips and chocolate bars.

With respect to the layout of the premises, the Commissioner requires the majority of the premises is set up for the business of a café, including dining and the consumption of non alcoholic beverages such as coffee, which means providing chairs and tables where customers may be seated to eat and/or drink. This area may include lounges and coffee table style seating. Further, the Commissioner considers that cutlery, menus on tables and table numbers, which are attributed to licensees under Section 67A of the Act, namely restaurants, are not required.

The sale and supply of 1 opened and 1 unopened bottle of wine for consumption off the premises to each adult consumer eating a meal does not apply to the business of a café with the principal activity of the provision of prepared food.

The Commissioner will not issue a licence as outlined above, if it is considered the intended operation of the business is principally for the sale of liquor.

Re-issued 18 July 2017

(Issued 23 May 2013)

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