News Pop Ups - Profitable or Packed with Pitfalls?

A guide to the law relating to 'Pop Up' restaurants

  • Date: 16 June 2011



The propensity towards pop up restaurants is increasing. They are used at festivals and can also be used at other significant outdoor events where large turn outs are expected. They involve essentially the use of a temporary structure for a relatively short space of time offering the usual range of food and beverages that one would expect from a normal restaurant.

The simple fact is, however, that whilst they may be temporary in nature they will nonetheless be regulated by the very same regimes which apply to normal restaurants. The main ones can be summarised as follows:


1. Licensing - the sale of alcohol particularly but also the sale of hot food between 11pm and 5am or indeed any form of regulated entertainment (ignoring background music) will require licensing from the Local Authority. This would probably be in the form of a Temporary Event Notice with a Council fee of ?21 for the privilege. 10 clear working days notice must obviously been given of such an application to make sure that the ability to carry out licensable activities is achieved.

The general licensing laws will also apply. This means strict adherence to rules on selling alcohol to underage persons to people who have had too much to drink and to compliance with terms of the permission. Penalties for breach can be high and run into thousands of pounds in terms of fines in the Magistrates Court. This means that properly trained staff must be used so that if something does go wrong a due diligence defence is at least a possibility.

2. Health & Safety - the usual rules will apply in terms of the carrying out of risk assessments and again the training of staff to make sure that they are not endangering themselves in the use of hot and potentially dangerous kitchen equipment, is the most obvious example. Again breach of the legislation can lead to very high fines in the Magistrates Court and indeed the Crown Court.

3. Food Safety - a system of hazard analysis will have to be in place in the same way as it would in a restaurant. This will identify the stages during the delivery, storage, cooking and service processes which carry risks associated with customers health. These must be identified and minimised. Staff again will have to be trained in this regard because penalties can once again be very high.


All of this means that the overheads for a fairly short period of time will be very high. The cost of compliance cannot be spread over a long period of time as they would with a normal restaurant. For this reason, these sorts of temporary structures are normally used for marketing purposes rather than as a serious method of generating profit.

As with all aspects of licensing law and regulatory compliance, we are able to advise and assist.


For more information please contact Graeme Cushion