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Late night refreshment

Supplying hot food or hot drink to the public for consumption on or off the premises between 11pm and 5am is a licensable activity. Please apply for a premises licence or temporary event notice.

Definition of hot

Food or drink is defined as hot if:

  • the temperature of the food / drink is above ambient air temperature;
  • it is heated on the premises or elsewhere before it is supplied to the public.

'Supply' not 'Sale'

The licensable activity is the 'supply' of hot food or hot drink.

Supply is the time that you hand over the food to a customer. Please do not confuse this to the sale when you take the order and receive payment.

Please make sure that you take into account:

  • when you take your last orders;
  • how long it takes to cook so that you are not breaching the legislation;
  • time is takes to package the food;
  • the time when you hand over the hot food or hot drink;
  • that you apply correctly for the hours that you want to licence (between 11pm and 5am);
  • whether you supply the hot food or hot drink on or off (please see the definitions on takeaways and restaurants).


Vending machines are exempt if customers can help themselves to hot drinks only. Staff canteens, campsites, hotels and guesthouses are exempt.


If you want to operate as a takeaway after 11pm then the late night refreshment is to supply the food for the customer to take 'off' the premises. If you have an area inside which allows for customer to consume food on the premises then you may need to tick both 'on and off' the premises.


At a restaurant you supply the food 'on' the premises but if you also provide a takeaway service then you will need to tick 'both'.


For more information contact Licensing Unit by telephone: Licensing Services - 01634 337107 or 337108 / Enforcement - 01634 337112 or 337106 or by email: licensing@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR