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Clarification on table service from BEIS

We have been asking the questions you have put to us on table service, specifically – does the table service requirement apply to individual food businesses in a food court who are essentially providing a takeaway; and if they’re takeaways, can customers use communal seating?

Here is the answer we have received:

A business offering food to be consumed in nearby outdoor communal seating must take reasonable steps to ensure that customers remain seated while they consume the food or drink. The regulations do not require table service (if the business does not serve alcohol) but the obligation that customers remain seated applies to adjacent or nearby seating as if customers had remained on the same premises. If the seating area is indoors, then food could be sold on a takeaway basis only and the seating area would need to be closed.

In the case of a motorway service station, adjacent seating is not considered to be part of the premises of the food business and as such the obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that customers remain seated while they consume the food or drink does not apply unless the premises is serving alcohol for consumption on the premises.