Franchising out bar operations

This has become a common topic for discussion in golf club meetings over the last few years as the management costs, in time and money, continue to rise. After all, franchising out catering is a common policy in many golf clubs throughout the land, so why not the bar? We take a look at the licensing possibilities for franchising bar operations.

If you have a ‘full on’ or Premises Licence, then the franchising of the bar is fairly straightforward. The club will already have a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) who has a Personal Licence. The DPS has responsibility for the running of the premises and may legally receive a commission, percentage, or similar payment, in return for their services.

If your club has a Club Premises Certificate, then franchising of the bar is not legal under the Licensing Act 2003 which was, incidentally, also illegal under section 41 of the previous Licensing Act 1964. Section 64, of the Licensing Act 2003 has an Additional Condition 2, which is ‘that no arrangements are, or are intended to be, made for any person to receive at the expense of the club any commission, percentage or similar payment on, or with reference to, purchases of alcohol by the club’ either directly or indirectly. Therefore, the franchisee cannot make any benefit from the sale of the club’s alcohol unless they transfer that benefit to the club as a whole. This condition, within the act, will also rule out any bonus scheme for in-house staff based on the sale of alcohol.

A members’ club can apply for a Premises Licence, and it is possible to have more than one licence covering the same premises, with the main benefit being that there are no restrictions on the provision of regulated entertainment (including the sale of alcohol) to the public.

Conversely, some of the benefits of a Club Premises Certificate are that you do not need a DPS with a Personal Licence, a General Closure Order implemented by the police cannot have an effect and there are limited entry rights for the police.

Visit for more information on the different types of alcohol licences available and guidance on how to apply for them.


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