What Class Of Use Is A Restaurant (UK)?

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What class of use is a restaurant in the UK? This is a question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. The classification of a restaurant can depend on a variety of factors, including the type of food served, the size and location of the establishment, and how it’s marketed. In this post, we’ll explore the different classes of usage for restaurants in the UK and what that means for your business. Keep reading to learn more!

General Use

When looking at a restaurant’s class of use, it is important to distinguish between general usage and the more specific restrictions placed on restaurants for sale or leaseholds. Generally speaking, most restaurants in the UK are classified as Use Class A3 – this covers businesses that primarily serve food and beverages for consumption on the premises. This includes pubs, cafes and takeaways; however, it does not include those that may offer live entertainment or provide services such as hairdressing or beauty treatments (in which case they would be allocated as different classes).

In addition to this broad definition, there may be more specific requirements depending on the type of establishment you’re running. For example, cafes will often require additional permissions if they intend to offer outdoor seating. Similarly, restaurants must have the necessary licence to serve alcohol and may need additional clearance for live entertainment or late night openings.

Restaurants For Sale

When it comes to selling a restaurant, the use class can be an important factor in determining its value. This is because special restrictions can apply when selling a business that has A3 classification – for example, planning permission will typically be required before the sale is legally binding. Additionally, local authorities may impose limits on how long you can hold a license for your establishment (which could reduce the potential resale value). As such, it’s important that you are aware of these regulations prior to listing your property in order to ensure you get the best possible outcome from the sale.


When it comes to leaseholds, the class of use can dictate what type of business you can run in the property. For example, an A3-classified restaurant may not be able to operate as a nightclub or bar without first obtaining permission from the landlord. Additionally, if you’re leasing an existing restaurant that’s already been allocated to a specific use class, any changes you make must adhere to this classification – even if they are temporary in nature (such as seasonal adjustments).


In conclusion, the class of use plays an important role in determining how your restaurant operates and is valued within the UK market. It’s important to research local regulations and check with your landlord before making any changes to ensure that your business is compliant with the relevant requirements. By doing so, you’ll be able to run a successful restaurant that meets all of the necessary criteria and ensures it will have maximum value when it comes time to sell.



Related FAQs

General use applies to businesses that offer food and beverages for consumption on the premises, such as pubs, cafes and takeaways. Restaurants for sale are subject to additional restrictions when it comes to planning permission and local authorities may also impose limits on how long you can hold a license for your establishment.  
If you want to offer outdoor seating at your cafe, then you will need to obtain additional permissions from your local authority. This could include planning permission or a licence depending upon the size of your space, the number of people you intend to have seated and the type of furniture that you plan to use.  
Yes, if you want to serve alcohol at your restaurant then you will need to obtain an appropriate licence from your local authority. This could involve submitting various forms for approval, as well as undergoing checks by representatives from both the police and Trading Standards offices.  
Generally speaking, yes – however it is important that you check with your local authority beforehand in order to ensure that all necessary permissions are granted. In some cases, additional clearances may be needed in order to host live entertainment and late night openings.  
Yes – depending on your local authority, certain types of food may or may not be allowed. For example, some areas may have strict regulations on what types of meat can be served due to religious reasons, while other regions may require that all dishes are prepared in accordance with national health regulations.  
If you want to change the use class on a property then you will need to apply for permission from your local authority. This will involve providing detailed information about your plans, as well as any necessary fees for the application.  
No – it is not possible to change the use class of a restaurant without permission from the landlord. This is because such changes may affect their ability to lease out or sell the property in future, and therefore they need to be involved in any decision-making process.  
Yes – restaurants with A4 classification generally require planning permission prior to opening. This could involve filing various forms and undergoing checks by representatives from your local authority in order to make sure that your proposed business will comply with all relevant regulations.  
Yes – it is important that you seek advice from your local authority prior to making any major changes, as such changes could require additional permissions or clearances in order for them to be implemented.  
Generally speaking, changing the use class of a property can have a significant impact on its value – both positively and negatively. If the new use is likely to bring more customers or increased profits then this can increase the value of the property, whereas if the new use is likely to reduce profits then this may lead to a decrease in value.      

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