Footpath dining

Council is required to monitor the standard of operations in food premises that provide footpath/roadside dining.  Council regulates footpath/roadside dining is to ensure these activities are carried out in a safe manner for diners and pedestrians.  Compliance with Council's requirements will assist you in providing a safe footpath/roadside dining environment for your customers.

Do I need an approval?

Who needs an approval?

If your business provides tables or chairs on public land for outdoor dining you require an approval from Council.

Who does not need an approval?

If your food business provides tables and chairs for outdoor dining on private land you do not require an approval from Council.

Before you start

If you are starting a new footpath dining activity, taking over or making changes to an existing approval, you will need to consider planning and building approvals.

Planning approval

Your first step when starting a footpath dining activity is to check if you need planning approval. 

Council’s planning scheme guides how land can be used and developed, including footpaths owned by Council and footpaths on private land.

Footpath dining may need planning approval for these activities:

  • starting a new footpath dining activity
  • re-establishing footpath dining that has been abandoned
  • changing the intensity of existing footpath dining (e.g. increasing the number of tables and chairs)
  • changing the scale of an existing business (e.g. increasing the area of footpath dining)
  • building work (e.g. permanently installing awnings, tables, bollards, or umbrellas).

To find out if you need to submit a development application, you can:

  • lodge an enquiry with Council
  • arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with Council
  • engage a town planning consultant registered with the Planning Institute of Australia 
  • self-assess your property details against Council’s planning scheme.

You can access Council’s planning scheme using PD Online.

Building approval

Building work for footpath dining may include:

  • making alterations to, or permanently installing items on the footpath (e.g. tables, bollards, umbrellas, planter boxes)
  • building additional structures such as shade awnings.

All building work is assessed against the building assessment provisions (including, but not limited to, the National Construction Code and the Queensland Development Code) which set the minimum requirements for building structure, fire safety, access and egress, health and amenity, and energy efficiency.

To find out if you need building approval or building certification, you can:

How to apply

Applications can be submitted (with the relevant fee) in person at Council offices or by surface mail.

The applicant for a licence must be a legal entity (e.g. person/s or a company.  Note - a trust name, business name or shop name is not a legal entity and cannot be the licence holder).

A new application is not required for minor changes (e.g. a change of contact details). Contact Council for these changes. Find out how to make other types of changes to an existing licence in this section.

Use this information to assist you in ensuring your application is complete and to consider other applications that may be required for your business.

Forms

Footpath dining application forms are available from Council.

Plans

Tables and chairs on the footpath must be set out in accordance with Council requirements.

To assess the suitability of your premises, you are required to submit the following with your application.

1. A plan of the layout to a suitable scale (e.g. 1:100) showing intended location of:

  • tables
  • chairs
  • all equipment (including heaters, fans, barriers, signs, planter boxes, benches and storage cupboards).

      Your plan should include:

  • a clear pedestrian thoroughfare
  • site boundaries, outlines of buildings and the use of the adjoining properties
  • an outline of the area intended to be used (including its size)
  • the position of screens, permanent fixtures (such as umbrellas and awnings), and any other fixtures
  • the access and exit points of the building near the intended footpath dining area
  • details of any loading zones, bus zones, trees, planter boxes, fire hydrants, transformers, telephone booths, mail boxes, bus seats and shelters, rubbish bins, pillars, posts and other obstructions
  • the distance of the nearest residential premises and the distance to the closest bus stop (if located within 20 metres of a bus zone).

      You can view an example plan (DOC, 626 KB) for footpath dining.

2. Coloured photographs or brochures of the furniture, accessories or fittings you intend to place on the footpath.

3. Coloured photograph/s of the site frontage of the area.

Application process - new

This process is for starting a new footpath dining activity.

You must ensure the site has relevant planning and building approval before you submit a footpath dining application.

  • Submit your footpath dining application and plans using the approved form. You are responsible for ensuring the application is complete.
  • Council will process your application within the legislative or agreed timeframe. Council will contact you should additional information be required to process the application.
  • Council may inspect the premises before making a decision.
  • When Council approves your application, you can commence business in accordance with the approved conditions.

Application process - taking over

This process is for taking over an existing footpath dining activity.

You may apply for a search for information on the current footpath dining activity and the conditions of approval. This process may require written permission from the vendor.

  • Submit your footpath dining application and plans using the approved form. You are responsible for ensuring the application is complete.
  • Council will process your application within the legislative or agreed timeframe. Council will contact you should additional information be required to process the application.
  • Council may inspect the premises before making a decision.
  • When Council approves your application, you can commence business in accordance with the approved conditions.

Application process - making changes

This process is for making changes to an existing footpath dining licence.

Expanding the size of your footpath dining area could change current planning and building approvals. Contact Council to discuss any changes to your business prior to commencing work.

  • Submit your footpath dining application and plans using the approved form. You are responsible for ensuring the application is complete.
  • Council will process your application within the legislative or agreed timeframe. Council will contact you should additional information be required to process the application.
  • Council may inspect the premises before making a decision.
  • When Council approves your amendment application, you can then commence business in accordance with the amended conditions.

Renewal

If you need to amend any details on your approval or require a copy of your approval, contact Council.

A notice will be sent prior to the expiration of your current approval.

Other approvals

Advertising signs licence

Some Councils have rules about the type and location of any advertising signs for businesses. Depending on the type of advertising sign, you may need to obtain a licence. Find out more about advertising signs.

Food business licence

Most food businesses need to have a licence. Find out more about food business licences.

Liquor licence

If you intend to sell or serve alcohol on the premises you will need to apply for a liquor licence. Visit the Business Queensland website for information on liquor licences.

Public liability insurance

You must take out public liability insurance to a minimum value of $10 million and name Council as an interested party. A copy of this document must be submitted before your application is given approval.

You should also research all options regarding your other business insurance requirements.

Inspections, complaints and enforcement of footpath dining

It is the responsibility of you and your staff to ensure compliance with all legislation relevant to footpath dining.

Legislation relevant to footpath dining includes:

Inspections

Council is required to monitor the standard of operations in businesses with footpath dining and this is achieved through a regular inspection program.

Complaints

Council has a duty to investigate and respond to complaints received.

A complaint may result in an inspection of your premises to ensure you are complying with the legislation.

Enforcement

If you are providing footpath dining, you must have current approval and comply with all relevant legislation.

Failure to comply with Councils requirements may result in one or more of the following enforcement actions:

  • a letter being issued requiring action or work to be conducted
  • a legal notice being issued requiring action to be taken or work to be conducted
  • prescribed infringement notice (PIN) or on-the-spot fine
  • suspension of an approval
  • cancellation of an approval
  • seizure of footpath dining items
  • prosecution.