Pub Price Lists

Every pub has to display a price list in a area accessible by the public and the list must be easily readable. There are regulations which cover what the price list should contain.

It is a legal requirement that an up to date price list for your drinks should be on display for all to see at all times.

Requirements of the list:

  • The list must easily read.
  • The list must be up to date.
  • The prices must displayed inclusive of any VAT.
  • The price of each quantity where different quantities are not priced proportionately e.g. if the price of a double whisky is not twice the price of a single measure must be displayed.
  • The quantity, if the drink is sold by quantity e.g. “25ml of gin” or “1/2 pint of beer” ¬†or “175ml wine”

How many prices must be displayed?

Wine to be drunk with food: You must give the price of at least six different wines. If you offer less than six you must give the price of each.

If you offer two or more different reds, whites or roses, you must list the prices of at least two of each type (if you offer only one, you must display its price).

Food and Drink Pricing

If the prices are not divided up into obvious groups e.g. beers, spirits, mixers etc then you must show the prices of at least 30 items. If there are less than 30 items then you must give the price of every item

If the price is divided into groups, then you must give the price of at least 5 items in each group. If there are less than 5 items in a group then you must give the price of each one.

You are required to show a full menu near at the entrance to any area where the food is to be served so if you own a pub restaurant or allow food to be consumed throughout your premises then you need a full menu displayed outside your premises or very close to your entrance doors.

If you have a separate dining area from your drinking area then the menu needs to be displayed near the entrance to the dining area. The purpose is to allow the customer to know what they likely to pay for their meal.

Service charges should be clearly stated on the menu. If it is ‘discretionary’ or ‘suggested’ it is up to the customer as to whether they pay it.

Tips and gratuities

Tips and gratuities are voluntary payments a customer gives, over and above the amount of the bill and any service charge. They are a personal reward from the customer to the worker. Usually, tips are cash, whereas gratuities (or card tips) are payments made electronically through a card terminal. It is up to each business to decide if tips and gratuities are treated differently.

Cover charge

A cover charge is a fixed charge per customer which is usually mandatory. This means you have to pay it. Tariffs (such as price lists) or, in the case of food led pubs, menus must state any mandatory charges

Food Descriptions

How you describe your food is also important any weights stated must be achieved and the description must not be misleading. If you offer an 8oz steak then you must provide an 8oz steak (even after cooking) selling anything less might lead to prosecution and the charge of “selling food not a described” which if reported in the papers could sound a lot worse than what it actually was. This is why most steaks/burgers are described as “uncooked weight”.

Another example of a food description to avoid using might be “Melton Mowbray Pork Pie “, when you are using a food supplier’s generic pork pie, as the description implies that the pork pie is from Melton Mowbray, when it isn’t. How you describe scampi is also one to watch, to be true scampi it must be whole tail scampi. In short, as with most things, honesty is the best policy.

Home Made

Avoid describing you food as home made if it is not home made and never apply the word fresh to anything that has been frozen or canned.

To meet the requirements to be able to describe any menu item as “Home Made” the item must be prepared and cooked on the premises almost entirely from scratch. you may be able to describe a lasagne as home made if the meat sauce is prepared on the premises but prepared pasta sheets are used. The meat sauce is the main part of the dish in this case and the pasta is not the main part of the dish. You cannot take a bought in frozen lasagne that either needs just micro-waving or full baking and nothing more and call it homemade.

Allergies, Food Intolerances & GM Food

Your menus should also carry warnings about nut and other allergies or intolerances and a statement with regards to your use genetically modified food. Nothing will spoil your day quicker than a customer with a nut allergy going into anaphylactic shock from eating your Nasi Goreng! Important new legislation is coming into force in December 2014 so check out the article on Food Allergy.

Suitable for Vegetarians

Be careful when stating an item is suitable for vegetarians or not, for instance a Sunday Roast offering a Nut roast might think be suitable for vegetarians but have roasted the potatoes in vegetable oil or have you used animal fats such as lard or beef dripping or duck/goose fat and is the gravy free from all animal products?

Passing Off

Back in the 80’s there was also a big thing made about “passing off” this is passing off one product as another, for instance, a customer asks for coke and you give them Pepsi that is regarded as passing off because the coke and the Pepsi are the brand part of the drinks name. Cola being the drinks actual title. Another well known example is Bacardi is probably the best know white rum, but if you’re using another brand then you can’t offer a Bacardi & Coke if it’s another white rum. You can’t offer Haagen Daz ice cream if it’s Walls. If your price lists and menus state a specific brand then that brand should always be supplied.


If you sell cocktails which contain three or more liquids (water is not counted as one of these liquids) then you do not have to measure any of the four spirits normally required to be measured  (Whisky, Gin, Vodka and Rum) unless you state the individual measure size for the ingredients of the cocktail on the price list. If you do, then must supply the measure stated.

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