It is that time of year to apply for your Off Premises Catering Permit. Applications for these permits, which allow licensees to cater off their licensed premises and serve alcohol, are submitted through the PLCB+ online portal, and come with a $500.00 annual fee. Licensees holding Restaurant, Hotel, Brew Pub, and Eating Place licenses are entitled to apply for an Off Premises Catering Permit, which provides for 52 off premises events per calendar year. No additional fee is required for each catered event once the initial permit is applied for and approved. The Pa.L.C.B. does require notice at least 30 days in advance of each catered event through the PLCB+ portal, unless waived by the Pa.L.C.B. under certain circumstances. The “certain circumstances” are not defined and we recommend that you make every effort to meet the 30-day notice requirement.
Previously, applications were required to be filed before March 1 in order to be effective for that calendar year. As a result of new Act 39, the Pa.L.C.B. now has the discretion to allow a permit after the March 1st deadline if the licensee is in good standing with the board and complies with all other requirements of the off premises catering permit. Under these circumstances, the permit must be applied for at least 60 days prior to the first catered function. Regardless, we always recommend filing in December, because that allows the most flexibility to use your 52 permits. Keep in mind that these permits run from January 1 through December 31 and DO NOT follow your license period.
You should take into consideration that Off Premises Catering Permits are utilized for catering to an identifiable group, not necessarily the general public. This nuance is not clearly defined by the Pa.L.C.B., but any catered function you have should be called an “event”.
Below are important facts to help you decide whether or not an Off Premises Catering Permit is the right fit for you: