Hi Ozmandos-ga and thanks for your question. As usual, this answer is
not a substitute for formal professional legal advice. I believe your
question was truncated, so I have reposted your original question,
which went unanswered, here for completeness.
I am thinking of opening up a Fondue restaurant in London and would
like to know the following:
1) Information on the legal requirements to operate a thermostatically
controlled Fondue set on each table in the restaurant?
2) A list of my competitors here in the UK, I know of the big brand in
the US, The Melting Pot.
3) Business that could help designing and/or fitting the fondue set's
in. (I?m after a fondue set in each table in the restaurant)
4) Commercial property estate agents in the Essex, Kent or London area.
5) A list of wine/champagne distributors in the UK
6) Any more information on Fondues that you think could come in use.
I was first introduced to fondue by some friends a couple of years
ago, and was instantly hooked. I applaud your effort to start a
restaurant with this theme!
Let me first note that many of the UK websites below consider a
restaurant business a subset of catering, and, therefore, one must
often use the term "catering" rather than "restaurant" in searches of
the various databases. I've tried to round up the information most
relevant and specific for a new restaurant of the type you describe.
(1) Legal requirements to operate a thermostatically controlled fondue set...
An excellent place to start learning about the whole legal process of
starting a new restaurant in the UK is the following free 28 page
Industry Guide from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), titled
"Starting Up: Your First Steps to Running a Catering Business." The
full PDF document can be found here:
This document outlines and describes, in laymen's terms, the
step-by-step requirements for opening a new restaurant. Furthermore,
the Guide has many links, addresses, and phone numbers for more
In regard to your particular question, this Guide discusses fire safety:
"You must carry out a fire risk assessment at your premises and take
fire safety precautions to help protect you, your staff and customers.
The type of precautions you must have will depend on a number of
things, such as the size of your premises. For advice, contact your
local fire authority. If you are planning to adapt premises, it is a
good idea to get fire safety advice before you start the work. For
more information, see Fire safety: An employer?s guide. You can view
this publication online on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister?s
(ODPM) website (www.odpm.gov.uk), or order it from HSE (Health and
Safety Executive) Books at www.hsebooks.co.uk or on 01787 881165."
Perhaps relevant to your query is the following document summarizing
the recommended precautions for manually ignited gas-fired catering
This document would be most relevant if you plan to use any
gas-powered heat source to warm the fondue or cook items in a kitchen
Also of interest is this index of health and safety guidance in the
catering industry, also from the HSE:
The full text of the BS6173 requirements for installation of
gas-powered appliances can be found here:
The applicability of these requirements to your proposed restaurant
would of course depend on the specific design of the fondue warmers
(e.g., very applicable if they employ some central gas-powered heat
Food Temperature Requirements
In the UK, the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) publishes
information regarding legal requirements for food temperatures in the
Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 2200
The Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995
A print version of this document (ISBN 0110533836) is also available
for purchase at this site:
These regulations were brought before Parliament on August 23, 1995
and enacted on September 15, 1995.
Part II of the above document deals with temperature control
requirements in England and Wales:
" 8. No person shall in the course of the activities of a food
business keep any food which?
(a) has been cooked or reheated;
(b) is for service or on display for sale; and
(c) needs to be kept hot in order to control the growth of pathogenic
micro-organisms or the formation of toxins, at or in food premises at
a temperature below 63°C."
This information is reiterated in the FSA Guide previously mentioned:
"When you are keeping cooked food hot, you must keep it above 63 ?C.
When you are serving or displaying food, it can be below 63 ?C for a
maximum of two hours. But you can only do this once. Then you must
throw the food away, or cool it as quickly as possible and keep it
chilled until it is used."
The FSA Guide also summarizes the SI 1995 regulations on keeping stored foods cool:
"Cold food must be kept at 8 ?C or below, under the Food Safety
(Temperature Control) Regulations 1995. In practice, the coldest part
of your fridge should be between 0 ?C and 5 ?C to make sure that food
is kept cold enough. Use a fridge thermometer to check regularly that
your fridge and any display units are cold enough."
Food safety regulations are summarized in this brochure, based on
these 1995 Regulations.
Displays (prices, etc.)
The UK requires that menus be accurate and that VAT (Value Added Tax)
be collected if appropriate. Pages 17-18 of the FSA Guide above gives
more details on determining whether or not VAT collection is required
and what details about prices, genetically modified ingredients, etc.
Perhaps nothing accompanies a nice fondue better than a glass of wine
or champagne. To learn more about selling alcohol at a restaurant in
the UK, see Page 18 of the FSA Guide. Licenses are issued by
licensing judges at your local magistrate court.
Pages 23-24 of the FSA Guide provide many additional resources and
contacts for further information.
A general overview of fire safety and the process of a fire risk
assessment is given is a guide from the HSE.
A comprehensive source of information can be found on this topic from
the London Fire Brigade.
The steps in a fire risk assessment are detailed here:
Tenos Fire and Engineering Consultants have put together a very
helpful (8 page!) checklist table for compliance with UK fire
regulations, which you can download here:
Other General Health and Safety Law Resources
There are a host of other regulations to consider. The FSA Guide is
probably the best way to navigate the system. I would also suggest
some professional assistance to ensure that you are in compliance with
the most recent regulations at each step of the process. The
following resources should be helpful through the process of
establishing a new restaurant.
The UK Health and Safety Executive page dealing with catering and
hospitality provides links to many useful brochures and pamphlets on
many aspects of catering, which apply to the restaurant business.
Another good overview, other than the FSA Guide mentioned above, is
this shorter brochure summarizing the main health and safety laws for
catering in the UK:
Recent publications from the UK HSE can be found here, arranged by
date of publication. These documents cover the entire range of
activities that the HSE is involved in, and are not all relevant to
the catering and restaurant business.
You can also look for HSE documents from their main publication site,
searching by industry, health & safety topic, or tools (or by
One can perform an advanced search of the Deputy Prime Minister's
document archive from here (the link is invisible or at least
difficult to see on their main page):
Many useful, very readable guides can be found here:
Information on health inspections can be found here:
The main Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) deals with
The Brent Council has a potentially helpful page on building
regulations, however all of the ODPM document links on this page
appear to be broken. I list the page because of the potential for
frustration if you were to happen upon it on your own, but couldn't
follow the links. The page does have a brief description of each
The Brent Council also offers this brief description of where the
Approved Documents fit into the regulation schema:
"The Building Regulations are supported by Approved Documents, which
indicate how compliance with the Regulations may be achieved.
Alternative methods to demonstrate compliance are available."
The British Hospitality Association has a sub-organization for restaurants.
2) A list of my competitors here in the UK...
If you don't know about it already, you may want to check out the St.
Moritz fondue shop in London.
Google Local now covers the UK. A simple search through this tool
gives the following page of shops in London that offer fondue,
complete with map:
A few of these are actually false hits (such as the photography shop
that comes up simply because the contact has an e-mail that contains
the word "fondue"), but the list is good overall. This list includes
traditional cheese fondue as well as chocolate.
Here is a somewhat more selective listing:
Clicking on "Restaurants - Specialty" on the last linked page will
limit this listing further.
3) Business that could help designing and/or fitting the fondue set's
Given the potential for fire from such a set-up, I would probably
focus on this aspect initially. One of the consulting firms I listed
above (Tenos Fire and Engineering Consultants) works on projects
minimizing fire hazard to comply with UK fire regulations (fire safety
15 Bowling Green Lane
Telephone: 08700 780 580
Fax: 020 7490 7720
Here are some other restaurant design consulting and custom furniture
firms who may also be able to handle this type of job:
The Bentheim group has designed multiple UK restaurants, including
interior design. They would likely be able to handle this type of
3 Rosetti Studios
72 Flood Street
London SW3 4TF
Tel:+44 (0)20 7376 3427
Fax:+44 (0)20 7376 3428
t. 44 (0)1492 535147
Contract Chairs (they also do tables, etc.)
Tel: ++44 (0)1253 600600
Fax: ++44 (0)1253 792211
a division of Febland Group Ltd.
Margolis Office Interiors Ltd
341 Euston Road
London NW1 3AD
Tel: 020 7387 8217
Fax:020 7388 0625
Satelliet UK Ltd
telephone +44 (0) 1420 548170
Here is the Yahoo Business to Business listing for furniture in the UK:
4) Commercial property [real] estate agents in the Essex, Kent and London areas.
There are obviously a large number of commercial property agents in
the London area. Here is a brief list and links to other listings:
10 Gees Court, St Christopher`s Place
London, UK, W1U 1JJ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7499 5051 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7499 5055
Goldenburg Real Estate
39 Bruton Place, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6LF, UK - View Map
Phone +44 (0) 20 7491 4101
Fax +44 (0) 20 7491 0809
A much longer listing can be found in the Google directory:
A Google Local listing of commercial real estate brokers in London:
You will need to click on each region of Essex for a listing and map.
You will need to click on each region of Kent for a listing and map.
5) A list of wine/champagne distributors in the UK...
Here is a listing of distributors around the London area:
A cleaner list can be found here, from the Google directory:
Another useful resource is the International Beverage Network, which
includes a large variety of companies involved in the wine industry
around the world, including growers, wholesalers, breweries, wineries,
agents and brokers, etc. Their database can be searched free of
charge from their home page.
6) Any more information on Fondues that you think could come in use...
Gourmet Sleuth has some basic information on fondue, as well as some
recipes, history of fondue, etc.
The Google directory listing for fondue can be found here:
The Melting Pot, reportedly the largest fondue restaurant franchise in
the country (around 85 outlets), recently turned 30. An announcement
can be found here:
Their site is here:
The Monroe Times (Mike Leverton) recently reported on the world's
largest fondue, which I believe is a traveling event.
Here are some online fondue menus from various fondue restaurants to
perhaps help stimulate some creative recipe planning.
I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to ask for
clarification. Best of luck in your endeavor to start a new
restaurant. Cooking is truly a form of art.