On September 22, 2014, the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly promulgated the (Pilot) Administrative Measures for the Operation of the Food and Beverage Enterprises (hereinafter, the "Measures"), which came into effect on November 1, 2014.
The Measures give a specific definition of "the operating activities of food and beverage enterprises," which specifically refers to acts of operation conducted with regard to consumers by providing food and consumption premises and facilities through real-time production of finished or semi-finished goods, commercial sales and service-oriented labor and is not only merely limited to high-end restaurants. The Measures specifically require that food and beverage associations shall guide food and beverage operators to conserve resources and resist wastefulness by methods such as formulating industry conventions.
The Measures prohibit for the first time "the minimum consumption set by food and beverage operators." Such requirement that prohibits the imposition of minimum consumption not only safeguards the freedom and fair rights of the consumers when they consume foods and beverages but also effectively carries out the function of resource conservation and prevention of wastefulness.
Also, the Measures provide that food and beverage operators conducting promotional activities shall disclose details about the promotion, including the reasons, manners, rules and period of promotion as well as the scope of promotional products and relevant restrictive terms.
In addition, the Measures also specifically stipulate the relevant legal measures that can be taken against food and beverage operators for violation of the Measures. In case of available laws and regulations, commerce authorities may request relevant authorities to impose penalties pursuant to law. In the absence of such laws and regulations, commerce authorities will demand rectification within a specified period. In the event of illegal proceeds, a fine of up to three times the illegal proceeds may be imposed to the extent that such fine does not exceeds RMB30,000. In the absence of illegal proceeds, a fine of up to RMB10,000 may be imposed. In the case of a suspected criminal offense, the offender may be referred to judicial authorities for handling pursuant to law.