WSLCB just issued a Notice of Rule Making that will amend rules that apply to retail licensees. While some of the proposed changes are organizational in nature – moving provisions from one chapter to another – there are a few key changes that restaurants should take note of. These changes will likely raise questions that will need to be resolved during the rulemaking process. The following reference the proposed text sections:

  • The provision that allows restaurants to exclude minors from the premises during certain periods is removed – does this mean that minors must either always or never be excluded from a premises/area? WAC 314-02-030
  • The description of “premises” for on-premises retailers (restaurant, bar, etc) includes the building in which the retail business is located – does this mean that if a restaurant is located in mall, the entire mall is the retail premises? WAC 314-02-010(16)
  • The number of complete meals a spirits, beer and wine restaurant licensee must make available increases from four (4) to eight (8). WAC 314-05-035(1)
  • Outside of the mandatory food service hours, a spirits, beer and wine restaurant must have certain foods available, and this list is expanded to include appetizers, salads, soups, and pizza. WAC 314-02-010(2), (11); 314-02-035
  • WSLCB clarifies that all meals must be prepared on-site – no reheated or pre-cooked meals are allowed. WAC 314-02-035(1)(b)
  • A “complete meal” can include hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, or fry orders (those are not included under the current rule)
  • Beer and wine restaurants are required to operate five hours a day, five days a week (currently, no hourly requirements)

WSLCB is currently taking comments on the proposed rules. It is important to read these carefully and respond with any questions or concerns, as there can be implications for the industry that are not immediately recognized by the drafters. WSLCB welcomes the comments, and is open to revisions that are supported by law. You can find the details on how to respond here – comments are due by November 10, 2010. A public hearing will then be set, where you can voice any concerns in person.