Starting a Food Business in Singapore

Staff Writer

January 7, 2022

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How to Start a Food Business in Singapore

Two decades ago, Singapore first earned the well-deserved reputation of the food capital of the world. Even today, it lives up to its name as evidenced by the treasure of exotic and eclectic Asian cuisines that it dishes up for its spellbound tourists in troves.

Let's also consider the fact that Singapore is home to more restaurants serving both local and international delicacies to the more discerning gourmands. There is also this thriving community of immigrants who work and live in this dazzling city which further makes it an ideal place for starting your own restaurant. Here is how you can do it:

Things To Remember

The cosmopolitan population and thriving food and beverage business of Singapore have attracted many aspiring entrepreneurs to start their eateries. However, things have not been quite hunky dory for them. By default, the food and beverage business can be challenging.

Apart from the initial investment and hard work needed to set up a restaurant, there is also the stiff competition from other establishments to consider. Costs on rents, salaries and materials and ingredients can be high in Singapore, again due to the existing demand from other restaurants. It would be good to bear these in mind and make a good start.

The Basic Formalities

Remember that not all legalities for company incorporation will be necessary for you to comply with. The most basic requirement you will need is food safety, and your food establishment must comply with the regulations set in the Environmental Public Health Act, and the Food Safety Act, which mandates that food businesses and food caterers must abide by a set of hygiene and food safety measures in order to serve food.

Among other basic formalities is the incorporation of your restaurant business. food businesses in Singapore are overseen by the Accounting Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore, as these are still categorised as companies.

  • Incorporation: First of all, you need to register your restaurant as a company. The application for incorporating a restaurant is processed usually within 15 minutes after the company name and application fee have been paid.
    This is reasonably quick but remember that if your application needs to be referred to a different agency for approval, it could be anything between 14 days and 2 months. The standard fee for name approval would be around S$15 and the standard registration fee would be S$300. Legal and professional fees are not included.
  • Business Registration: The second step is to register with the Central Provident Fund. This can be initiated online and it would get approved within a couple of weeks at most.
  • Get Licences: The next step in company incorporation is to apply for a Food Shop Licence which is issued by the National Environment Agency. The application will take a couple of months to be processed and approved. An annual fee of S$195 should be paid for the same.
    Apart from the Food Shop License issued to food retail outlets, you will need a Food Hygiene Officer Certificate that states your food shop premises are up to standard. This is a must for every restaurant business, food stall, and even food factories in Singapore.

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Hygiene Training For Handlers

Since you will be needing food handlers in your restaurant, Basic Food Hygiene Training needs to be conducted for them. It will include a schedule of 6 hours of course work and an eventual assessment of 1 and a half hours for each worker.

The basic fee for this comprehensive course of hygienic handling would be S$150. It would give you a definite edge as a professional establishment in Singapore. Food service establishments are required to provide their employees with official training regarding hygiene and food safety.

If food sold in the stall are considered Halal, then you will need Halal certification for the food, premises, and training for employees as well as they must have knowledge of Halal food before serving Halal customers.

Optional Licences

Once you have sorted out these basic formalities, you will need to apply for other licences only if you need them. Here is a look at some of the optional permits:

  • S Pass for hiring foreign immigrants as workers
  • Halal registration licence for serving Halal food for Muslims
  • Liquor, tobacco and entertainment licences for serving liquor and tobacco and providing public entertainment at premises
  • GST (Goods And Services Tax) Registration if your restaurant has an annual revenue of S$1 million

Other Important Procedures

Even after settling all the compulsory and optional legalities, you should not forget to hire a reliable lawyer who can draw up all the paperwork for you. Also remember to keep a shareholder contract intact so that all your potential shareholders can trust you with their support.

Set Up with Ease

Remembering to comply with the numerous regulations from the Singapore Food Agency can be confusing, especially as you need to focus on improving your business. Make the paperwork easier with our corporate services at WealthBridge, and cook up some tasty dishes without the stress of scurrying around for your business plan.

Our team is more than capable of assisting you with all the paperwork, documents, and forms that you need to submit for food establishments. Let us handle the work, while you can focus on providing your customers with the best quality of food and service you can give!

Get into the food business, and set up food establishments with ease by giving us a call, or sending us an email with details of what you need! 

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