Starting a Restaurant or Food Business in Singapore

Staff Writer

January 7, 2022

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How to Set Up a Restaurant Business

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 industry 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. There are some basic formalities that you need to fulfill to get started properly.

  • 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 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.
  • The second step is to register with Central Provident Fund. This can be initiated online and it would get approved within a couple of weeks at most.
  • The next step in company incorporation is to apply for a Food Shop License 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.

Hygiene Training For Handlers

Since you will be needing food handlers in your restaurant, a 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 hour 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.

Optional Licenses

Once you have sorted out these basic formalities, you will need to apply for other licenses 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 license for serving Halal food for Muslims
  • Liquor, tobacco and entertainment licenses 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

The last one is something that you can register for even if your establishment is not earning such a high level of annual revenue.

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.

The Final Word

The legal wrangle involved in company incorporation for a restaurant can seem daunting to an entrepreneur in this place. However, if you have everything in order and the zeal to succeed in your venture, you can make the mark even in a competitive and cut-throat food and beverage market like one in this city. So, make sure that you comply with all the regulations and after that, with your own confidence, it will be smooth sailing.

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