With Singaporeans’ huge appetite for eating out and their willingness to spend big bucks on food, it has given rise to a variety of food and beverage (F&B) businesses in Singapore. Once you have decided that Singapore is the ideal place to setup your restaurant, the following steps will provide you the necessary information to kick start your restaurant business. The first step in opening a restaurant business is to register a company in Singapore. For foreign owners, it is not compulsory for them to relocate to Singapore to set up their business. However, under the Singapore Immigration Regulations, if a foreigner wishes to move to Singapore to run his restaurant, he must apply for an Entrepass.
Step 1: Incorporate a Company / Business in Singapore
First of all, you need to register a business or company in Singapore. A Singaporean or Permanent Resident can register the business or company alone as a single director company. SSIC code of the company should reflect the actual types of food business such as cafes, snack bars, fast food restaurants and restaurants etc.
Step 2: Food Shop License
According to Singapore’s Environmental Public Health Act, a Food Shop Licence issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA), is necessary if a person is intended to run a retail food outlet where food and/or drink are sold wholly by retail in Singapore.
Hence, after you have finished your company registration and any relocation visa matters, you will have to decide on your restaurant’s location since the authorities will examine the location before granting an approval for the license.
In addition, when applying for the Food Shop License, you must have the following supporting documents listed below:
- A photocopy of one of the following (where applicable):
- Both sides of NRIC of applicant (if applying as an individual) or
- Business profile of the company (if applying as a company) or
- Certificate of registration from Registrar of Societies (if applying as a society)
- A scaled metric layout plan of the restaurant such as the kitchen, preparation area, refreshment area, toilets, stores and etc.
- Tenancy agreement among the landlord and the applicant.
- Approval(s) from Housing Development Board (HDB) [for HDB premises only], Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) & / or Building and Construction Authority (BCA) [where applicable]
- The list of food handlers employed.
- Typhoid inoculation certificates for food handlers.
- X-ray certificates for food handlers that are 45 years old and above.
- The list of Food Hygiene Officers hired using the prescribed form obtainable from the relevant Regional Office.
Step 3: Hiring of Employees
Owners have to be aware that employees in the restaurant business in Singapore tend to consist of both local and foreign workers. Thus, if you are planning to hire foreign employees, you have to ensure that they have a work permit.
Step 4: Halal Establishment Scheme
If you are also planning to have Muslims as customers, it is vital to have a Halal certificate by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) – the authority for Halal certification in Singapore. With this certificate, Muslims can enjoy their meal without having to worry if they violated their laws and beliefs.
Step 5: Liquor Licence
If you desire to serve liquor in your restaurant, you would require a Liquor License from the Liquor Licensing Board (LLB).
There are 4 main types of Liquor licence:
- Public house licence
- Beer house licence
- Wholesale liquor/Retail liquor shop licence
- Wholesale beer/Retail beer licence
Depending on the type of license, the fee range from S$220 to S$1760 for a period of two years. The processing time for approval of application will take at least 14 working days.
Step 6: Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registration
Any business that has annual revenue of S$1million or more must register for GST, also known as value added tax (VAT). Currently, Singapore’s GST is 7%. However, if your annual restaurant revenue is less than S$1 million, registering for GST is optional.
Step 7: CPF Registration
You need to make Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for any employee you hire, as long as he or she receives more than S$50 a month. However, CPF contribution for foreign employees with Employment Pass or Work Permit is not required.
Step 8: Registration to import processed Food products and Appliances
If you intend to import processed food products and food appliances, you have to apply for a Registration Number from the Food Control Division (FCD) of Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
After going through the 8 steps above, you are now better equipped with the knowledge to set up your restaurant business in Singapore.