Starting a F&B Business in Singapore

Starting a F&B Business in Singapore

Singapore is, and has always been, a multiracial, multilingual and multicultural society.  Over generations, it has cultivated and developed a unique Singapore cuisine that is truly diverse and utterly delectable.  The world chooses Singapore as one of the premium travel destinations because of the vast variety of glorious food to enjoy.  In recent decades,  the expatriate population residing in Singapore have further contributed to the vibrancy and cosmopolitan dimensions of food in Singapore.

Singapore loves to eat!

Most Singaporeans have a tendency to eat out.   This has contributed enormously to the huge growth of the food and beverage industry in Singapore.  The industry contributes almost S$8 billion in annual sales turnover to the GDP.  More than a third of this revenue is attributable to restaurants, almost one tenth to catering services and fast food joints and remaining is largely attributable to the famous hawker centre and/or food court establishments.

F&B industry is a lucrative business in Singapore not only for residents but also for foreigners.  This is especially so due to the absence of entry barriers. Businesses also require fewer licensing requirements to operate a food and beverage establishment.  Today a large number of foreigners can be seen operating successful F&B businesses all over the island by introducing their own themes and concepts of dining.

Starting a F&B Business in Singapore

If you are looking to start a F&B business in Singapore, you’ll find that the process is not as complex as you might have thought.   In this guide, we discuss the requirements,  licenses and permits.  First, you will need to register a business entity.  This can be a Company,  Partnership, LLP  a Sole Proprietorship.  Next, you will need to apply for one or more of the following required licenses:

  1. You would require a Food Shop License if you intend to operate a food shop which retails food and/or drinks (such as eating house, coffee shop, food court, canteen or market).
  2. If you are operating inside a privately owned food shop (as defined above), you will be need a Food Stall Licence.
  3. But if such food stall is being operated under a Government-owned food shop (such as hawker’s centre being operated by HDB, JTC or NEA), you will require a Hawker Stall Licence.
  4. A Liquor Licence is required if you wish to sell alcohol in your establishment irrespective of whether such alcohol is consumed within your establishment or not.
  5. If you wish to play or have a live performance of copyrighted music in your pub, café, restaurant or food court, you will also require a Copyright Licence for your premises.
  6. If you wish to open a live music lounge or a KTV (Karaoke) pub, you will need a Public Entertainment (PE) Licence.  It is mandatory for all establishments which provide entertainment (Live music performances, cabaret shows, dancing, playing recorded music etc) in the premises, irrespective whether it is free or paid.

There can be other licenses and issued involved with GST, Service tax and work passes, if you wish to employ foreign workers in your establishment.

How we can help?

If you’re ready to start, ECRA can help you through the entire process.  For more discussions on the various related issues, please consider reviewing the following: