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Guide to Starting a Café Food and Beverage Business in Singapore

The food and beverage industry is something that will always be thriving, especially in Singapore, the heart of Asia where food is abundant and mouth-wateringly delicious. For entrepreneurs who are looking to venture into Singapore’s F&B sector, this guide to starting a café food and beverage business in Singapore is the one for you.

Restaurants in Singapore selling food and beverages are among the most successful businesses around. Food especially, will always be in demand because people need to eat, it is as simple as that. As long as there is demand, the F&B industry in Singapore is always going to thrive.


Why Choose Singapore for Your Café Food and Beverage Business?

Because Singaporeans love their food! Eating out is a common everyday experience for the average Singaporean, and this love of food has been what was responsible for the significant growth that the food and beverage industry. More than $8 billion in annual sales alone contribute to the GDP turnover, more than a third of this significant revenue is all thanks to the restaurants. That is how lucrative this industry can be, and why it would make a sound business investment.

In Singapore, there are many grants offered by the government, along with incentives which can be very helpful for entrepreneurs who are just starting a café food and beverage business in Singapore. The Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme (PIC) and SPRING Singapore are just some examples of the grants that you could look into.


What to Consider Before Setting Up Your Café Food and Beverage Business in Singapore

Budding or established entrepreneurs will be eager to get a piece of the action in Singapore’s booming café food and beverage business. Before you set forth to open up your own establishment however, here are some aspects that you need to first look into:

  • Assessing your competition is essential to ensure that you have a solid understanding of just what you are getting into. Due diligence is extremely important, and you need to ensure that you know your competition inside and out.
  • Have a market analysis and survey done to see if there is enough demand for what you intend to offer to thrive. It is simply not enough to want to start a café food and beverage business in Singapore, you must conduct a survey and market analysis to ensure that you are going to be meeting the needs of your intended market segment.
  • Prepare enough capital that will help you sustain for several months at the very least. Capital and finances are always a major hurdle for a lot of businesses, and to ensure maximum success, the better prepared you are financially, the higher your chances will be. Calculate all the initial start-up and running costs you are going to need, taking into account every possible aspect, including renovation, fixtures, fittings, equipment, ingredients, marketing and advertising.
  • Ensure maximum operational efficiency, because the last thing that you want is to find yourself short-staffed when there are hungry customers waiting. In the café food and beverage business in Singapore, customers are everything and you will be building your reputation based on customer experience. Plan the workflow of your entire process as precisely as possible and make sure you have all your bases covered.
  • Marketing and promotions are going to be at the core of your business during the first few months of operation, at least until your café food and beverage business has built up enough of a reputation that you become the talk of the town. When it comes to marketing and advertising, it is best to leave it to the professionals to get the job done, especially in the initial phases of your business when it is crucial to get it off the ground.


How to Register Your Café Food and Beverage Business in Singapore

Once you have decided that you would like to start a company in Singapore, it is time to take the next steps that you need to get your company registered. A café food and beverage business in Singapore must be incorporated to be allowed to operate. To register your company, here is what you will need to do:

  • #2 – Draft and notarize your company’s Articles of Association and file them with ACRA
  • #3 – Get your company registered for taxation and GST with the proper and relevant tax authorities in Singapore
  • #4 – Apply for the necessary licenses and permits which you will need to legally operate your company in Singapore.


What You Need to Know About Applying for Licenses and Permits

Any café food and beverage business in Singapore must have the necessary licenses and permits to operate. Without them, you will not be able to commence your business operations. The licenses and permits must be obtained with the National Environment Agency (NEA).

To apply for the required licenses and permits for your café food and beverage business in Singapore, you will need to ensure the following documents are in order:

  • Copies of your ID, passport or residence permit (if you are a foreign entrepreneur)
  • Copy of the approval that has been issued by the Urban Re-Development Authority and the Housing and Development Board
  • A certificate for food and hygiene for the manager and the staff that will be working in the business
  • A safety management plan for your intended premise

The types of licenses which you would need to apply for include the following:

  • A Food Shop License (for businesses intending to operate eating houses, coffee shops, food court, canteen, market etc)
  • A Food Stall License (if you intend to operate your café food and beverage business in Singapore inside a food shop which is privately owned)
  • A Hawker Stall License (if you intend to operate a food stall which is under a food shop that is government owned
  • A Copyright License for your premise (if you intend to play music at a pub, café, restaurant, food court etc.
  • A Public Entertainment License (if you intend to provide live music performances, play recorded music, have a live music lounge or even offer cabaret shows)
  • A Liquor License (if you intend to sell alcohol at your establishment)