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Guide to Starting a Hawker Stall Business in Singapore

Guide to Starting a Hawker Stall Business in SingaporeHawker stall centres are part of the essence of Singapore. Singaporeans love their food, and to meet this growing need and rising demand, hawker stall businesses in Singapore have bright prospects for the future. If you’re intending to dive into this lucrative market, then this guide to starting a hawker stall business in Singapore is for you.

SPRING Singapore has allocated $12 million under the Capability Development Programme (CDP), which launched in March 2007 as a boost to help local F&B enterprises over the next 3-years. Through this programme, SPRING hopes to develop innovative F&B concepts by helping entrepreneurs involved in this sector develop their capabilities. The programme also aims to raise awareness about service and efficiency levels.

Singapore has a vision to establish itself as the gastronomic capital of the Asian region, and with governing bodies recognizing this significance, food safety incentives are in place to ensure hawker stall business in Singapore have every advantage given to them. The government of Singapore acknowledges that hawker stalls are very much an integral part of Singapore’s F&B landscape, and believe that every opportunity must be given to help the train continue to sustain.


How to Start a Hawker Stall Business in Singapore

To run a hawker stall business in Singapore, you would need to be a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident. You would also need to be at least 21-years of age with a clean financial history, which means you must not have declared bankrupt in the past.

If you have had your licenses previously revoked, or you have been de-registered in the past, you will not be eligible. You will also not be permitted to operate 2 ore more cooked food stalls within the same hawker centre. To secure a hawker license for your stall, you will need to form a company in Singapore, or you will be able to apply it under your personal name.

To secure your hawker stall business in Singapore, here are the steps that you would need to follow:

  • Securing Your Premise – You would first need to secure a premise for your hawker stall before you can secure a Hawker Stall license and run your business.
  • Get Your Stall’s Food Handlers Registered – All food handlers working in your hawker stall will need to be registered before they can legally work in your stall. The food handlers must be registered with the NEA, and this requirement is needed for every F&B establishment (a hawker stall is considered an F&B establishment). When you are applying for your hawker stall license, you will need to provide the names and details of the registered food handlers in your establishment.
  • All food handlers will also be required to complete the WSQ Follow Food & Beverage Safety and Hygiene Policies course before they will be permitted to deal with food. Your hawker stall could be fined up to $2,000 and be given demerit points under the Points Demerit System (PDS) if your food handlers are not registered. Your Hawker Stall License could also be suspended or revoked if you have accumulated more than 12 demerit points in a 12-month period.
  • Acquire Your Hawker Stall License – All entrepreneurs intending to start a hawker stall business in Singapore will have to apply a Hawker Stall License under the Environmental Public Health Act. If you are planning to run any establishment that sells drinks or food, this license is a requirement to ensure that you are abiding by the cleanliness and food safety requirements. To operate a hawker stall which is rented from the Government, this license is a must. If you’re operating a food stall which is located inside a privately-owned food shop, you will need to apply for a Food Stall License instead. Only applicants above the age of 21 who is either a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident will be eligible for this license application.
  • Meet Environmental Health Regulations – You will be at risk of demerit points if your stall violates protocols and you fail to comply with the environmental health regulations. The NEA developed this Points Demerit System to ensure that food safety standards are always being complied with. If your license gets revoked, you will be banned from applying for another license to operate an F&B business.


What Are the Other Costs Involved in Starting a Hawker Stall Business in Singapore?

The biggest cost you would need to factor is in your monthly rental and the wages of your employees. Other cost factors that you would then need to take into account are:

  • Cost of goods and raw ingredients
  • The table cleaning fee involved (applicable for cooked food stalls only)
  • Utilities costs
  • The Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) costs


Not Sure If the Hawker Trade Is for You? Try the Incubation Stall Programme

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also launched a programme known as the Incubation Stall Programme, which is aimed at helping aspiring hawker stall owners by providing them with the assistance they need to get into the trade. 13 stalls in various hawker centres are currently available under this programme, and if an applicant is successful, they will be offered stalls at 50% of the assessed market rent for a 6-month period. This provides these aspiring hawker stall owners the opportunity to do a test run and decide if this is the business that they want to be in. Each stall comes pre-fitted with the basic equipment needed, which helps to lower the upfront capital investment needed to set up the initial stall in the first place.

You do not need to have any prior experiencing working, operating or managing a stall before applying for this program. However, you will need to attend an Introduction to Managing a Hawker Business course which is organized by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), or other similar courses, or be a graduate of any business management course which is offered in tertiary institutions to be an eligible applicant for the programme.


Ready to Start a Hawker Stall Business in Singapore? We Can Help!

3E Accounting’s company formation experts are equipped with years of experience and industry knowledge, ready to guide you through the process of setting up the business if you have always dreamed of having. If you would like to set up your hawker stall business in Singapore, contact us today for more information on how to get started.