Singapore is a colorful country that offers a myriad of cultures and races. It is also among the top destinations for tourists. With spectacular high rise buildings and striking infrastructure, you’re left in awe thinking about the dedication and uphill battle that was put towards this country’s development. Another conspicuous facet to Singapore is its food scenes, so much so, that it’s famously called the Food Capital of Asia. With multiple cuisines like Italian, Japanese, Indian, Chinese and several others, there seems to be no interruption in the growth of Singapore’s food industry. If you’ve always wanted to open a restaurant overseas, Singapore is definitely one of the places to go. People are open to new cultures and diversity and accept them easily. You’d definitely not be disappointed. 

If we’ve convinced you, here are a few facts that you need to know before putting the plan in action, because opening a restaurant in Singapore has its own challenges. 

Choose your location wisely

Singapore has a lot of nooks and areas that could be potentially popular selling locations. To select an appropriate location for your restaurant, you need to chart out three main factors, which are your customers or audience, your competition and your USP. Even if you see that there is minimum or no competition in your selected location, look for the reason behind it and understand the potentiality of your restaurant in its premises. As you must’ve witnessed, any restaurant requires an apt location. It’s the key to bring more customers. Don’t choose a location that doesn’t show promise. Skimping on rent or the buying price will bring nothing but regret in the longer run. Trust us, securing the right location would be worth it.

Once you decide on your location, you need to check your eligibility in opening your restaurant. You’ll have to undergo an agreement of the decided rental amount with the landlord of the location, which is termed as a Letter of Intent. You might also have to pay a certain amount of deposit until the verdict comes out. You can’t retrieve the deposit even if you don’t receive the approval for opening your restaurant.

Equipment and tools

Depending on whether you’re opening a restaurant, food stall or a fast food chain, you need to research about the equipment and tools that you’d need. A few necessary devices and appliances that are commonly required and specially sold for opening food chains and restaurants in Singapore are combi-ovens, freezers, chillers, and dispensers among others. If you plan on opening a bar or a beverage store, these machines that churn frozen beverages and slushies should be on your list. All the restaurant standard utensils should be bought as well. Conduct thorough research and make a list of all the necessary equipment to kick start your project. Don’t be cheap in buying them as well, quality equipment may come a bit pricey but they are sure to last. Just ask all major food corporations and they will attest to that.

Licenses and legalities

You need to register for a license depending on the type of restaurant you want to open such a food stall or a halal license as examples. A Food Hygiene Course is mandatory for all food handlers to attend and pass, followed by registering with the National Environment Agency or the NEA. An important Food Shop License is required for all restaurateurs to open, which can take more than four weeks or even months to acquire. Several clauses related to renovation and taking over a previous restaurant are strictly followed. The basic process in obtaining this license with the NEA involves a thorough inspection, fulfilling certain requirements, paying the necessary fee for the license, and obtaining it. It also requires you to submit the necessary documents and contracts to maintain hygiene.

Depending on whether you’re selling alcohol, you’ll need to issue a liquor license. Apart from these, other legalities involve issuing a CPF or Central Provident Fund, and GST or Government Service Tax for contributing a certain amount of income as taxes.

There can be difficulties in finding employees

The past few years have witnessed a scarcity in laborers and employees in the food industry in Singapore. Waiters and managers are difficult to find as no one is ready to work for longer hours and demand a high pay. This scenario can be tough since you’re just starting out and cannot afford to pay more than your budget. You’ll have to stay thoroughly prepared to lend hands or maybe work by yourself at times during the initial stages. Many a times, interviewees don’t show up and leave a poor notice.

If you’re new to this discipline and don’t have enough experience, we’d suggest researching in depth and formulating a concrete plan. You can also hire a food consultant to guide you towards your way to opening a successful restaurant in Singapore. Nevertheless, it all comes down to the quality of food and service you can offer, so make sure you do everything as carefully as possible and do not rush into anything you are not 100% ready for.

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