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Guide to Starting a Food and Beverage Business in Singapore

Guide to Starting a Food and Beverage Business in Singapore

Singapore has been named as one of the best destinations for foods in Southeast Asia. For this reason, more and more food and beverage ("F&B") businesses are choosing to set up their shop in Singapore.

Prior to starting a F&B business in Singapore, you must incorporate and register the business with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore ("ACRA") before applying for the necessary licences and permits for operating the F&B business.

  1. Food Shop Licence

    Under Environment Public Health Act, any company intends to operate a retail food outlet where food and/or drink are sold wholly by retail need to apply for a Food Shop Licence from Singapore Food Agency ("SFA"). The purpose of licensing is to ensure cleanliness and food safety in food retail outlets and to prevent food-borne diseases.

    Example of businesses that required a food shop licence are:- restaurant, cake shops, eating houses, coffee shops, food courts, snack and drink counters, market produce shops, private markets, food caterers, food shop (pet allowed) and mobile food wagon.

    Eligibility and Conditions of Applicants

    Only the following can apply for a licence: -

    Singaporean or Permanent Resident for an Individual;

    The sole proprietor or active partner must apply for a licence in his/her name.

    • For self-employed persons, please ensure that your Medisave contributions are paid up before applying for a licence.
    • Compliance of the list of hygiene requirements issued by SFA’s Food Service Department.

    Company registered with the ACRA; or

    Association/society registered with Registrar of Societies.
    Documents required

    The applicant is required to provide the following documents to SFA for processing:-

    Approval from the land agency e.g. Urban Redevelopment Authority ("URA") and Housing and Development Board ("HDB")*;

    Tenancy agreement#;

    Details of applicant ?one of the following (where applicable);

    • Individual ?Both sides of Singapore NRIC
    • Company ?Information Business Profile from ACRA
    • Society ?Certificate of Registration from Registrar of Societies

    Basic food hygiene certificate / Refresher food hygiene certificate of foodhandlers;

    Food hygiene officer certificate (For Food caterers, Restaurant, Foodcourts and Canteens only);

    Cleaning program;

    Layout plan of premises (in scaled metric units);

    Letter of authorisation (when submission of application is not done by intended licensee / director of company holding the licence);

    Pest control contract covering the control of rodents, cockroaches and flies during the year-long licensing period. The inspection frequency of the food shop premises covered in the contract shall be at least once a month to detect any sign of pest infestation;

    Supplementary information form to capture business name, type of food sold, business operating hours, etc;

    Food Safety Management Plan (with critical control points identified) or proof of registration for the “WSQ Apply FSMS for Food Service Establishment?course. (For Food Caterers & premises with permission to cater only);

    Photos showing the interior and exterior of the catering vehicle;

    Vehicle log card or tenancy agreement for rental vehicle to prove ownership of catering vehicle; and

    Cleaning program for catering vehicle.

    Please note that this is potential pitfall for applicant. Applicant should ensure the relevant planning permission is obtained, prior to signing any tenancy agreement and investing in renovations / equipment for the premises.

    Please note that the submission of a tenancy agreement is not required during the initial stage of application for a licence. The tenancy agreement will only be required at the final stage, before SFA approves and issues the licence. The company is advised not to sign any tenancy agreement, until the land agency concerned has approved the relevant use for the premises, and you are reasonably confident you can meet with the licensing conditions by also verifying with the owner/landlord on the necessary renovations like installation of exhaust system, piping for sinks etc.

    SFA has put in place new requirements for all personnel engaged in the sale and preparation for sale of food and drinks must wear masks or other forms of physical barrier.

  2. Halal Certification

    Halal certification is a vital permit to apply for if you intend to cater the Muslims in Singapore. The licensing is to ensure that for the whole production process ?from raw materials or ingredients right up to the sale of the end product ?is subscribe to the substance and spirit of the Islamic Law.

    There are 7 types of Halal Certification Schemes which offered by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (“MUIS?, the authority for Halal certification in Singapore to suit the various categories of the food and food-related industry:

    Product ?for locally-manufactured/processed products;
    Eating Establishment ?for eateries including hawkers, restaurants, fast food chains, cafeteria, snack bars, bakeries, school canteen stalls, food kiosks, food stations in hotel restaurants and temporary food stalls;
    Food Preparation Area ?for central kitchens operated by food caterers, hospitals and airports, and pre-school kitchens;
    Poultry Abattoir ?for freshly slaughtered poultry;
    Endorsement ?for manufacturers, importers and/or exporters who intend to import, export or re-export products which have been Halal certified by MUIS or foreign Halal-certifying authorities and/or agencies;
    Storage Facility ?for mobile and stationary storage areas such as cold rooms and warehouses; and
    Whole Plant ?for manufacturing facilities and all products manufactured therein.

  3. Petroleum/Flammable Materials Storage Licence

    A Petroleum and Flammable Materials ("P&FM") storage licence should be obtained from the Singapore Civil Defence Force ("SCDF") for the liquefied petroleum gas ("LPG") installation at eating establishments. However, if the LPG is stored not more than 200 kg at eating establishment, you are not required to apply for this licence.

    For application of P&FM Storage Licence, the following supporting documents should be submitted to SCDF:

    Approved Plans for LPG Installation;
    Fire Safety Certificate;
    Professional Engineer’s Certification documents for the Piped LPG system;
    Letter of Undertaking on Safe Handling of LPG installation;
    LPG Check List;
    Acknowledgement letter for Emergency Response Plan;
    Approval Letter from URA and Land Transport Authority ("LTA") for the proposed storage area of the LPG manifold system;
    Letter of Undertaking from LPG Supplier / Dealer; and
    Letter of authorisation from Owner/Operator (for Filer).

  4. Other related licence

    Liquor Licence

    If you intend to serve alcohol or sell liquor products at eating establishment, a Liquor licence which issued by Singapore Police Force ("SPF") is required under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) (Liquor Licensing) Regulations 2015. For more information, please refer to "Singapore Liquor License Application Guide"

    Public Entertainment Establishment Licence

    Under Public Entertainments & Meetings ("PEM") Act, Chapter 257, a Public Entertainment Establishment Licence is required for any entertainment that is provided in any place to which the public or any class of public has access, whether gratuitously or otherwise. If you intend to provide some sort of public entertainment such as live music performances, play recorded music, or a live music lounge in your F&B business, unless exempted, you need to apply for this licence.

    Tobacco Licence

    If you intend to sell tobacco products by retail at a physical outlet, a Tobacco Licence is needed. The licence issued is specific to only one physical outlet. That means, you will need to submit a separate application for each outlet if you are operating more than one. For more information, please refer to "Singapore Tobacco Retail or Wholesale License Application Guide"

KAIZEN Group is equipped with experienced and highly qualified professional accountants and attorneys. Kaizen has offices in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and New York.

Being a member of KAIZEN Group, KAIZEN (SG) PAC is a professional accounting firm registered in Singapore. KAIZEN SG provides business formation and registration in Singapore, we also provide business bank account opening, accounting, and bookkeeping, payroll, taxation, audit and assurance, merger and acquisition, immigration business and intellectual property services.

In addition, for those foreign investors who enter the Singapore at the very first time, we also provide supporting services in the areas of office and warehouse renting, purchasing business liability insurance, employee health insurance and life insurance, etc. Please call and talk to our professional consultants for details.

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