Many people envision starting their own food and beverage business, but do they know how much work and effort goes into opening a place? If you have ever considered or are considering to open a restaurant, running a café, stall, or bar, then you need to be familiar with the legal requirements of setting up one. Before you start to spend on renovations, purchasing equipment, or hiring staff, there are mandatory licenses that you need to apply for depending on your food and beverage concept.

Here’s a guide on the different types of licenses you might need and how much they will cost.

1) Food Shop License

You have to submit an application for and have a food shop license approved prior to setting up your F&B establishment. Food shop license is tied to the physical outlet, and any prior licensee will have to cancel the license before a new application can be approved.

Before applying for a food license, the applicant will have to make sure that they satisfy the specifications in a pre-application checklist (eg. documents, food shop design, and hygiene requirements)

How To Apply: Singapore Food Agency

Cost: S$195 (valid for 1 year)

2) WSQ Food Hygiene Course

Food handlers need to apply for the abovementioned course to get certified for food handling. The WSQ course consists of 6 hours of course work and 1.5 hours of assessment. Upon completion, a Statement of Attainment (SOA) will be awarded to participants.

How To Apply: Singapore Food Agency

3) Liquor License

The Liquor License is required if you intend to sell beers or liquors. There are several classes of the license you can apply for. Under the Customs (Liquors Licensing) Regulations, any sales of intoxicating liquors in Singapore will require a liquor license issued by the Liquors Licensing Board (LLB).

Currently, there are 8 classes of licensing available (determined by the hours, where, how, and for what purposes you can supply and distribute liquor in your premises).

How To Apply: Singapore Police Force website

Cost: Between S$110 to S$880 (valid for 1 year), dependent on the category of license.

4) MUIS Halal Certification License

Prior to applying for a MUIS Halal certification license, there are 3 requirements your food establishment must meet:

  1. Halal requirements: raw materials used must be Halal and substantiated with supporting documents
  2. Staffing requirements: Minimum of 2 or 3 Muslim staff employed in each premise with a Halal certification application. A minimum of 3 staff are required for catering or central kitchen services
  3. System requirements: the applicant must comply with the 10 principles of the Singapore Muis Halal Quality Management System (HalMQ)

How To Apply: LicenseOne; Wait for the auditor to inspect, and subsequently send an application to Muis if requirements are met.

5) ACRA Company Incorporation

If you are thinking of setting up a local company to sell food products or just incorporate a company in Singapore for your restaurant, then you need to be familiar with ACRA. The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is a license you will need to attain if you want to start a business in Singapore. It applies for all types of companies, including the food and drink industry.

An ACRA license is required if you are carrying out any activity for profit on an ongoing basis. The minimum age for registration is 18 years old. There are several benefits to getting incorporated, including:

– Allowing members of the public to seek and verify information about your business and its owners

– Permitting you to join in government tenders and secure intellectual property or patents for new products and technology

– Allowing your business access to government funding

There are additional costs incurred when you register a private limited company in Singapore such as Singapore Company Registration Fees, but the process is relatively quick and if everything goes smoothly, you can incorporate a company within a day! It is important to note that foreigners cannot start a business in Singapore without the support of a company registration service provider.

How To Apply: Apply on BizFile+, the business filing portal of ACRA, or engage a Corporate Service Provider / Registered Filing Agent.

5) Import License

An import license is usually required for food traders, or anyone purchasing and handling fresh produce from overseas. Nonetheless, you are also required to apply for one if you are doing any of the below for your F&B operations:

– Importing fresh table eggs

– Importing, exporting or transshipping meat and fish products

– Importing or transshipping fresh fruits and vegetables

Different licenses are required depending on the type of food you import. To get a better idea of which license is required, you can check the classification of food and food products in Singapore.

How To Apply: GoBusiness licensing

6) Public Entertainment License

F&B establishments sometimes include entertainment such as TVs, game machines, karaoke machines. These require entertainment licenses. The licensing conditions and guidelines differ depending on the type of entertainment provided.

How To Apply: GoBusiness licensing

Additional Industry Grants And Incentives

Applying for a license may seem like a hassle, and also an additionally incurred cost. However, having your F&B establishment properly licensed may also mean that you are eligible for grants or government funding by Enterprise or Spring Singapore. In certain cases, business owners can apply for incentives available in the food industry, which will largely benefit the F&B business they’re setting up.

If you are thinking of setting up a food business, think no further, and start forming your company today! Completing the process of company registration in Singapore is the first step you should take in establishing your food business. Many restaurants choose to engage in a company registration service provider such as WLP group to kick start their business. To see how we can help you today, contact us at +65 64932970 to start the process to incorporate a company in Singapore!