By Vlad Cuc, specialist in company formation matters
Singapore is one of the most vivid cities in the world thank to the large number of tourists which grows year after year. Tourism has become one of the leading economic sectors in Singapore, therefore it is no wonder that foreign investors coming here open companies in this industry. From travel agencies, to hotels and restaurants, one can open a Singapore company which will generate a good revenue. For those seeking to start small, opening a bar in Singapore could be a great business idea. Our specialists in company formation in Singapore can offer complete guidance to businessmen who are thinking of starting this type of business.
Before jumping into business, it is useful to know that Singapore is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to open a bar in, according to various market studies. The low prices and the variety of bars and pubs have transformed Singapore into a good destination to setup a food and beverages business.
Registering a business when opening a bar in Singapore
Local and foreign investors must respect similar regulations when it comes to opening food and beverages-related companies in Singapore and the first step is to incorporate a company. Among the suitable business forms for a bar are the limited liability company and the limited partnership, the latter being a good option foreign entrepreneurs who could use the experience of local businesspersons in order to ensure a great start on the market.
The limited liability company, however, is the preferred choice of most local and overseas investors as it is quite easy to create and it is subject to just a few requirements.
The registration of a Singapore limited liability company is easy and implies a few steps that can be completed in a short timespan. The important aspect to consider when opening a bar in Singapore is the name which must be appealing to clients.
Our Singapore company formation officers can handle the entire procedure of registering a legal form of your choice in order to set up a bar in the city-state.
You can find out how to open a bar in Singapore from the video below:
Our Singapore company formation consultants can offer information on the legislation related to selling beverages in the city-state.
selection of the business form and registration with the Singapore Trade Register,
registering for taxation and GST purposes with the Inland Revenue Authority,
applying for a public house license, beer or outdoor beer stall license,
obtaining import licenses where the activities require the import of various beverages.
Before starting the company formation process in Singapore, a foreign or a local investor must study the market and find a suitable location for the bar, as access to clients is the most important. Then the capital required to invest in the business must be established. When referring to investments in opening a Singapore bar should know that the design of the place is one of the most important aspects when setting up this type of business. The equipment must also be professional, not to mention the employees.
For those not disposing of the amount of money they need to set up a bar, the good news is that Singapore is one of the best countries where money can be raised through crowdfunding.
Finding a suitable place for the bar is also important and for this purpose, the location is very important. Then, the company registration procedure can begin. Our Singapore company formation consultants can handle this process.
If you want to set up a company in Singapore and need assistance or information on the steps related to the creation of a bar, feel free to discuss all aspects with our agents.
How to choose the right business form and location for a Singapore bar
Two of the most important steps to complete before starting the creation of a bar in Singapore is selecting the appropriate business form of the company and then its physical location.
If in terms of legal structures, the Company Law provides for all forms a company can take, thus there is no need to complete thorough research, when it comes to the location of the bar, the requirements are different.
In many cases, the private limited liability company is the most suitable business entity a foreign investor can choose, however, one can also enter a partnership with a Singapore resident and benefit from his or her knowledge or even a franchise as these are usually very appreciated by the Singaporean people.
Referring to the location of the bar, there are many places in Singapore in which one can find suitable establishments, however, these must not respect the idea of being accessible to the public, but also meeting certain legal requirements, among which:
- the surface of the selected place must meet specific regulations,
- it must be divided into separate spaces, depending on the specific of the bar and the activities to be completed there,
- it must be connected to all the utilities such a facility needs.
Also, if the property is not owned by the business owner, one will also need to consider the rent.
Once the location is selected, the registration of the company and the licensing phase will be easy to complete as Singapore is known for its openness to doing business and encouragement of entrepreneurship.
If you want to open a company in Singapore, no matter if it is a bar, a restaurant or a café, our agents are at your service with detailed information on the steps you need to complete.
Hiring personnel for a bar in Singapore
When opening a bar in Singapore, the owner will also need to consider employing qualified personnel. However, in the food and beverages sector, employees must have passed a basic food hygiene class in case they will serve customers snacks, sandwiches or any other food products which require handling.
Then, the company must also register with the Central Provident Fund as an employer.
Our Singapore company formation advisors can offer more information on the requirements related to hiring specialized workers for such a business.
Once the Singapore company is registered it must apply for the suitable type of license it needs to operate as a bar. The liquor license for selling alcoholic beverages is issued by the Singapore Police Force. There are 5 types of liquor licenses issued by the police, depending on the hours of serving alcoholic drinks and whether the drinks are permitted on or off the premises.
When opening a bar in Singapore, one of the following licenses must be obtained:
- a public house license;
- a beer license;
- an outdoor beer stall license.
It is also possible for a bar to apply for more than one license. We are at your service if you want to set up a branch office in Singapore.
How to apply for a liquor license in Singapore
Even if the activities of a bar can involve serving snacks and other food products, the most important license to obtain for a Singapore bar is the liquor license. This business permit is divided into 8 classes that are related to various aspects of the operations of the company. The liquor license is issued by the Liquors Licensing Board and the application file must be accompanied by various documents.
The following categories of liquor licenses can be obtained when opening a bar in Singapore:
- the 1st class public house license that can be obtained when serving alcoholic drinks between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.,
- the 2nd class public house license that can be obtained when serving alcoholic beverages between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.;
- the retail liquor shop license under which a bar can sell alcoholic beverages between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.;
- the beer house license under which a bar is allowed to sell beer between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.,
- the retail beer shop license under which beer can be sold between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.,
- the wholesale liquor and the wholesale beer shop licenses that can be requested by distributors of alcoholic drinks, respectively beer, and under which it is permitted to sell of such beverages between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.
- all other licenses related to the safety and health requirements to be met by the company,
- in the case of a foreign owner, his/her residence or work permit is also required.
It should be noted that when opening a bar in Singapore and seeking to obtain a liquor license, the company must appoint a person who meets the fit and proper criteria imposed by the Singapore Police Department. Among these, are for the person in charge with the sale of alcoholic beverages to:
- have a clean criminal record,
- have a good track record,
- not have any other similar license suspended or cancelled.
The conditions related to obtaining a liquor license when opening a barare very strict which is why we encourage you to talk to our company registration advisors in Singapore about this subject.
The fire safety certificate in Singapore
One of the most stringent requirements when setting up a business that sells food or alcohol that can be served on the location is the fire safety certificate. When it comes to property rentals, the future owner must verify this aspect as it should be noted that this certificate is to be renewed on a yearly basis.
The fire safety certificate is issued by the Singapore Civil Defense Department. Also, it should be noted that this one of the lengthiest procedures when it comes to setting up a business in the HORECA sector. This is why it is advisable to search for locations which already have such permits.
The food and beverages services sector in Singapore
Food and beverages remain one of the most prolific sectors of the Singapore economy in 2019, as statistics indicate that:
- restaurants registered an increase of 6.1% between 2018 and 2019,
- the same happened to cafes and food courts which registered a 3.3% growth during the same period,
- fast foods had the highest growth of 7.9% between 2018 and 2019;
- the entire food and beverages retail sector had a 4.5% increase in 2019,
- for October 2019, the total value of the food and beverages industry was 893 million SGD.
Why start a bar in Singapore?
Singapore relies on tourism, as this is one of the important industries contributing to the economy. Restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels are among the prolific types of businesses that can be set up by both local and foreign investors.
When it comes to foreign entrepreneurs, these can benefit from the support of the Singapore government thanks to various subsidies they can access when investing in the city-state. These subsidies and grants are usually available for a wide range of activities in the food and beverages sector, therefore they can easily start their own businesses here.
If you need information on the current tax benefits available for companies in Singapore, you can rely on the advice on our local consultants.
FAQ on opening a bar in Singapore
Can I open a bar in Singapore if I am a foreigner?
Yes, you can, however, if you plan to move here in order to run your business, you will need to apply for a residence permit.
Is it expensive to start a bar business in Singapore?
The entire cost of setting up such a business depends on several factors, among which the size of the bar, its location and even the type of license required. However, you should consider that the minimum amount of money is around 50,000 – 60,000 USD.
How long does it take to open such a business in Singapore?
It usually takes a few months to open a Singapore, depending on the licenses required for the location.
Is it hard to open such a company in Singapore?
No, it is not, however, it all depends on how quick the future business owner can prepare the necessary documents.