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Company Formation Singapore



Open a Restaurant in Singapore

Updated on Monday 18th December 2017

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Food businesses are widely spread in Singapore and many entrepreneurs are inclined to open restaurants in the city-state. Before opening a restaurant, however, there are few compulsory steps to be followed. The first step is to select the type of Singapore company and register it with the Trade Register. Once this step is concluded, one or more licenses must be obtained with the relevant authorities:

  •      - a food shop license;
  •      - a liquor license;
  •      - registration for the import of processed food ingredients and appliances;
  •      - a halal eating establishment scheme.

Our specialists in company formation in Singapore will guide you through the company registration procedure.

Please watch the video below for more information on how to open a Singapore restaurant:

Obtaining a food shop license for restaurants in Singapore

Once the company registration procedure is completed, the owner must find a suitable venue for the restaurant and obtain a food shop license from the National Environment Agency (NEA) in Singapore. The following documents must be submitted in order to obtain a food shop license in Singapore:

  •     - the owner’s identification documents;
  •     - a business profile or Certificate of Incorporation for corporate owners;
  •     - a scaled metric scheme of the premises showing the placement of all areas in the restaurant;
  •     - a rental contract in case the Singapore property used as a venue is rented;
  •    - approval from the Housing Development Board, the Urban Redevelopment Authority or Building and Construction Authority

      Additional information about food handlers must also be provided:

  •    - a list with all the Singapore restaurant’s employees handling food;
  •    - typhoid vaccination certificates;
  •    - X-ray certificates for employees starting with the age of 45;
  •    - a list with the food hygiene officers;
  •    - a food hygiene certificate for the personnel handling the food;
  •    - a food hygiene officer certificate which must be obtained by food caterers.


The food shop license will be issued in one or two weeks and a validity period of one year.

Apart from the food license, all Singapore restaurants must comply with the Code of Practice of Environmental Health and the requirements to be allowed to operate a food establishment. For this purpose, the NEA will require restaurant owners to provide the following:

  • -       a cleaning schedule;
  • -       a pest control program;
  • -       a food safety management plan.

In case the Singapore company also delivers food, it must also provide information about the vehicle used for delivery and a cleaning program for it.

The halal certification in Singapore

Considering most of the population of Singapore is made up of Muslims, the Islamic Religious Council has put in place a scheme through which restaurants in the city-state are allowed to prepare and serve food to Muslim customers. There are seven certification programs for the food industry in Singapore. Among these, Singapore restaurants can apply for:

  • -       the Halal Eating Establishment certification;
  • -       the Halal Corner certification.

Obtaining a liquor license for a Singapore restaurant

Singapore restaurants serving alcoholic beverages are also required to apply for a liquor license alongside with the food shop license. The liquor license is released by the Liquor Licensing Board in Singapore. There are two types of liquor licenses in Singapore:

  •          - the public house license,
  •          - the beer house license.

Depending on the type of license, certain fees must be paid upon issuance. The liquor license has a two-year validity period.

For restaurants intending to import processed food in Singapore, a registration number must be obtained from the Food Control Division within the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

Once the licenses are obtained, the restaurant must register for taxation purposes with the Singapore tax authorities. Apart from the specific food and beverage license a restaurant can apply for, a Singapore company must also apply for a public entertainment license if it plans to have music in the premises.

The food hygiene officer in a restaurant in Singapore

One of the key requirements for the NEA and all other relevant authorities to approve the opening of a restaurant in Singapore is represented by the employees. As seen above, the personnel handling food must have obtained some qualifications. Apart from foodhandlers, the food hygiene officer (FHO) is the most important employee in a restaurant. The FHO will supervise how the food is prepared, will also oversee the food hygiene system and may also train the personnel. The legislation requires all restaurants, food courts, caterers and fast foods to appoint a food hygiene officer.

Based on the systems implemented by the FHO’s of restaurants in Singapore, the NEA offers various grades from A to D.

For complete details about setting up a restaurant please contact our Singapore consultants in company formation.



  • Katherine 2017-03-30

    Hi, I am looking for a consultant that can provide 1 stop service to apply NEA licence, liaise with the officer, pre-inspection advise on the renovation and finally get the NEA licence. Please call me if you provide this service.

    Hello Katherine! Please send us a detailed e-mail at office@lawyers-singapore.com and we will reply as fast as possible. 
    Have a great day!

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