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5 Things You Should Consider Before Opening A Food Business In Singapore

Singapore’s food and beverage industry boasts a diverse range of cuisines. From Asian to Western to Middle Eastern, Singapore has turned into a hub for people around the world to set up shop for their food and beverage (F&B) businesses; you name it, they got it. With the rise in restaurants and food businesses popping up everywhere, you might consider setting up your own F&B business.

However, before you even consider diving headfirst into setting up shop, here are some important aspects that you must know to save you thousands of dollars and ensure your F&B business operates smoothly in the long term.

1. Total Approximate Cost

Starting capital for an F&B business in Singapore could range from SGD$50,000 to SGD$600,000. As daunting as these figures are, there are several factors that you have to consider before starting your own F&B business;

  • Cuisine you are selling,

  • The kind of kitchen equipment you require,

  • A location where your customer base will most likely frequent.

Rental is substantial regardless of location. But most importantly, you should attract the right customers to ensure profitability. Ultimately, you should ensure that you have sufficient funds so that you can pull you through the first few months of operations (rental, capital, interior design, and labour costs). With limited funds, you may want to rank your priorities and refrain from cutting corners on the budget items that matter.

2. Licenses To Get

Singapore prides itself on upholding high health and safety standards via a series of regulations. These regulations provide us peace of mind when we dine out. This also leads to multiple licences that all F&B businesses are required to have.

You require the following licences before you can commence your F&B business:

  • Food Shop Licence (mandatory for all food establishments in Singapore)

  • Import Licence (for imported ingredients in your food production)

  • Liquor Licence (if you are selling alcoholic beverages)

  • MUIS Halal Certification (for F&B outlets that want to be certified halal)

  • Public Entertainment Licence (if you provide any form of entertainment, including TVs, karaoke sets, music players etc.)

  • WSQ Food Hygiene Course (all food handlers have to be certified clean, and these have to be renewed through subsequent refresher courses)

Most of all, you should be licensed by NEA to let everyone know that your F&B business hygiene is up to standard for the comfort of your customers.

3. Marketing Strategy

It is imperative that you define your unique selling point even before you set up shop, be it physically or digitally. Plan on how to attract customers. Opening shop and praying and hoping that customers find your business rarely works, if ever. Create social media pages for your business. Post content about your business and products daily to create awareness of your brand and make it grow. Optimise your website on search engines so that users can find your website when they are looking at different F&B options. Send subscribers EDMs regularly so that they will be regularly updated with happenings pertaining to your business. Test out your marketing strategy and see what works best for your business before dumping your life savings into your shop. Look to some F&B establishments and get some ideas from them on how to market your business better.

4. Accounting For F&B

Know the kind of cuisine you want to sell to your customers before you even open shop. If it’s Asian (Chinese, Indian, Malay etc.), stick to Asian for the time-being. If it’s Western, adhere to Western for the time being. You can branch out and diversify once you have garnered enough awareness and wish to promote a wider variety to your audience. Most of all, ensure that you have enough savings in your budget to account for all the necessary food items before you even commence your F&B business.

5. Location & Crowd Base (customers)

Before you decide on a location, decide on your target audience. Spend some time on surveying different locations to see if your target demographic frequents the area you intend to set up shop. Avoid rushing into decisions when choosing a location. It is easy to make the mistake of compromising on location due to rent or impatience.

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