Which license to choose for an F&B business in Singapore?

Which license to choose for an F&B business in Singapore?

Singapore is famous for its large offering of food: from South-East Asia specialties to Western classics, anything you may want is available. But all these F&B businesses (Food and Beverage) are regulated by specific governmental agencies that are the guaranties of the hygiene and quality of their services.

First steps to open your F&B Business

Like every other business, your F&B company must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and comply with its Companies Act.

You can read more about the different types of business entities available for registration in our article. The most common entity for an F&B business is the private limited company.

Once you are registered with ACRA, you also need to register with the Central Provision Fund (CPF). Contributions to CPF is mandatory for all employers in Singapore, as it is the social security system thanks to which Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents can save funds for their retirement. 

Food Shop license

This license is necessary to every F&B Company and is issued by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) since the 1st April 2019 (it was done by the National Environment Agency before). It is mandatory for retailing food and/or drinks. The location and layout of the restaurant must have been prepared beforehand as the authorities will conduct a pre-licensing inspection of the premises after the completion of renovations and installation of equipment.  

The application is made online and the process can vary from 1 week to a few months. It costs S$195 and is valid for a year. The length of the process can be affected by the result of the pre-licensing inspection of the premises. If everything is in order, an in-principle approval will be given to you as well as a list of hygiene requirements for compliance.

Your application for the Food Shop License must also include the following documentation:

  • The approval from the land agency, e.g. URA or HDB ;
  • The tenancy agreement (required at the final stage of application. You are 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.)
  • Details of applicant
  • Basic food hygiene certificate/ Refresher food hygiene certificate of food handlers ;
  • Food hygiene officer certificate (for Food caterers, Restaurants, Food courts and Canteens only) ;
  • Cleaning program ;
  • Layout plan of premises (in scaled metrics units) ;
  • Letter of authorization (when submission of application is not done by intended licensee/director of company holding the license) ;
  • 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 Establishments” course. (For Food Caterers & premises with permission to cater only). Refer to the following link for more details ;
  • 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 ;
  • Cleaning program for catering vehicle.

If you are taking over an existing food outlet, the previous licensee must first cancel their license by writing before your application can be approved.

Foreign workers

Depending on your targeted clientele, you may want to diversify your workforce with foreign workers. In that case, you will need to obtain a work pass for them.

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) policy, only company entities are allowed to employ foreign workers. Therefore, the food shop license must be registered in the name of the company, as license issued in an individual (e.g. Director) will not be acceptable for a work pass application.

Other licenses depending on your F&B Business type

You may need to apply to other licenses specific to the type of F&B business you are looking to open. The most common ones are the following:

  • Liquor license: if you intend to serve alcohol in your establishment, you need to apply online on the Singapore Police Force website. Depending on the license class, it costs between S$285 and S$880 for a year.
  • Import license: if you intend to import food from overseas to serve in your restaurant, you must be licensed or registered with SFA. Different licenses are available depending on the kind of food you wish to import.
  • Entertainment license: if you intend to provide public entertainments in your business, like karaoke, TV, diffusing sport matches, etc., you need to apply for a license with the Singapore Police Force.
  • Halal eating establishment license: if you intend to serve food prepared according to Islamic law for Muslims, you need a certification from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. The application is available online.

Ace Success can help

Ace Success can help you apply for the necessary license to open your business and provide any corporate services you may need in the running of your business.

Our dedicated team of professionals looks forward to meeting you and to offer our expertise, attention to detail, personalized service and efficiency to build a long lasting relationship.

Contact us to find out more about our services and the ways we can help you and your business succeed.

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