Starting a Restaurant in Singapore (Part 2)

Part 1 of starting a restaurant in Singapore gave a birds-eye view of the primary legalities for opening a restaurant in Singapore. Having completed the initial phase, your restaurant can head start the operations and as you progress, the other miscellaneous formalities will need to be completed, some of which is within your discretionary purview.

Halal Certification

To seize a slice of the market when opening a restaurant in Singapore, where Muslims constitute a significant proportion (13.3% of the population), it pays to be a Halal certified establishment provided that you restaurant can keep up with the rigorous stipulations laid by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) – the authority for Halal certification in Singapore.

The fee for Halal certification for restaurants varies from S$705 to S$990 (excluding GST) depending on the floor area. All new applications for Halal certification are to be made online.

Liquor License

If before or after starting your restaurant business in Singapore, you wish to add an extra zing to your service by serving liquor in your restaurant, you would require a Liquor License. Retail of liquor including beer in restaurants would require a Liquor License from the Liquor Licensing Board.

Applications can be submitted online and the license will be issued for a period of 2 years. For liquors served in the premises of the restaurant, the license is of 2 types namely, public house license and Beer house license.

Depending on the retail hours the public house license is classified into first and second class license. The fee for the license varies from S$520 to S$1600 for a period of two years. An application with all the required supporting documents submitted can be processed within 14 days.

License for Importing Food Ingredients

As a restaurant serving specialty food, you may have to bring in some indigenous ingredients from other country. If you intend to import processed food products and food appliances, you need to apply for a Registration Number with the Food Control Division (FCD) of Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Processed food products includes raw spices, raw or semi processed food ingredients, flour, bottled water, liquors, wines, confectioneries, noodles & pasta, beverages, etc. The objective behind this license is to ensure the safety of food entering Singapore.

Note that you must first obtain the general import/export licence (called Central Registration (CR) Number) from Singapore Customs before applying for the Registration Number with FCD.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registration

The government of Singapore levies a tax on consumption of goods and services called GST and the tax is paid when money is spent on goods or services, including imports. Any business that has annual revenue of S$1million or more must register for GST.

If at anytime after starting your Singapore restaurant, you determine that you will be exceeding the annual turnover of S$1 million, you are required to register for GST and you must apply within 30 days of becoming liable. If you estimate that your annual restaurant revenue will be less than S$1 million then it is left to your discretion to register for GST.

Currently the GST is charged at the rate of 7% on the price of the goods or services sold. Once your Singapore restaurant is registered with GST, you will have to charge the GST to your clients. At the time of filing the GST returns, such GST charged is deducted from the GST your restaurant has paid towards the supplies purchased. The difference is the GST payable by your restaurant to IRAS or the amount to be refunded by the IRAS to you.

For more details on GST, see Singapore Goods and Services Tax (GST) guide.

Good Luck!

With the information covered in this two-part guide, you are well on your way to a dream journey of starting your restaurant business in Singapore. You can take the business in full gear and serve mouth watering food to your clientele and win their hearts. Singapore is a foodie’s paradise and good food is sure to get the patronage it deserves.

Need help with tax matters?

If you would like professional administrative support for your business in Singapore, Hawksford can help. Request a quote now to take your business to the next level.

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