Set Up Your Own Restaurant in 9 Simple Steps

Having set up my own restaurant from scratch and with little help around me, I want to share what I have learnt with future business owners like you. It was not an easy journey but it was one worth taking. These 10 steps will give you a comprehensive overview of the technicalities of setting up a restaurant in Singapore.

1. If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail

Come up with a business plan – the more comprehensive, the better. Don’t be lazy to note down all the gritty little details as well about your financial goals, budget, marketing strategy, pricing strategy, daily operations, vendor list, hiring and training rules as well as your standards for customer service.

Although this may all be ideals at this point of your operation, having a foundation for your standards and goals is important so that you can build upon it once your business is up and running.

2. Raise That Capital

Let’s face it – Singapore is not a cheap place to set up a restaurant in. High rental rates means that you need to get sufficient capital before opening your own business. 
A safe amount of capital is above $200 000 , not considering additional expenses such as marketing to raise awareness of your new restaurant as well as operational costs that can cost up to $40 000. 

You can choose to get support from the government since you are setting up a SME with their multiple grants which you can check out at this portal. You can also choose to take a personal loan as well and check out SingSaver for personal loans with the lowest possible rates.

3. Register With Your Local Government


For locals, use your Singpass to register your company at the Business Filing Portal of ACRA’s portal. As for foreigners, you will need to apply for a Entrepass with MOM first before getting a Singpass and repeating the same step.
When registering for my business, I chose to register it under the “Local Company” option. The next step is to click on “Apply for a New Company Name.” This will cost you $15 to set up.
After your company name has been registered on ACRA, the next step is to pay and incorporate your business with your reserved name under Bizfile. This will then cost about $50-$600 for locals and $300-$1200 for foreigners. 

Having trouble registering? Don’t hesitate to drop ACRA a call at +65 6248 6028.

4. Find Your Prime Location

Set up location in a neighbourhood you like and a neighbourhood you feel your restaurant can contribute to. This can be done through engaging with real estate agents that will consider all your preferences such as electrical requirements and how big you need the place to be.

5. Transform It Into The Restaurant of Your Dreams

Look for a good interior designer, architect and contractor and decide on what sort of theme and vibe you want for your restaurant. Tell them what you envision for your restaurant and get actively involved in the planning. 

Don’t stinge on this aspect of setting up your restaurant because it is the first thing that customers will see when they step in. No matter how good your food is, if the interior design of your restaurant is lackluster, the customer is less likely to come back.

6. More Nitty-Gritty Details

Don’t forget your licenses to operate! Check out EnterpriseOne for to search for the license your business needs. Below is a checklist of the basic licenses you need:
  •  Food Shop License
  •  Basic Food Hygiene Course
  •  Importing Foods
  •  Liquor License
  •  Halal License 
Don’t forget to register for CPF as an employer as well! So that you can contribute to your employees monthly salary, at 16%.

7. Don’t Forget Your Kitchen Equipment

The kitchen of your restaurant is where all the magic happens! So getting quality equipment that can last you for the next few years is important. 
To store all your ingredients: freezers, refrigeration units and a walk-in freezer. Walk in refrigerators are a blessing as they leftover food after closing time besides storing the meats.
To transform those ingredients into delicious meals: ovens, stoves, ranges, fryers, steam tables, cutting boards, safety gloves and cookware. 
Opening up my own restaurant all those years ago, I engaged with Bakers and Chefs to get a comprehensive list of brands and electronics for my restaurant. 

8. Get Your Team On Board!

The best way to find waiters and waitresses is through posting positions on JobStreet and FastJobs. These are the most frequently visited websites for job seekers and your posting is sure to fill up with applications in no time. But don’t forget to put up the good old fashion “Wanted! Service Crew and Kitchen Crew” poster outside your restaurant as well.
If you are looking for a more interactive way of looking for your next staff AskSteves is a new chatbot that helps students find part time jobs as well. Did I mention how cool their algorithms are as well? You will be getting relevant matches rather having to go through applications that are irrelevant to your requirements.

9. Celebrate Your Opening!

Set a date for your grand opening where you invite your friends, family and passersby on the street into your restaurant for cheap deals and samplings.
Don’t be afraid to run ads on social media as well to get yourself out there! Then you can proceed to set up a Facebook and Instagram page to engage with the community and remind them of how delicious your food is.  
Actionable Takeaway:
Opening a restaurant takes a lot – but it does not have to be a daunting process. Also make sure that you have sufficient time and money to dedicate to this venture because half-hearted effort and cutting corners will not do you or your pocket any good in the long run. 

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