Complete Guide To F&B Licenses In Singapore – And How Much They Cost

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Ever thought of opening a restaurant, kick-starting a catering business, or running a cafe or bar? You are not alone.

But before you spend a single dollar on renovations, purchasing equipment, or hiring staff, there are mandatory licenses that you need to apply for depending on your food and beverage concept.

Here’s a guide to help you better understand the different types of licenses you will need and how much they will cost.

#1 Food Shop License

You have to apply for and have a food shop license approved prior to setting up your F&B establishment. The food shop license is tied to the physical outlet, and any previous licensee will have to write in to cancel the license before a new application is approved.

Before applying for a food license, the applicant will have to ensure that they satisfy the specifications in a pre-application checklist, which includes documentary, food shop design, and hygiene requirements.

Cost: $195 (valid for 1 year)

How To Apply: Singapore Food Agency.

#2 WSQ Food Hygiene Course

Food handlers need to apply for this course to get certified for handling food. The WSQ course consists of 6 hours of course work and 1.5 hours of assessment. A Statement of Attainment (SOA) will be awarded to participants upon completion. Food handlers who were registered and awarded more than 5 years ago can attend a refresher training course.

You can attend the course provided by any of the SSG-accredited training providers listed here.

Cost: $18 – $40.50 (depending on company and amount of sponsorship)

How To Apply: Apply via the Singapore Food Agency.

#3 Liquor License

The Liquor License is required if you intend to sell liquors or beers. There are several classes of the license you can apply for. Under the Customs (Liquors Licensing) Regulations, any sales of intoxicating liquors in Singapore will require a liquor license issued by the Liquors Licensing Board (LLB).

There are 8 classes of licensing available, which determine the hours, where, how, and for what purposes you can supply and distribute liquor in your premises.

Cost: Between $110 to $880 (valid for 1 year), depending on the category of license you’re applying for.

How To Apply: Go to the Singapore Police Force website.

#4 MUIS Halal Certification License

Before applying for a MUIS Halal certification license, there are 3 requirements your food establishment must meet:

Halal requirements: raw materials used must be Halal and substantiated with supporting documents

Staffing requirements: a minimum of 2 or 3 Muslim staff employed in each premise with a Halal certification application. A minimum of 3 staff are required for catering or central kitchen services

System requirements: the applicant must comply with the 10 principles of the Singapore Muis Halal Quality Management System (HalMQ)

Cost: $80.25 to $1,219.80 for food establishmentsRead more on the details and classification of different levels of MUIS Halal Certification licenses.

How To Apply: Submit on LicenseOne, and wait for the auditor to inspect, and subsequently send an application to Muis if requirements are met.

#5 ACRA / Incorporation License

The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) or Incorporation License is a license you will need to attain if you want to get your business incorporated.

An ACRA license is required if you are carrying out any activity for profit on an ongoing basis. The minimum age for registration is 18 years old. There are several benefits to getting incorporated, including:

– Allowing members of public to search and verify information about your business and its owners

– Allowing you to join in government tenders and secure intellectual property or patents for new products and technology

– Allowing your business access to government funding such as those under Enterprise Singapore.

You must register a business if you are carrying out any activity for profit on an ongoing basis unless you are exempted (see below). The minimum age for registration is 18 years old.

Cost: $300.

How To Apply: Apply on BizFile+, the business filing portal of ACRA.

#5 Import License

Generally, an import license is usually required for food traders. However, you are also required to apply for one if you are doing any of the following for your F&B establishment:

– Importing, exporting or transshipping meat and fish products

– Importing or transshipping fresh fruits and vegetables

– Importing fresh table eggs

Different licenses are required depending on the type of food you import. To get a better idea of which license is required, you can look at the classification of food and food products.

Cost: $84 to $378 (valid for 1 year), depending on the type of food product you are importing.

How To Apply: Apply via the GoBusiness licensing website.

#6 Public Entertainment License

F&B establishments sometimes include entertainment such as karaoke machines, TVs, crane game machines. These require entertainment licenses. The licensing conditions and guidelines differ depending on the type of entertainment provided.

Cost: $44 to $960 (depending on whether you require entertainment on an adhoc or regular basis).

How To Apply: GoBusiness licensing website.

Unlock Additional Industry Grants And Incentives 

Applying for a license may seem like a hassle to some, and also an additionally incurred cost. However, having your F&B establishment recognised via some of these licenses may also mean that you are eligible for grants or government funding by Enterprise or Spring Singapore.

Examples of some grants F&B business can tap on include:

  • Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) which provides up to 80% funding support to adopt IT processes and equipment to start your automation process.
  • ESG Food Delivery Booster Package via a Capability Development Pack valued at over $1,500 when you onboard your F&B business with Deliveroo, foodpanda and GrabFood.
  • Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) to support projects that upgrade your business, innovate and venture overseas, on up to 90% of eligible costs.
  • Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) which is specifically for the F&B and retail sectors, to receive up to $10,000 to adopt eligible digital solutions.
  • The Hawker Productivity Grant (HPG) to fund up to 80% of automation equipment.
  • Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) to hire local employees, with a salary support of 50% for workers 40 and above and 25% for those under 40.

This is an inexhausitve list, and there may be other grants your F&B business can also tap on. You can visit the Go Business GovAssist website to find out more.

In certain cases, you can even apply for incentives available in the food industry, which may go a long way in helping to boost the F&B business you’re setting up.

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