How To Start a Restaurant in Singapore & What To Consider

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  • Concept and market research are essential for a successful restaurant startup in Singapore. 
  • Carefully consider the type of cuisine, ambiance, target audience, and capital/financing needed. 
  • Adhere to local hygiene and building codes by ensuring pest control, temperature control, and personal hygiene standards are met. 
  • With correct planning and research, you can create a unique restaurant experience that stands out in Singapore’s crowded market.

Singapore is a foodie haven, and it’s no wonder that new restaurant startups flock to the city-state every year. However, starting a restaurant is no child’s play. You don’t want to be caught off guard when the going gets tough. Here are some crucial factors you must consider before starting a restaurant in Singapore early on.

Concept and Market Research

Before you decide to start a restaurant, it’s crucial to decide on a concept. Once you’ve decided on your restaurant’s concept, do thorough market research. This information will be incredibly valuable in designing your restaurant and menu. Here are some details that will solely rely on your concept:

Type of Cuisine

A restaurant’s cuisine is essential in determining the customer base, overall culture, and concept. Selecting a type of cuisine that speaks to you and your team is crucial, as it will be the foundation for everything you create. Research the type of cuisine thoroughly in order to understand the flavors and ingredients that go into it.


The ambiance of a restaurant is also vital, as it sets the mood from the moment a customer walks in. Singaporeans are incredibly discerning in design and aesthetics, so make sure your restaurant stands out and creates an unforgettable atmosphere. Think carefully about the design elements such as lighting, colors, furniture, and art that create a particular ambiance.

Target Audience

When it comes to selecting a target audience, it’s essential to know who you are targeting and why. Depending on the type of cuisine, some restaurants may be more suitable for specific age groups or income levels. Taking the time to study the demographics of your area and customers will help you create a restaurant that appeals to a particular clientele.

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Capital and Financing

Starting a restaurant requires significant capital. You need to calculate your startup costs, which include rent, renovation, equipment, raw materials, licensing fees, and employees.

Then, you need to find financing. You can seek investors, apply for loans, or choose to bootstrap and start with your own savings. For instance, you can look into government grants and other support schemes.

In some cases, you may require additional partners or investors. If you do choose to partner with someone, make sure to draft a legally binding agreement that outlines the roles and responsibilities of all involved parties.

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Hygiene and Building Codes

Hygiene is a top priority for restaurants in Singapore, and all establishments must adhere to the stringent codes prescribed by the National Environment Agency (NEA). To ensure compliance, NEA conducts regular inspections of business premises and will issue temporary closure orders if businesses fail to comply. Here are some hygiene and building codes in Singapore:

Food and Beverage (F&B) Pest Control

Good hygiene and health safety are important factors to consider in any restaurant setting. In Singapore, F&B pest control is critical to ensure that your business is in compliance. This involves regularly inspecting premises for signs of pests, as well as implementing effective pest management and preventive measures, such as proper storage of food items.

Temperature Control

Temperature control is an important factor to consider when starting a restaurant in Singapore. In order to ensure food safety and hygiene, it’s essential to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels throughout the kitchen and dining area.

Temperature control also helps preserve perishable ingredients, which can save costs in the long run. To meet NEA standards, restaurants must install an effective temperature monitoring system with sensors located throughout the kitchen and dining areas.

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is of utmost importance in a restaurant setting. To ensure that customers are served safe and hygienic food, all staff must adhere to personal hygiene standards.

This includes washing hands regularly and using protective clothing such as gloves and hairnets when handling food. It is also vital for staff to practice proper food cleaning techniques, such as sanitizing surfaces and utensils after each use.

Starting a restaurant in Singapore requires careful planning, adequate research, and significant financial investment. By considering the above factors, you can ensure a smoother startup process and set yourself up for success. Remember, it’s not just about having great food — location, licensing, marketing, and concept are all equally important in making your restaurant stand out in a crowded market.

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