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Food Catering License

Updated: Mar 20



Food Catering License


There's no specific "food caterer license" in Singapore. The type of license you need depends on your catering operation's nature and scale. Here's a general guideline:


  • Food Shop License: This is the most common license for caterers. It's required for businesses that prepare and sell cooked food for consumption, either on-site or off-site. This applies to catering businesses with a central kitchen.


The licensing process is handled by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). You can find details on their website, including eligibility requirements, application procedures, and fees.


Here are some additional requirements to keep in mind:


  • Food Hygiene Course: You and your staff must attend and pass an approved food hygiene course.

  • Premises Suitability: The SFA will inspect your premises to ensure they meet hygiene and safety standards. This includes proper ventilation, waste disposal, and adequate workspace.

  • Food Safety Management System: You'll need to implement a documented food safety management system to ensure safe food handling practices.


Remember, operating a food catering business without a valid license is an offense. So make sure to get all the necessary permits before you start your business.


Eligibility & Requirements


In Singapore, to be eligible for a Food Shop Licence, you'll need to meet the criteria set by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Here's a breakdown of the key aspects:


Eligibility:


  • Business Entity: Your business must be a:

  • Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident (for individuals)

  • Company registered with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

  • Association/Society registered with the Registrar of Societies


Requirements:


  • Medisave Contributions (Self-employed only): Ensure your Medisave contributions are up-to-date if you're a self-employed applicant.

  • Hygiene Course: You and your staff must attend and pass an approved food hygiene course.

  • Premises Suitability: The SFA will inspect your premises to ensure they meet hygiene and safety standards. This includes proper ventilation, waste disposal, and adequate workspace.

  • Food Safety Management System: You'll need to implement a documented system outlining safe food handling practices.

  • Supporting Documents: Prepare the necessary documents for your application, which may include:

  • Completed application form

  • Business registration documents (ACRA or relevant society registration)

  • Tenancy agreement or valid lease for your premises

  • Layout plan of your food shop

  • Food hygiene course certificates (yours and staff)

  • Detailed business proposal (if applicable)


Application Procedures


Here's a breakdown of the general steps involved:


1. Apply Online:


  • Visit the GoBusiness website

  • Click on "Licences and Permits" and then "Apply for New Licence."

  • From the list, select "Browse All Licences" and find the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) section.

  • Choose "Food Shop Licence" and proceed with the online application.


2. Obtain In-Principle Approval (IPA):


  • Complete the online application form thoroughly, ensuring all required fields are filled.

  • Upload the necessary documents, which may include:

  • Business registration documents (ACRA or relevant society registration)

  • Tenancy agreement or valid lease for your premises

  • Layout plan of your food shop meeting SFA specifications

  • Food hygiene course certificates (yours and staff)

  • Detailed business proposal (if applicable)

  • Certificate of Stamp Duty issued by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) (new requirement as of September 2022)


The SFA will review your application. If everything is in order, they will issue an In-Principle Approval (IPA) within 7 working days. This signifies they have no objections to your food shop, allowing you to proceed with renovations.


3. Renovation & Set-up (After IPA):


  • Upon receiving the IPA, you can begin renovating your premises according to the approved layout plan.


4. Request for Inspection (After Renovation):


  • Once renovations are complete, the SFA website mentions a "Request for Inspection" step. It's recommended to contact the SFA directly to inquire about the specific inspection procedures for your case.


5. Complete Payment & Licence Issuance:


  • After a successful inspection and any outstanding requirements are met, you will be notified to pay the licensing fee.

  • Once payment is complete, the SFA will issue your official Food Shop Licence.


Additional Tips:


  • Refer to the SFA's "New Food Shop Licence Application Guide" PDF for detailed information on required documents and layout plan specifications

  • Consider contacting the SFA directly for any clarifications or if you encounter issues during the application process.


By following these steps and using the resources provided, you should be able to navigate the application procedures for a Food Shop Licence in Singapore.


Fees


The fee for a Food Shop Licence in Singapore is S$195. This is an annual fee and needs to be renewed every year to maintain a valid license for your food catering business.


Here's where you can find this information:


  • Singapore Food Agency (SFA) Website: The eligibility and requirements page for the Food Shop Licence mentions the validity period and a link to the GoBusiness website

  • GoBusiness Website: The GoBusiness website clarifies the fee amount. You can find this information under "How much does the food shop licence cost and how long is the validity?" in the FAQ section for the Food Shop Licence


Additional Tips:


  • Contact the SFA directly for any clarifications or if you have trouble navigating their website.

  • Consider consulting a qualified food safety consultant to ensure your catering business meets all the necessary regulations.


Additional Resources:


The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) website provides comprehensive information on the Food Shop Licence:


  • Eligibility & Requirements

  • Application Procedures: The general application process for SFA licenses can be found on the GoBusiness website


By following these guidelines and referring to the SFA website for the latest information, you can increase your chances of obtaining a Food Shop Licence for your food catering business in Singapore.


How Bestar can Help


Bestar would handle the direct application process for your food catering license in Singapore. We can be a valuable asset in your journey. Here's how Bestar might assist you:


  • Indirect Licensing Help: While we can't submit the application themselves, Bestar can guide you through the paperwork and ensure it's completed accurately. This can save you time and prevent delays in the licensing process.

  • Compliance Expertise:  Food catering businesses have specific regulations regarding finances and record-keeping set by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Bestar's knowledge of these regulations can ensure your business adheres to them, avoiding potential fines or license suspension.

  • Financial Planning for Licensing:  Obtaining a license often involves fees and inspections. Bestar can help you estimate these costs and plan your finances accordingly. Additionally, we might advise on any potential financial assistance programs available for food businesses.

  • Post-License Support:  Once you have your license, Bestar can provide ongoing support with your business finances. This includes bookkeeping, tax filing (including Goods and Services Tax - GST), and ensuring you meet all ongoing financial obligations.


Here's what you can do next:


  • Contact Bestar. Explain your situation and inquire about our services specifically for food catering businesses. We can tailor our support to your needs.


By combining Bestar's expertise with the SFA's resources, you can secure your food catering license with confidence and manage your business finances effectively.




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