How to set up F&B Cafe in Singapore
How to set up F&B Cafe in Singapore
Are you one of those cafe hoppers who enjoy the nice ambiance and great coffee that comes with it? Singapore is seeing a new wave of specialty coffee places and there has been a great demand for cafes that offer high quality coffee and a nice quiet place to just chill and catch up with friends.
You have seen many cafes doing well and you are able to cook up some good meals or some goodies, you believe you are able to run a money making cafe and want to start one of your own.
As an entrepreneur, are you interseted in starting up one for yourself and manage it for interest and also for profits?
We will be preparing a simple guide for you to kick start your journey
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 1:
Decide yourself or with your partners the preferred name for your business. Find something catchy that can be easily remembered or something that is more hipster. Hipster cafes are popular this days. Do check that your company name URL is available as well. You wont want to be competing with another local brand or overseas brand for the URL.
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 2:
Find a good location for your F&B Business. This is the most important work that needs to be done, whether a business works out or not, the location is the most important factor. If you are deciding between town centre at say $10 psf versus outskirt of town for $2 psf you may want to consider the more expensive and much higher traffic location. Rental should not be the core reason for your business because all other cost is still about the same, such as your materials, your manpower and administrative cost. If you are saving on rental, you are also missing out on good traffic which is very important to a Food and Beverage business. Without good traffic, you wont be able to make sales targets or even enough in the first few months to cover rental and with bad cash flow you may end up closing down your business prematurely even if you deliver good value and good food to your clients.
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 3:
Negotiate the terms of the rental, are you able to operate to later hours? Are you able to do changes to the decor of the area? If is in the HDB area, are you allowed to put materials on the walk path ? (You may need to pay the town council or HDB for the use of such spaces). The more benefits you get out of the rental, the longer you can go with your limited resources. You may also want to find out how the zoning around the area works, if you are able to sell alcohol, maybe that will help you boost sales?
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 4:
Get your license application on the way the moment you sign your rental. Before you do so, maybe you could consult the landlord or the agent and find out if this location has been used as a Food and Beverage business location in the past or even the previous tenant. If the location was previously used for food, then the NEA license would be a lot easier to attain. NEA has a set of requirements that you need to achieve and they are mostly quite easy to achieve. you can find out more about the licensing here: http://www.nea.gov.sg/services-forms/licences-permits-building-plan-clearances/food-retail-industry/food-stall-licence
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 5:
Are you a qualified food handler? If you are not then you will have to go for the food handlers license course as there is a requirement for partners to have the license. Food handlers licenses is a full day theory and practical course, you will learn skills on preparing food in an hygienic way and also how to store food. All food handlers, even if you are doing a take away store have to have the license, if any of your staff is found without the license and operating you may risk losing the food stall license of yours. Click here to find out about the Food handlers license: http://www.wda.gov.sg/content/wdawebsite/L207-AboutWSQ/L301-WSQIndustryFramework-FoodandBeverage/WSQ_Follow_FnB_Safety_and_Hygiene_Policies_and_Procedures.html
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 6:
Renovations of the store will start once you have your location settled, it is always prefered to negotiate a two weeks or one month free rental period, you could take the time to finish up your renovations and also to make preparations before opening, if you are ready before the one month is up, you could even start operating earlier and save up on a few days of rental. When it comes to renovation, try to find something that fits your theme and is very long lasting and sturdy. Some furniture may be beautiful but when things spill, you may end up having to change them within a few months times and that is not cost effective at all.
There are also some fixtures like additional washing basins as required by NEA, so do factor them in and also ensuring that the food preparation area is away from the customer so that the chances of food contamination is much lower.
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 7:
Marketing is very important for a new cafe, flyers and posters are must ! Distribute them to neighboring blocks and also to have someone distribute flyers to persons walking around the shop and maybe a few steps away to draw attention to your new store. You could do free samples or even launch day/week specials just to get your initial base up. Friends and family are also important in driving traffic to your business. People enjoy going to places where many others go to, so if you have a queue, you will get a longer queue. So CREATE THE QUEUE !
Set Up F&B Cafe Step 8:
Branding also has to come into place when it comes to who ventures to your place. Once you are able to stabilize your cash flow, remembers to reach out to influencers, this people have followers who may just follow them on their eating journeys. Invite them for food tasting and ask them along for openings and gatherings, their follower base of a few thousand may be what you need to kick start your business.
All the best with starting your cafe and good luck !
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