Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Starting a food business in Singapore (Coffeeshop stall)

Starting a business is simple but sustaining and growing one is not. I’m no expert but here is part of my point of view starting a food business in Singapore after starting a coffeeshop stall.

~The Concept~

The one and only question you must ask yourself… What makes you special?

Differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition. No matter selling chicken rice or laksa, what makes you so special?

You should always have an extra edge over competition to be successful.

If you are selling bah kut teh, the soup must be robust, flavourful and has body. Side dishes are also important as supporting characters are what complete the story.

Thinking of using cheap rice to cut cost? Adam road nasi lemak uses basmati rice to stand out from the rest. Every component counts. But even with the most premium ingredient and you still make it taste ordinary, don't waste your time.

~The Location~

If you found the thing that makes you stand out from the competition, next you need the location that makes it work. Selling chicken rice at Maxwell food center (Super famous Tian Tian Chicken rice) or selling bbq seafood (more then 20 stalls selling the same thing) at Newton food center will most probably not work no matter how good you are when there is too much or too strong of a competition. Instead of direct competition, why not sell something new or unique to the area to stand out from the rest?

Know who you want to target (Office crowd/students/families), rental that makes sense for the amount of human traffic, and set a realistic price range for the targeted audience. Office crowd can afford a foie gras salad and steak for lunch, can a student afford the same thing?

~The Capital~

There are so many ways to gather capital.

- Personal Savings
- Borrow from parents / siblings / relatives
- Partnership with friends
- Angel Investors
- Spring Singapore

However always think carefully and always plan for the worst. Are you willing to lose everything and be in debt? What are your plan b? where is the threshold that you need to windup and sell off everything to minimize loss?

~The Process~

The process of registering a business and getting the relevant license is rather easy. Just visiting a couple of website will do.

As for NEA requirements, you have to work closely with your tenant/landlord and provide NEA with relevant documents (blueprints/food hygiene certifications).


Google and yellow page are your best friends. However when you have a few years in the food industry, you know who are the major players and the price range they can offer you.

I used to work in a restaurant where I get the chance to chat with the supplier making friends with them and it proves to be an important connection. They are the first who grant me credit term and better price for the products then listed in the price list.

~Show time~

Running a business? Work in progress, still a learning experience for me.

There is so much more to cover, but only real life experience of setting up a business will tell.


  1. Hi there, I just googled how to start a coffee shop stall business and I found you here. I'm wondering could I get a stall license before I found the location for my business.

    1. contact me thru email, maybe i can help you somehow

  2. Hi there! I'm thinking of starting a food stand in Singapore. is it possible? and what are the procedures involved to do that?

    1. if you planning to start a food stand in Singapore, you need to know about its local contents and taste such as do they consume on your products, etc. You can check lots of informations and procedures from and

  3. I'm wondering could I get a stall license before I found the location for my business also what are the procedures involved to do that?

  4. Your design of the blog is really eye-catching. More over the content is also very productive.
    Information you have provided is really very beneficial.
    Get more information

    China Sourcing Trip
    china sourcing

    wholesalers in china

    sourcing products in china

  5. Juz wondering how much is the average cost of setting up a hawker stall? Anyone knows?

  6. depends on the location you looking for. NEA has everything for you to check on. Hotlines are there.

  7. Hi, this is an outstanding post!! really very informative information you have provided us about Food Business in Singapore . Nice post worth reading, Thank you for this post.

    set up company singapore

  8. Can I hold a part-time job while setting up a business?

  9. Hi, this is an outstanding post !! your blog is very nice i am regular reader of your blog its very informatic for
    Business Setup Singapore

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Starting a food business in Singapore article is very useful thank you for shearing.

  12. As a Payroll Outsourcing Company in Singapore, gives web based bookkeeping, corporate duty, corporate secretarial, finance framework and outsourcing administration. Here are possibilities for the Starting a business in Singapore, Start business in Singapore, Register an organization in Singapore, How to begin a business in Singapore, how to set up an organization in Singapore, how to enroll an organization in Singapore; enlist an organization in Singapore and Business registration Singapore.

  13. If you want to start a business in Singapore then make sure to compile a Singapore business email list so that you can do email marketing and tell people more about your business and offerings.

  14. Thanks for sharing this post! actually there are many procedure to start business when you got your business idea. But first you need to set up a company in your specific country. To set up a business in a foreign country, you need to go through some procedure. The procedure includes company registration in Malaysia or any other country, trademark registration, WRT license , Income tax file registration, Environment license, Sign Board and Premises license, export and import license etc. If you face any difficulties starting business in foreign country, be sure to contact us.