From heartland hawkers and small cafes to Michelin-starred and local restaurants, Singapore is home to over 14,000 F&B services1.

Unsurprisingly, financial challenges often pose a significant hurdle in Singapore as only 60% of smaller F&B businesses pull through the five-year mark because of the rising manpower costs and rental fees 2.

Whether you are planning to open a new restaurant or expand your current concept, capital is needed to make it all happen. Before diving into the F&B grants and loans available, this article will help you understand the costs of opening or running a restaurant, so you can select the best solution suited for your business.

Costs of opening and running a restaurant in Singapore

1. Rental Fees

Everyone knows that finding the perfect space is like discovering a secret ingredient that sets their establishment apart. The consideration of rental fees holds a vital place in the jigsaw puzzle of opening and running a restaurant in Singapore.

With dreams taking various shapes and sizes, the cost of that space varies based on your vision.

Rental fees can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities. The average restaurant rent makes up around 5% to 10% of a restaurant’s monthly costs3.

Prime areas tend to have higher rental costs, so it's essential to carefully evaluate your budget and research different locations to find the right balance between cost and potential foot traffic.

2. Renovation

Embarking on the journey of opening and running a restaurant in Singapore requires careful consideration of renovation costs. 

The cost of restaurant renovation will vary depending on the location, size, style, and the extent of renovations.

With the average cost ranging from $200 to $250 per square foot4, transforming a space into an inviting culinary haven demands prudent planning and collaboration with reliable contractors.

While detailed plans and smart investments can help save costs, certain essential upgrades in equipment, electrical systems, plumbing, or insulation should not be scrimped on, especially if it involves the safety of your staff or customers.

Strike a balance between creativity and pragmatism to bring your culinary vision to life, creating a space that captivates diners whilst maintaining financial sustainability.

3. Licenses and Permits

In Singapore, it is essential to obtain different licenses for the type of establishment you are building.

Let's take a look at the different types of licenses and permits you might need to apply for:

  • Food Shop License: As long as your business sells consumables, you will have to apply for this license. It costs S$195 per year.
  • Basic Food Hygiene Course: Every member of your team that handles food must undergo this training where it is priced at S$21.40 for Singaporeans and S$107 for foreigners.
  • Second Class Liquor License: If you decide to serve alcohol, you will need to obtain this license that costs S$1,320 for 2 years.

Grants and business loans for F&B businesses

Everyone knows that the F&B industry in Singapore is a challenging environment to thrive in — with fierce competition, soaring overhead costs, and the ongoing impact of inflation, keeping an F&B business afloat can be an uphill battle.

However, amidst these trials, the Singapore government provides an array of incentives and grants specifically designed to provide much-needed financial support to F&B businesses.

Let’s dive into the various grants and reliefs available for your restaurant.


Government grants for F&B businesses

1. Energy Efficiency Grant (EEG)

The EEG aims to assist businesses operating in the Food Services, Food Manufacturing, or Retail sectors in managing the challenges of escalating energy expenses.

This grant offers co-funding opportunities to enable these businesses, particularly SMEs, to invest in energy-efficient equipment that covers a variety of pre-approved energy-efficient equipment categories, including LED lighting, air-conditioners, cooking hobs, refrigerators, water heaters, and clothes dryers.

By encouraging the adoption of such equipment, the EEG aims to promote sustainable practices while providing financial relief to eligible businesses.


  • A business entity registered and operating in Singapore in the Food Services, Food Manufacturing or Retail sectors as defined below;
  • Food Services companies must have valid Singapore Food Agency (SFA) licences and be classified under SSICs 56 or 68104.
  • Food Manufacturing companies must have valid SFA licences and be classified under SSIC 10 or 11.
  • Retail companies that are classified under SSIC 47.
  • A minimum of 30% local shareholding.
  •  The Company’s Group annual sales turnover should be no more than S$100 million, OR Company’s Group employment size should be no more than 200 employees.
  • The equipment purchased must be used in Singapore.

Funding support

The EEG offers funding support of 70% of qualifying costs, up to a maximum of S$30,000 per company, for energy-efficient equipment in the pre-approved categories

2. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) provides backing for initiatives that empower you to enhance, innovate, expand, and revolutionize your business. To propel your venture forward, submit your individual project proposals, outlining your business plans and desired project outcomes.

EDG extends financial support for qualifying project costs, including third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower expenses, ensuring your business journey reaches new heights.


  • A business entity registered and operating in Singapore.
  • Business has at least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership.
  • Business is financially ready to start and complete the project.

Funding support

  • The EDG supports up to 50% of eligible costs for local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
  • Starting from 1st April 2023, SMEs are eligible to receive up to 50% support for EDG initiatives (with sustainability-related projects potentially receiving up to 70% support from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2026).

3. Healthier Dining Innovation Grant (HDI)

The HDIG is a grant designed to assist F&B operators, like yourself, in minimizing costs as you venture into developing healthier dishes.

This funding scheme encourages business owners to upgrade their capabilities in 4 areas — Research & Development, Purchase of Healthier Ingredients, Culinary Training, and Recipe Reformulation.

With HDIG, you can explore healthier culinary options with confidence, knowing that the grant is there to lend a helping hand in making your F&B establishment more health conscious.


Food Partners and/or Beverage Partners

  • With ≥ 3 outlets: Restaurants, Quick Service, Bakeries, Institutional Caterers, Cafés, Kiosks, Brand Chains (effective from 1 April 2023)
  • With ≥ 3 ordering platforms e.g., website, phone, email, mobile app: Event Caterers, Digital F&B Operators

Funding support

The HDI offers funding support of up to S$5,000.

4. Healthier Dining Grant (HDG)

The Healthier Dining Grant (HDG) is a co-funding initiative provided by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to offer support to their partners in the Healthier Dining Programme (HDP).

The grant aims to assist in the promotion and publicity of healthier menu items, encouraging F&B establishments to embrace healthier choices and promote a health-conscious dining experience.


  • You are eligible for the HDG as long as you are an HDP partner.
  • You can apply for the grant at any time during your period of participation as a HDP Partner.

Funding support

HPB offers reimbursement for up to 80% of the qualifying costs related to the production of in-store marketing materials and amendments to websites or apps, up to the approved grant amount, subject to applicable terms and conditions.

Business Loans for Restaurants

Business loans encompass a broad category of financing options tailored to meet the diverse needs of companies for various business purposes such as your restaurant.

Within this realm, you'll discover a wide array of loan types designed to address specific requirements, whether it's managing cash flow, fueling growth, acquiring machinery and equipment, or obtaining property loans.

Many major banks in Singapore such as DBS, UOB and OCBC offer a range of F&B loans and solutions as well.

You might be overwhelmed with the abundance of options but fret not as we cover the most common types of business loans below.

1. Enterprise Financing Scheme - SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL)

The EFS-WCL helps SMEs finance their operational cashflow needs. An SME is classified as a business with a group revenue of up to S$100 million or a maximum employment size of 200 employees.

Initially, the maximum loan quantum per borrower was S$300,000. However, from 1st October 2022 to 31st March 2024, this limit has been increased to S$500,000 per borrower, presenting even more substantial financial opportunities for SMEs.


  • Business entity registered and operating in Singapore
  • 30% local equity owned by Singaporeans/PRs
  • Company has a Group Annual Sales Turnover not exceeding S$500 million


2. SME Working Capital Loan (Banks)

This is a special type of business loan that's tailor-made to local SMEs with a maximum of 200 employees.

In partnership with banks, the Singapore government extends financial support of up to $800,000 per borrower, to be repaid within 1 to 5 years. To qualify, your business must be a Singapore-registered SME that is at least 30% owned by Singaporeans/PRs.

In addition, each bank DBS, UOB, Standard Chartered, Maybank and OCBC has their own eligibility criteria so you may check their website for more information that best fits your needs.


3. Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP)

This loan is another government-backed business financing initiative designed to provide relief during the Covid-19 outbreak, accessible to all businesses.

Singapore-registered companies, with at least 30% local ownership, are eligible to apply.

This loan offers a substantial amount of up to $1 million, accompanied by a flexible repayment period of up to 5 years6.


4. Startup Business Loan

This loan is sometimes referred to as a "first business loan," a scaled-down version of a regular business loan, offering a smaller cap, typically up to $100,0005. Unlike traditional business loans, a startup business loan is more accessible, making it easier for entrepreneurs to obtain financial assistance.

With reduced requirements, you can apply for this loan after just a few months of operation, without the need for a robust financial history. This makes the startup business loan an excellent option for budding entrepreneurs seeking the necessary funds to kickstart their culinary dream.


In the ever-evolving world of culinary artistry, financing and loans play a crucial role in shaping the dreams of visionary restaurant owners and F&B entrepreneurs in Singapore.

By understanding the costs involved and exploring available government grants for your F&B business, much due diligence needs to be undertaken to make a well-informed choice to alleviate some of your financial burdens.

With the right financial foundation, your culinary haven can shine as an inspiring beacon of taste and excellence.