Starting a Restaurant/Bistro/Cafe


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Jan 17, 2009
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#1
Anyone has any experience in starting a restaurant/bistro/cafe in Singapore?

I'm currently looking to start one ideally in the city area ie. Bugis, Clarke Quay... Something not too big, say about 800-1000 sqft, serving some simple western cuisine. Any idea what the likely startup costs would be?

Or if anyone has an available space for rent (suitable for such a purpose), you could also pm with information.

Any advice from F&B entrepreneurs would be welcomed too!
 

Benji77

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Feb 18, 2006
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#2
Very early in year 2002, me and a few buddies sat down and brainstormed for a little cafe like yours. With a moderate menu of drinks to main courses, we calculated the start up cost as well as funds to survive at least for 6 months.

It ran up to about S$120,000. EASILY. I think it was higher, but I cannot remember the exact figure.

Your menu is a key consideration, followed by the style of your cafe.

Good luck!
 

hotwork77

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Jun 21, 2009
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#3
Anyone has any experience in starting a restaurant/bistro/cafe in Singapore?

I'm currently looking to start one ideally in the city area ie. Bugis, Clarke Quay... Something not too big, say about 800-1000 sqft, serving some simple western cuisine. Any idea what the likely startup costs would be?

Or if anyone has an available space for rent (suitable for such a purpose), you could also pm with information.

Any advice from F&B entrepreneurs would be welcomed too!
Good to hear someone wants to start a F&B. In that premium area, you are looking at a minimum rental of $5,000 per month. Assuming you hire a cashier, a waiter, a sous chef, you set youself back around $5,000 in salaries + up to $1,000 in CPF contributions. That's your simple running cost.

Before your start, you need to renovate and decorate the premises. That's will set you back between $40,000 to $70,000. These are just simple rough costs. There's hidden expenditure like utilities and stationary that would set you back about $500 per month.

Ask yourself thses questions:
(1) Would you be just another cafe serving western food?
(2) What is so special with your food that I cannot get it elsewhere?
(3) How much would you be charging your guests?
(4) What is the seating capacity? Too little and you cannot earn enough to cover your expenses. Too much and your place is very cramped.
(5) How deep is your pocket?

In the end, you can use up $300,000 very quickly in less than 6 months. I know of a hawker who earns $15,000 a month selling home made curry puffs gave up after 3 years because he finds it not worthwhile to do it. His profit after paying off all the expenses works out to $2,500 a month which is what a salesman earns.

If you have no idea what the startup cost is like, you probably are not ready.
 

izerkudie

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Jan 1, 2010
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#4
fyi, clarkquay is one of the most expensive place to start a f&b business:sweat: need almost sgd 1million, + the rental, maintainence, etcetc...
 

cks2k2

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Feb 12, 2009
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#5
If you're new to the F&B line, consider starting small like hawker centre. Seriously.
My uncle decided to quit his stable job and open a big restaurant and ended up burning through his entire savings in a few years time before finally deciding to cut his losses.
 

izerkudie

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Jan 1, 2010
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#6
f&b isnt just about cooking and selling foods, now f&bs spend alot on attractions and pay high salary for chef who can do more than average chef
 

Jan 17, 2009
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Singapore
#7
Well I think I may have a concept that may work. It's been tried and tested in Singapore, to some success. And given that not that many have hopped on the bandwagon, I thought it'll be great if I could get in on the action early.

There are a couple of things that drive customers to restaurants. Selling points:
(1) Either your food is good
(2) Your location is good (ie.convenient) or
(3) Your concept is interesting.

Of course cost management and pricing should always be on the back of your mind. After all, without good cost management or pricing, any business can fail. But what I meant to say is that you only need either one of the three selling points to have a successful restaurant...

Example: Ppl will travel far to eat good food or to try something new. But even if your concept is not novel, so long as food is good or in a convenient location, ppl will still patronise your place. Same goes for food: a minimum food standard, coupled with a novel concept or a good location will also bring in the customers...

Just some of my thoughts. Feel free to voice your opinions!
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
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#8
I am not F&B entrepreneurs. Just a kibitzer.
Sorry, I did not walk the talk. Just talk only.

The up-side.......
You make it.
The cafe prospers.
It becomes an icon in local food scene.
You open more branches.
They are a success.
Your F&B income stream is a fountain of wealth.
Every year > $1 million in profit ...for the next 30 years or more...
You can leave this enterprise to your children and grandchildren.
Everyone takes a risk.
Everyone has to be a start up.

Look at the successful:
Jack's Place many branches.
Crystal Jade group of restaurants.
No Signboard Seafood.
Jumbo Seafood.
Tung Lok.
Long Beach Seafood.
McDonald's
Ya Kun
Breadtalk

......................................

The down-side...
You fail.
You lose a lot of money.
You get into debt.
You are made a bankrupt.
You lose some of your friends too.
Family ties are strained because of money problems.
You cannot try again in our society that does not forgive failures.
You wished you never started this cafe.
Unforeseen disaster like SARS, H1N1, economic downturn affect your cafe.
Some people let you down in the cafe business, even those you thought could be trusted.

.....................................

If you let people know you got a lot of money and you are also naive, then crooked people will come out of the woodwork to befriend and advise you to "invest" in F&B.
Like sharks, these people smell blood. They swarm to you like a feeding frenzy. There are a lot of con men out there. Nowadays few people do armed robbery anymore. Punishment for that is too severe. Much better to get someone into "investing" his life savings in F&B. (or toxic financial products). Because con job is something they easily get away with. It is not a crime to say, "Sorry the millions you invested is gone because the business lost money".

Beware staff who cheat you at the cash register.
 

forward

New Member
May 27, 2002
390
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Singapore
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#9
I am not F&B entrepreneurs. Just a kibitzer.
Sorry, I did not walk the talk. Just talk only.

The up-side.......
You make it.
The cafe prospers.
It becomes an icon in local food scene.
You open more branches.
They are a success.
Your F&B income stream is a fountain of wealth.
Every year > $1 million in profit ...for the next 30 years or more...
You can leave this enterprise to your children and grandchildren.
Everyone takes a risk.
Everyone has to be a start up.

Look at the successful:
Jack's Place many branches.
Crystal Jade group of restaurants.
No Signboard Seafood.
Jumbo Seafood.
Tung Lok.
Long Beach Seafood.
McDonald's
Ya Kun
Breadtalk

......................................

The down-side...
You fail.
You lose a lot of money.
You get into debt.
You are made a bankrupt.
You lose some of your friends too.
Family ties are strained because of money problems.
You cannot try again in our society that does not forgive failures.
You wished you never started this cafe.
Unforeseen disaster like SARS, H1N1, economic downturn affect your cafe.
Some people let you down in the cafe business, even those you thought could be trusted.

.....................................

If you let people know you got a lot of money and you are also naive, then crooked people will come out of the woodwork to befriend and advise you to "invest" in F&B.
Like sharks, these people smell blood. They swarm to you like a feeding frenzy. There are a lot of con men out there. Nowadays few people do armed robbery anymore. Punishment for that is too severe. Much better to get someone into "investing" his life savings in F&B. (or toxic financial products). Because con job is something they easily get away with. It is not a crime to say, "Sorry the millions you invested is gone because the business lost money".

Beware staff who cheat you at the cash register.


Well said, you certainly highlighted the realistic side
of the F&B business, however many didn't know that
it takes tremendous pain and service know-how to
reach the success status.

Enthusiatic beginners in this business need to know
it is very very hard to find trusted staff or even family
members to be on their pay roll.

:thumbsup:
the truth nothing but the truth indeed!
 

Sep 28, 2008
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#10
say rental =10k per month not sure the market rate...giving a rough guess. +10k down payment
2 cooks @ 2.5k per month = 5k
4 waiter @ 2k per month = 8k
electrial/misc fees = 2k
renovation 10k (low side)

45k a month for first month.


thereafter operating expenses is still 25k
say you wanna take home 5k per month. that would make operating expenses @ 30k per month

entreprenuialship is a risk. should you failed to make money. you will lose them.
if your business idea is that gd, you can consider VCs, or angel investor to help you with your funding.
 

johnlim

New Member
Feb 26, 2004
554
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#11
One thing to take note is partnership with somebody who is a foreigner. They can betray you anytime.

I have heard one of my friend's cousin who opened a restaurant with a Taiwanese in the vircinity of city hall some years ago. Too bad the business wasn't profitable, and closed shop within 6 months, and his foreign partner just took the company's money and ran away.

He was left alone to pay all the debts, and was made a bankrupt. I think he is still paying his debts now.

;
 

smallaperture

Senior Member
Jan 5, 2004
2,441
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Catchment Area
#12
Never go into a business when you're not familiar with it. What do you know about the F&B business. Have you been working in a resto before, or managed an outlet before?

Not every stall in the typical food court makes money. Do some survey. Sit down during lunch time and count the number of bowls they sell and work out the sums.

More complex for a resto/bistro/cafe.

Formula for success: Capital + Hardwork + Knowledge + Luck + Location + ?
 

boresome

New Member
Oct 8, 2004
31
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#13
don't forget to add on design fees as well.
identity, branding, menu, business cards..
interior design.. and so on.
 

Benji77

Senior Member
Feb 18, 2006
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36
www.benji77.multiply.com - http
#14
There are so many modules you can base your business on.
For an example would be the Soy Bean outlet at Short Street (Selegie). Look at their pricing and look at their condition of their outlet. Its not comfortable per say. But they sell out each night. How?

Their table turnover is fantastic. Why?
Do they need much seating space?
Do they need advertising?

:)
 

Canonised

Senior Member
Aug 27, 2003
2,998
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#15
There are a couple of things that drive customers to restaurants. Selling points:
(1) Either your food is good
(2) Your location is good (ie.convenient) or
(3) Your concept is interesting.
!
(4) Prices No Horse Run or food portion No Fight one :rolleyes:
 

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