Singapore Company Incorporation with Paul Hype Page
Company Registration at Paul Hype Page Singapore

As one of the region's major destinations for food, it should not be a surprise that many want to start a restaurant in Malaysia. This article contains information on topics such as licenses for the operation of the restaurant, incorporation, and legal requirements for those who wish to do so.

Malaysia is globally known as a paradise for food lovers. Both locals and tourists alike can enjoy a selection from an extensive menu from the country’s multicultural society. The country has a large population of Malays, but it also consists of a vast number of other ethnic groups such as Indians, Chinese, and other non-Malay groups. In Malaysia, the food industry has many full-service restaurants which have made their mark in the major cities of Malaysia. Obvious examples of this can be seen in the various popular restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. The restaurants that provide signature dishes, as well as other diversified cuisines, are preferred by most Malaysians. Furthermore, if the dishes suit a healthy lifestyle, they will become popular among the people. The Malaysian government has set standards for maintaining the quality of the food that every restaurant has to follow.

Setting Up a Restaurant in MY

Halal Certification in Malaysia

The authorities are working towards making Malaysia’s food industry as a hub for quality halal food as the country is a Muslim-majority country. The government requires the meeting international standards to assess the quality of halal food, and Malaysian food manufacturers must get certification under MS 1500:2004 to maintain the quality of the food while producing them.

The fact that Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country means that restaurants which have official halal certification have access to a large proportion of the population; restaurants which do not will lose out on much profit because they would therefore lack such access. Furthermore, proper halal certification also improves the reputation of the restaurant in two ways. One of these ways can be seen in the fact that restaurants with halal certification would be able to gain much credibility among the country’s large Muslim community. Through the spread of this information, more customers, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, would begin to flock to the restaurant in question. Gaining proper halal certification also provides evidence that the owners of the restaurant are willing to undergo all procedures and use the proper legal methods in order to obtain any necessary certifications. This would thus imply that the owners of the restaurant are conscientious, dedicated owners who care about the well-being of the restaurant and its customers.

Setting up a restaurant in Malaysia can sometimes be an expensive and difficult process as it involves getting the business incorporated, finding a suitable location, choosing a menu that can help the restaurant survive the competition, and many other elements. If one can overcome these hassles properly, then the owner will find it a profitable and lucrative business opportunity in Malaysia.

Anyone who is interested in starting a restaurant or any other business of any sort in Malaysia can reach out to us Paul Hype Page & Co. We will guide you throughout the registration process. We will also ensure that you will receive all licenses required for the commencement of your business operations.

Want to Start business in Singapore
Want to Start business in Singapore

Requirements for Operation of a Restaurant in Malaysia

Foreigners or locals who plan to start a restaurant business in Malaysia need to possess a Malaysian business license to operate the business in the country legally. The approval may take between one to six months depending on the type of business which the business owner plans to operate. The authorities also carry out the physical inspection of the premises before issuing the license. A restaurant needs to obtain licenses such as the following:

  • The Distributive Imports and Exports license for restaurant business management; this is an industry-specific license. The Malaysia External Trade
  • Development Corporation issues this license.
  • Restaurant owners who want to serve alcohol in their restaurant need to obtain the license to do so.
  • As Malaysia is looking forward to emerging as a hub for halal products, it is important to possess a license certifying that the products sold in the restaurant are halal.
  • Restaurant owners who want to sell products such as meat, vegetables, rice, sugar, fish, prawns, and other similar products need to obtain permission from the departments of the government which deal in these products.
  • Restaurant owners need to pay the license fee specified under the by-laws or as is prescribed under the government schedule.
  • Restaurants operating in Malaysia require a Wholesale and Retail Trade license unless the restaurant has 50% of its shares held by local citizens. Owners of such a restaurant do not have to obtain this license.
  • Many restaurants offer entertainment options; owners of restaurants which do so require the relevant license for such a purpose
  • Restaurant owners in Malaysia are required to obtain a signboard license and a business premises license from their respective state authorities. The requirements for the applications may vary according to the different local authorities. Generally, a license application must include:
  • Photocopy of applicant’s Identity Card
  • Photocopy of business’s M&A with Forms 9, 24, and 49
  • Passport-sized photograph of the applicant
  • Copy of sale and purchase agreement or rental agreement of the company’s business premises
  • Copy of location plan of the business premises and its photograph
  • Photograph of company’s signboard
  • Copy of Fire Department’s support letter

The government has also passed a law for its largest city, Kuala Lumpur, to provide Wi-Fi access to all the customers in restaurants. Restaurant owners there who want to acquire a new license or who already have the existing license need to provide Wi-Fi services.

The licensing requirements are some of the most important legal requirements for those who are thinking of opening a restaurant in Malaysia. Those who have a local partner in a restaurant in the country, can get an exemption from the license fees. In some cases, they might not even have to obtain specific licenses. The set international standards to maintain the quality of food being served in Malaysian restaurants need to be checked by the government authorities at regular intervals. However, the Malaysian government understands that some of the international standards may not be applicable because of certain climatic and geographical factors. Therefore, legalization of these standards are adjusted as per acknowledgments from local authorities.

The government and restaurant owners have to make sure of food safety of the food consumed by customers. Food safety is essential to provide an excellent dining experience to the consumers.


Setting Up a Restaurant in Malaysia FAQs

Are foreigners who open a Restaurant in Malaysia subject to additional Regulations?2020-04-28T16:51:53+08:00

Foreigners who are planning to set up a restaurant in Malaysia have to introduce something unique yet relatable to the cuisines of the people living in Malaysia. The restaurant business provides 100% ownership to foreigners, making it a lucrative business opportunity. Many foreign restaurants owners are relatively established in the country. The first step to be taken is the registration of the restaurant in Malaysia. The following are the relevant requirements:

  • Selection of business type: as a foreigner, the only choices available are those of registering as a Sdn Bhd or a private limited company. 
  • The foreigners need to obtain the following licenses depending on what they sell in the restaurant: 
  • Halal certification if the restaurant is Muslim-friendly 
  • Alcohol license if alcohol is being sold in the restaurant 
  • Import License for imported ingredients 
  • MACP and PPM licenses for restaurant owners who want entertainment options in their restaurant 
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade licenseOne point worth noting is that this license is only given if the restaurant serves ethnic food such as French or Middle Eastern cuisine and has a minimum space of nearly 140 square meters. 

The location of the restaurant should have high traffic, easy access, and visibility from a distance.

The owner must take note of the modern food trends of Malaysia and opt for the menu according to the target market so as to attract more customers and earn revenue. Foreign restaurant owners can also acquire the DP10 visa that grants them a two-year  work permit for their family and themselves.

What difficulties might prospective Restaurant owners in Malaysia face?2020-04-28T16:50:41+08:00

Most of the businesses in the service sector in Malaysia operate manually. This includes restaurants as well. Newly opened restaurants have a cash-based system; only a few award-winning restaurants have modern cashless systems installed with other technical reservation systems that can also be used.

New restaurant owners may have to face tough competition from these high-end restaurants until and unless they have something unique to offer. However, those who choose to install an advanced cashless system or reservation system for seats in the restaurant through mobile apps can expect a great many customers who opt to dine in the restaurant.

Several other new restaurant owners may face the problem of location or even deciding on the menu The incorporation of the business or obtaining of the licenses may also become a major issue in many situations. If the restaurant owners are not using the services of any professional agency, then getting an excellent hiring staff in any city of Malaysia can also become difficult. Dedicated and ethical professionals play a significant role in the success of the restaurant. New restaurant owners must carefully select opening hours of their restaurant to match consumers’ convenience and to make profits.

Is anyone allowed to sell food which they have made themselves?2020-04-28T16:47:19+08:00

Restaurants which serve home-cooked food is already making rounds amongst the Malaysians as they offer distinct delicacies. They also allow people living away from their home to experience truly authentic dishes. Most of the business owners and apps provide online platforms to connect consumers with home cooks. These apps or platforms are highly recommended for the people who plan to try home-cooked food and do not have time to go out or have grown tired of eating the same food all the time. Most of the home cooks also provide healthy options to the people that are interested in this market.

Home-based cooks must cater to food standards set up by the Malaysian government. People using these apps must render accurate information to make their accounts legitimate. Many apps offer a platform to restaurants to sell their cuisines online, and many companies are working on apps that can help home-based cooks to become part of this thriving industry. These apps help people sell and buy food; many locals have bought authentic delicacies at a reasonable price by using these apps.

Regarding the lega requirements of these home-based cooks, the Companies Commission of Malaysia requires all online food operators to register their business. The move was taken to protect consumer rights and to save them from buying counterfeit products. Authorities can and will carry out routine inspections to check the quality of the food being sold. It is also essential to maintain the hygiene of the place of operation so as to get the required license.

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  1. Ravi Ranjan Kumar September 4, 2019 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Warm Greetings!
    We, my wife and I run a Yoga Company in Bangalore, India for the past 8 years and would now like to spread Yoga and explore more opportunities in another country. Hence, we would like to set up a Yoga Company in Malaysia.
    We would be grateful if you could help us with some information about setting up our Yoga Company in Malaysia and resident permit,Work permit.
    Please do let us know if we would require to submit any additional information and we would be glad to do so.
    Thank you
    Warm regards
    Ravi Ranjan Kumar

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran September 5, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Hello Ravi,

      If you are interested in expanding your company to Malaysia, you will need to register with SSM for incorporation purposes.
      Several different work permits are available in Malaysia; these include the Employment Pass and Professional Visit Pass, among others. Select one according to the needs of your company.
      For further information, contact us at Paul Hype Page & Co so that we can assist you with regard to company incorporation and work permits in Malaysia.

      Thank you.

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