Rules and guidelines for your home based food business

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

The rise of the home-based food business is growing in every class and lifestyle of Singaporeans. From 40 cents Malay epok epok to 100 dollar designer cakes, you have your aunties and grandmas to accomplished chefs and hobby bakers being part of this burgeoning home based food industry.

Under the HDB/URA’s Home-based scale business scheme, You DO NOT need to apply for a license to start your business at home and this is applied to both HDB and private properties.

Wait what? No license and I can actually start my business? Yes, but it is important to note several criterias that you must follow to prevent external forces invading your home and affecting your freedom to operate. The two most important points everyone must note is to keep your food HYGIENIC and ensure your activities DO NOT DISTURB the other residents in your vicinity. Download the official URA Guidelines here.


You may think you are a clean freak. You scrub and wash everything, proud of your squeaking clean table tops and neatly stacked kitchen equipment. However I’d view food hygiene and being clean as two very distinct subjects to master. Food hygiene teaches you how to handle food properly and being aware of how your habits and working space can contaminate your final product.

In August 2019, 38 year old Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh died after he suffered food poisoning from eating food catered by Spize eatery (Today Article) . The National Environment Agency (NEA) found alarming lapses in food handling and food preparations.

It's probably better not to be responsible for anyone’s death in our quest to create great food for others.

If in doubt, it is highly recommend that you to attend the Basic Food Hygiene Course to have a good understanding about hygiene in food preparation. The course will provide you important fundamentals that prevent your food from harming other people’s health.

You can download NEA’s Food Handler’s handbook here which contains basic information that a food handler needs to know for the proper and hygienic handling, preparation, storage and cooking of food for sale to the public.


If you start frying your rempah or curry rendang all day, or smoking meats that will stink up your neighbours clothes upstairs, rest assured you will get a knock on the door by URA pretty soon. We Singaporeans are professional complainers with easy access to authorities that are very efficient to pay you a “friendly” visit to your business location. Bottomline is, if you don’t want unwanted guests to come knocking, be considerate to others.

In my years running small takeaways stores to restaurant chains, there is one mindset that helps me greatly in my restauranting plans to success. A simple but very important work ethic is to do things properly FROM THE START. Cutting corners, not bothering to be clean, doing slipshod work always comes with additional costs later, down-time or penalties either from some authorities, landlords or worse still complaining customers.

Food is a labor of love and dedication, and that daily monotonous execution requires creative tenacity and a stubborn persistence. With these basic tips in mind, I hope you find huge success in your little ideas.


Hojiak Times is a column that provides advice to our readers looking to start up their little home based businesses. If you have a question that you want us explore? Let us know here.

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