This article target the different F&B property food business terms in Singapore for foreign friends trying to understand our culture..

Land is scarce in Singapore, but not the variety of food which is readily available all over the island. Cuisine from all over the world set up business in food court, coffeeshops, food shops, kiosk, mini cafes, mini food shops etc. All for the prizes to create a savouring dining experiences for repatronsing and good reviews.

So if you have the intention to run a food business, you will need to know these F&B property terms. So lets get into it.

What is a Food Stall?

A Food Stall in a Hawker Center

A food stall means a food selling space inside a hawker center, in a food court, a coffee shop or inside a food shop. A small space with a kitchen and a retail section clearly distinguished. A food stall share a common seating space with other stalls operators. The reason why in Singapore a food stall and food shop has to be clearly identify is because of the rule of law for these 2. The restrictions and the can do and cannot do are clearly defined in Singapore Food Agency for these 2 license. However sometimes a food stall can also be a mini food shop.

What is a Food Shop?

A Family Cafe in the Heart of Singapore.

The main differences of a food shop and food stall is that a food shop has its own sitting space for their own customers. For example, a restaurant, cafe, bar, kiosk which the sitting space are not shared with other F&B operators and likely a clearly define boundary. Food shop have the license to hire foreign manpower which a food stall can’t. Thus one must have a food shop license before having the green light for foreign manpower quota.

What is a Hawker Center?

Maxwell Food Center

Hawker centers first started in Singapore a century ago call as hawker shelters side by side with fresh produces markets. Food stalls make up the entire Hawker centers or food centers, sometimes as many as 80 stalls within one. Stalls are leased to Singaporeans or Permanent Resident by HDB or town council and they are typically non air-conditioned.

What is a Coffee Shop?

Coffee shop in Singapore. Noticed the fans above.

A coffee shop in Singapore is similar to a hawker center but less the size of a hawker center. A Coffee shops has fewer number of food stalls and they are non air-conditioned. They house between 8-15 food and drink stalls in a location. Coffee shop are extremely popular as they meet the needs of the diners where there are no hawker center nearby. Most coffee shops create cosy environment by installing wall and ceiling fans around the seating area. Today coffee shops sprouts under many HDB flats and private commercial properties all over Singapore.

What is a Food Court?

An air-conditioned food court in Ion Orchard

Now the last thing which we want to do is to confuse you. So we try our best to identify easier for you so you may sound like a smart local. A food court is like a coffee shop, but 2 things make them different. They are air-conditioned and can house more stalls than a typical coffee shop. Located usually inside a shopping mall or other commercial or government buildings. They are a class higher than coffeeshops and thus the food pricing as well. There are various major food court operators in Singapore namely Koufu, Kopitiam, Food Junction and NTUC Foodfare. Each with their own way of management, with rules and policies to the stall holders.

What is a Mini Food shop?

Mini Food shop – Notice the Red Tables

As the terms implies, a mini food shop is a small food shop. A mini food shop can be within a food court, in a shopping mall or in a coffee shop. A mini food shop license can be applied for and decided by the proper government agency. However, there are certain limitations to a min food shop to a food shop license.

So we have come to the end of the Food business F&B property terms. If there is any other questions regards to new term being coined.. leave us a message and we shall input in here.

article contributed by jong –

Leave a Reply

  1. AffiliateLabz

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

  2. peter abesayna

    I have a question.

    In a coffee shop all food stalls share a common seating space with other food stalls..

    Is a diner free to sit anywhere in a coffee shop??

    Thank you.

    1. Hope Media sg Listing Owner

      Some coffeeshop lease certain area table spaces to certain stalls so that’s exclusive for their customers. its usually marked or there will have someone telling you the space is reserved. and for the rest, yes you can seat anywhere in the coffee shop, 1m apart for safe distancing by the coffeeshop rules.

  3. Vichea

    At the coffee shop, usually there is a coffee/drink stall near to the WC and that coffee stall’s owner would do the dishes collection also. Is it because he is the owner of the coffee shop?

    1. Hope Media sg Listing Owner

      Different coffeeshops have different term of services, but most coffee shop will have their own collectors employed by themselves or sub-contract out to another cleaning company for the trays and plates collections. And yes, usually the owners of the coffee shops will do the drinks business.