What form of business investment should foreign investors pursue when doing business in restaurants in Vietnam? What kinds of licenses should they apply for to be eligible for business, and what legal issues should they keep in mind during business operations? Discover 7 notable points in restaurant business for foreign investors in Vietnam in this article.
1. Conditions for enterprise establishment
Previously, according to the content of Vietnam’s commitments in WTO, within 8 years from the date of accession, the restaurant service business should be carried out in parallel with the investment in construction, upgrading and improvement or acquiring hotels, this has a certain limitation on the investment of foreign individuals and organizations in Vietnam in the restaurant field. However, at the present, the above restriction has ended, and foreign investors are free to choose the model and way of operating restaurant services.
2. The rental of the premises may increase
Finding a satisfactory location and when the business gradually develops, the rental of the premises can be suddenly increased, making many investors no longer profitable, maybe even at a loss. The investor may minimize this risk by drafting a contract with clear provisions regarding the issues on the rental, term, price increase mechanism, cases of change of premises owner, unilateral termination of the contract, etc. This is often the case, especially in areas with frequent changes in planning such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Therefore, we recommend that investors without experience in this issue may seek the assistance of specialist organizations.
3. The restaurant name and business model are copied
The restaurant’s name and business model are valuable assets throughout the operation of the restaurant. Therefore, it is necessary to register for the protection of intellectual property rights right from the beginning. In addition, the procedure to register for protection of restaurant names and models should be done early because this procedure often takes up to a year or more in Vietnam.
4. Food safety and hygiene
Mistakes in food hygiene issues can damage a restaurant’s reputation. Therefore, the investor must have all the permits of the competent authority on food safety and hygiene such as: a Certificate of knowledge on food safety for the owner of the restaurant business; Certificate of eligibility for food safety and hygiene. In addition, investors must use food sources of clear origin, provided by reputable and fully licensed organizations and individuals according to regulations.
5. Fire protection
Fire prevention is a problem that investors often make mistakes with due to improper implementation of regulations. Therefore, to ensure fire safety in accordance with regulations, it is required to have a firefighting plan, firefighting equipment in place, fire water supply pipe, an automatic fire fighting system or automatic smoke alarm, managers must be trained in firefighting, the electrical system must be able to withstand the load during peak times, the kitchen system should be well ventilated, use standard gas cylinders from reputable suppliers.
6. List service prices in Vietnamese Dong
For restaurants that serve a lot of foreigners, the restaurant can issue small brochures in foreign languages that are listed in foreign currency. However, for the menu and service price list, the restaurant is required to list it in Vietnamese Dong to ensure compliance with the law on foreign exchange.
7. Liquor business license
In addition to the restaurant business license, foreign investors who would like to do business in alcohol products need to apply for a License to retail alcohol products as prescribed by law.