Source: Macau Daily News
Thursday, 13th April 13, 2017
Proposal to shorten food/beverage license application
Opening a restaurant as the starting point for business in Macau is very common in young generation. However many catering industry insiders reflect that the application of small and medium-sized catering license is difficult, time-consuming and involved too many procedures. Prepayment of rent for several months are required even before the business can actually be started. One catering industry insider indicated that the government has gradually improved and simplified the relevant application for licensing procedures. The administration and entrepreneurs should take the initiative move to understand the precautions while applying for licenses.
One restaurant owner claimed he spent about eight months to apply for a catering license in the past due mainly to the queuing schedule.
According to The Official Provisional Municipal Council of Macau (IACM), if the applicant submits the documents in accordance with required standards within the specified time, the total time will not exceed 60 working days from the date of application (excluding the construction period). A restaurant owner Mr. Yang said that it is not simple at all to apply for a catering license as it needs to comply with requirements of several government departments, including the Public Affairs Bureau, the Fire Services Department and IACM. If a single document does not meet with requirement, the whole process will not be able to proceed. Among the professional and technical details involved include sewage, exhaust gas emissions, electricity, it is better to let an agent to handle the relevant work in order to save time and costs.
He stressed that the government has made good efforts to introduce a number of measures to speed up the licensing rate and reduce the costs of SMEs. It is expected that the government would communicate with the catering industry in the future to understand the difficulties of local SMEs. Business owners should also take the initiative move to understand the information required before application.
Using a second-hand catering license to save time
Another restaurant owner Mr. Huang remarked that it took him nearly six months to obtain a catering license due to application difficulties. He waited for the Public Affairs Bureau for several months during the initial stage of application and also hired kitchen engineering personnel to help clean the range hood. Unfortunately, the range hood failed to work during the acceptance check, so he had to wait for another couple of months. It is unlawful to operate a restaurant in Macau prior to obtaining a license, so it becomes very common practice in Macau to have a trial operation in fear before obtaining the license.
Some entrepreneurs would rather operate with a second-hand catering license than to apply for a new license. An entrepreneur said using a second-hand license has never crossed his mind before. After experiencing a long application period, he may consider it. This is regarded to be more convenient as compared with operating a dine-in or take-out restaurant, but it tends to limit the innovative thinking for the entrepreneur.