According to the Thai Embassy (2023), Thailand is an agricultural country with over half of its population working in farming. However, the country is now shifting towards industrialization and heavily relying on agro-based industries, diversifying its natural resources, and increasing exports. As a result of these economic achievements, Thailand has become one of the world’s fastest-growing and most successful economies.
These strong economic accomplishments have opened up new opportunities for business and investment in Thailand. Konrad Legal (n.d.) has noted that many foreign investors are interested in opening a restaurant in Thailand, as the registration process is simpler than in other countries.
Reliance Consulting (2022) has also stated that Thailand is a profitable location for the food and beverage industry, with its diverse and interesting cuisines being a major draw for tourists. To guide those interested in opening a restaurant in Thailand, we have compiled the following steps.
Company Registration for Opening a Restaurant in Thailand
Select a Location
When choosing a location for your new restaurant, it’s important to consider visibility and foot traffic. Conducting thorough research to select a specific location that will allow you to compete with the target market is crucial. Choosing the right location can greatly contribute to the success of your restaurant, so it’s important to take your time or seek professional assistance in this step. opening a restaurant in thailand
Finalize Business Structure
Once you’ve chosen a location, the next step is to finalize your business plan. This is the stage where you’ll decide on the type of food or products you’ll offer at your restaurant. This step will help you to solidify your business concept, which is a crucial aspect of opening a restaurant in Thailand.
Appoint a Director
As per Thai law, every business must appoint at least one Thai director who will assist in the registration and licensing process. The director will need to sign the necessary documentation for the process to proceed.
Registration with the Ministry of Commerce
After completing and signing the paperwork, submit the documents to the Ministry of Commerce for approval. The company registration process in Thailand typically takes around two weeks. It may be helpful to use a company incorporation service provider to assist with this step. opening a restaurant in thailand
According to Union Space (2022), the following documents will need to be filled out and submitted to Thai authorities:
-A business affidavit by the Thai Trade Register (not older than 6 months) -A building registration certificate -Copies of business owner identification papers and proof of their residential address in Thailand -Copies of company director identification papers and proof of their residential address in Thailand -An application form for the issuance of the license, dated and signed by the company representatives.
A power of attorney for the representative in charge -A map of the restaurant location and photos of it from the inside and outside -Information on the restaurant’s size -Restaurant blueprints with clear demarcations of the kitchen, storage, and seating areas. opening a restaurant in thailand
Tax and VAT Registration when Operating a Restaurant in Thailand
Konrad Legal (n.d.) stated that as you want to generate money from your restaurant, so it involves taxation and VAT (Value Added Tax). Register your business for Tax and VAT if you wish to operate your business legally and efficiently in Thailand. For VAT registration, fill out PP.01 form. After this, submit this form to the Revenue Department along with a certificate of incorporation, tax residency certificate, and a copy of your valid passport. The department will notify you via the VAT system for e-service (SVE) after registration completion. This process needs two days to be accomplished if you want to set up a company in Thailand.
Opening a Company Account
To start operating, you will have to set up a corporate bank account for handling business transactions. This account will help you to maintain your corporate expenses. You can take assistance from an incorporation services provider company for the documentation of opening a company account. opening a restaurant in thailand
Other necessary Licenses for Restaurants in Thailand
To open a restaurant in Thailand, several licenses are required in addition to registering your company. A Food Business License is mandatory to serve food, store it, or deliver it. If the restaurant’s premises are below 200 sqm in size, a certification of notice is also required. The process of obtaining these licenses is generally the same for both locals and foreigners. A Liquor License is necessary if you plan to serve alcoholic beverages on the premises. Additionally, a Music License can be obtained if the restaurant will have music playing on the premises. If any construction is planned for the restaurant building, a Construction Permit is also needed. opening a restaurant in thailand
All of these licenses can be obtained from the relevant governmental agencies in the restaurant’s region. A Restaurant License can be obtained from the District Office, a Liquor License from the Local Excise Department, and a Music License from the Department of Intellectual Property. Before obtaining these licenses, an officer will inspect the business property and products to ensure that they meet health, safety, and hygiene standards. opening a restaurant in thailand
Opening a restaurant in thailand can be challenging, but with the right steps and strategies in place, it can be a path to success. However, operating the business daily is where the real challenges lie. Here are some tips to help you along the way:
Come up with an interesting concept: The food and beverage industry in Thailand is highly competitive, so it’s important to have a unique concept that sets your business apart. This will attract more customers and help you stand out in the market.
Hire experienced employees: The success of your business heavily depends on the competency of your employees. It’s important to hire experienced individuals from the field, and also invest time and money to train them for the company set up in Thailand.
Manage annual legal requirements: To run your restaurant smoothly, you need to manage your legal requirements such as applying for social security, submitting withholding tax, and paying salaries to your staff on time. Failure to fulfill these obligations can result in penalties and lawsuits. opening a restaurant in thailand
Know the laws: Union Space (2022) stated that there are several provisions regarding the functioning of a restaurant in Thailand, such as employment law, consumer protection laws and food laws. As a restaurant owner, it’s important to be aware of these laws and take legal assistance if needed. opening a restaurant in thailand
It’s important to remember that to start a restaurant business in Thailand, all of these steps are important. With the right planning and execution, everyone can achieve success in the Thai market. opening a restaurant in thailand
Embassy Thailand (2023). Tourist Visa to Thailand. Retrieved from https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand-visa/thailand-tourist-visa.
- “Doing Business in Thailand: A Guide for Small and Medium Enterprises” by the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI)
- “Thailand Business: The Portable Encyclopedia for Doing Business with Thailand” by Usa International Business Publications
- “Starting a Business in Thailand” by J.D. Rockefeller
- “The Legal and Regulatory Environment of Business in Thailand” by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB)