How much does it cost to run a hawker stall in Singapore

How much does it cost to run a hawker stall in Singapore

How much does it cost to run a hawker stall in Singapore

Ever dreamed of owning your own stall at a popular food centre? If yes, then this post is meant for you. Running a hawker stall in the busy streets of Singapore can be a rewarding as well as a challenging experience. In fact, street food is an integral part of Singapore’s food culture. Did you know that two stalls have even won Michelin stars? Now that’s indicative of the prominence of the street food culture here. It is, therefore, not surprising that street food is serious business. It is a unique type of entrepreneurial venture that gives you instant gratification.

But have you ever wondered as to what goes behind setting up a hawker stall in Singapore? How much does it cost to run a hawker stall in Singapore? Read on to find out.

The initial and monthly costs for setting up a hawker stall

There are three types of cost that any hawker would have to deal with in Singapore.

  1. Initial setup cost: This includes all the metal work and kitchen equipment. The initial setup cost also includes two months’ deposit for the stall.
  2. Opportunity cost: This is usually the cost of time and money spent in preparing for setting up the stall, especially if neither you nor anybody in your family has any prior experience in hawking. This typically also includes training and apprenticeship.
  3. Monthly Cost: This mainly includes all the raw ingredients (such as meat, sauces, etc.) required for cooking and serving. To add to that, there are other things like rent, utilities, replacement of parts, and maintenance of the stall.

Here is a breakup of the cost that a typical hawker stall could incur:

Initial setup cost (inclusive of opportunity cost) $40,000
Monthly cost $15,000


A real life example

To give you a glimpse of what it is like to own a stall in Singapore, here is the story of the owners of Roast Paradise, a stall dedicated to selling delicious roast meat and char siew.

Randall and Kai who are the owners of Roast Paradise, may not be the people whom you would expect to see as hawkers, the reason being their young age. Both of them are in their 20s and are already successful in their entrepreneurial endeavour. They started their journey at a PR and event company, where they worked for a while. They then moved on to looking for potential business opportunities in various sectors. This led them to identifying the food and beverage sector as one of the most lucrative options.

At this point, they understood what they wanted. But the only problem was that neither of them had prior experience in the food business nor were their parents hawkers. With no background in this business, they decided to take training in the field. The pair then searched for a mentor who could teach them how to make their favorite food- roast meat and char siew. They joined a 6-month apprenticeship programme in KL, where they learned to prepare roast meat and char siew. When they returned to Singapore, they decided to start running a hawker stall.

The challenges involved

No doubt owning a hawker stall is a rewarding experience but it comes with its own challenges. Working at a stall might seem like a cake walk, but in reality it can be quite a tedious task to manage a street food outlet. Randal and Kai begin their day very early, at 7am and they work till 6pm. The main task is to roast the meat, which takes about 3 hours. It also takes a considerable amount of time to do all the cleaning and maintenance work at the end of the day. And if you there are no helpers around, then the workload is a lot on the stall owner. To add to that, the initial few months after setting up the stall are usually stressful, as it takes some time for the owners to breakeven. In some cases, the owners have to bear losses for more than 6 months.

How much do hawkers make in a month?

Now, if you have been considering setting up a hawker stall, you are probably trying to figure out the lucrativeness of this option. Well, in case of Roast Paradise, in the first day of their newly setup endeavour, they took home $80. But as time passed, people began recognizing them as a brand that serves delicious roast meat. With an increasing base of loyal customers, Roast Paradise gets about 200 customers everyday. The daily income of the stall is about $1000 on an average. The stall operates for 22 days in a month, which means it has an estimated revenue of $22,000.

So, the next time you relish a delicious meal from your favorite hawker stall, remember that a lot of time and effort has gone into the preparation of that one meal which you would be finishing in a few minutes!

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