International entrepreneurs looking to delve into Turkey’s tourism sector have opportunities to establish food ventures. Collaboration with hotels in popular resorts is an option, but major cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir also present fertile ground for new restaurant ventures. In fact, according to Ken Research, Istanbul is the most-preferred destination for restaurant customers across Turkey followed by Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Antalya and others. Being economically prosperous, Istanbul also attracts high domestic tourists & internally migrating population. The choice of location, culinary offerings, and whether to include a catering service rests with the proprietor. Regardless of the specifics, the procedural steps and legal requirements to launch a restaurant remain uniform.
Key Restaurant Statistics in Turkey
According to Modor Intelligence, the Turkey Foodservice Market size is estimated at 13.38 billion USD in 2023, and is expected to reach 24.10 billion USD by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 10.31% during the forecast period (2023-2029). Also, in Turkey, full-service restaurants (FSRs) had the highest average order value in 2022 compared to other foodservice types, with a price of USD 13.74.
Legal professionals in Turkey are equipped to guide through the regulatory maze of initiating a food business. They can assist both local and international businesspeople in establishing restaurant enterprises in Turkey.
Key Legal Considerations for Restaurant Businesses in Turkey When establishing a restaurant, compliance with Turkish food legislation is crucial. The pivotal regulations include:
- Food Premises Regulation, mandating sanitary standards.
- Food and Feed Law, detailing licensing prerequisites for new food establishments.
- Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulations, governing the sale of these products.
- Operation Permit Regulation, outlining operational licensing requirements.
- Turkish Company Law, specifying business registration procedures for legal operation.
All food service establishments must adhere to these statutes. Legal counsel in Turkey can clarify the licensing process tailored to the restaurant’s concept.
Establishing a Restaurant in Turkey: Initial Steps The first move for a restaurateur, be it a local or foreign investor, is to choose and register a business entity as per Commercial Law. A private limited liability company is a popular choice, requiring a minimum capital of 10,000 Turkish Liras. Beyond this, investment in the location, kitchenware, and ingredients must be considered.
Legal assistance is invaluable for navigating the company registration process.
Securing Premises Approval After registering the business entity, one must secure approval for the restaurant’s location from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock. This involves registering the address with the Ministry and passing an inspection to obtain a registration certificate and unique identifier for the restaurant.
Further guidance on this process can be provided by local legal experts.
Licensing for Restaurant Operations With the establishment registered, the next phase is to acquire the necessary licenses. This includes an inspection by the General Directorate for Food and Control, verifying adherence to food storage and preparation standards. Additionally, staff qualifications are scrutinized and must align with their roles within the restaurant.
Acquiring an Operational License For a restaurant with over 50 staff members, an operational license is required, granted by the regional directorate. This license is aligned with the company’s main activities, outlined in its Articles of Association, but allows for supplementary activities.
Before securing the operational license, several other permits are necessary:
- Environmental license
- Occupancy permit
- Energy efficiency report
- Emission permit
- Fire safety license
- Hazardous waste permit
These are obtained through local municipal authorities.
Alcohol and Tobacco Licensing To serve alcohol and tobacco, separate licenses must be obtained through the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority. Compliance includes age restrictions and secure storage of alcoholic products.
Legal firms in Turkey can support international investors with the legislation concerning alcohol and tobacco sales.
Considerations for Launching a Restaurant Key considerations for opening a restaurant in Turkey include the time frame for acquiring licenses and permits, which can span several months. For instance, the premises registration certificate may take three months, while the operation permit could be issued within five days post-document submission. Additional time should be accounted for municipal permits.
Should the Ministry for Agriculture discover non-compliance during an inspection, a 15-day grace period is granted to rectify issues.