Opening a restaurant can be an attractive idea for starting a business in Georgia, as the tourism in this country is steadily developing. The catering sector is a solid market in this country and investors often choose to open a company in Georgia operating as a catering unit.
The business options in this gastronomic industry are numerous and business owners can have access to a wide range of customers, depending on the specific of the restaurant and the services they choose to offer. Small or large, restaurants can be successful in Georgia, especially in large cities and those which are frequently visited by tourists.
Our team of consultants in company formation in Georgia can assist with advice on how to register a restaurant in a given Georgian region or city and can provide legal representation regarding the incorporation procedure, as well as on the business permits and other types of documents that are necessary for this type of business activity.
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Steps for opening a restaurant in Georgia
Some of the most important decisions revolve around the location of the restaurant. Tbilisi is the capital city and the most populated town in Georgia. Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi are the following most populous cities in Georgia. This country is a mountainous region bordered by the Caucasus and it also has access to the Black Sea. Therefore, restaurant owners can choose to base their restaurants in a specific area and serve food according to the geographic position.
A restaurant in Georgia will have to obtainspecial permits and licenses for functioning. It will also have to pass sanitary inspections and will need approval to commercialize products like alcoholic beverages. The National Food Agency in Georgia regulates the sale of foodstuffs and the food safety, as well as quality requirements.
What are the obligations of food operators in Georgia?
All food operators in Georgia, including restaurants, have to comply with the provisions of the Food/Feed Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection Code. Article 13 of the Code stipulates that business operators related to the production or processing of food products have to be registered with the local authorities in accordance with the applicable legislation.
This is a compulsory requirement for such businesses as, without the registration, the business is not entitled to carry any operations in this country. More importantly, those who want to start the procedure of company registration in Georgia for a catering unit of any type have to know that they must also ensure food safety procedures.
According to the Article 17 of the same Code, businesses set up as food operators need to follow such procedures in accordance with the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. Our team of specialists in company registration in Georgia can offer further information on any other rule of law applicable to a local restaurant.
Why start a restaurant in Tbilisi?
Being the capital city of the country, Tbilisi represents the main business destination for foreign investors. Most of the persons visiting Tbilisi are foreigners and thus, the accommodation and catering sectors are thriving in this region. Businessmen who are interested in opening a company in Georgia should know that at the level of 2016, the accommodation and restaurant industries were characterized by the following:
- • employment level – the workforce of the two industries accounted for more than 20,000 persons;
- • turnover – the accommodation and restaurant sectors had a total value of $ 354.4 million;
- • level of investments – in 2016, the total value of the investments in fixed assets accounted for $85.8 million;
- • average salary of a Georgian employee – employees working in this industry are paid with approximately $303/month.
What are the legal requirements for the import of food in Georgia?
It is necessary to know that businesses which are involved in the trading of food products in and from Georgia need to comply with specific regulations. In the case of a business that needs to import specific types of food products (of both animal and plant origins) is necessary to obtain a permit issued by the National Food Agency. When introduced in the country, such products will need to pass veterinary/phytosanitary inspections.
In order to receive the right to introduce in the country specific food products, it is necessary to provide a set of documents, which vary depending on the nature of the product. It is necessary to know that the permits have different validities as well.
In the case of imports of animal products, the permit is available for a period of one month, while in the case of food products that need phytosanitary inspection, the permit is issued for a longer period of time, of six months, provided that the goods respect the required conditions stipulated by the Georgian legislation.
What are the main things to consider when opening a Georgian restaurant?
Like any other business, opening a restaurant needs a solid strategy that could help the investors in promoting their company on the local market. One of the main aspects that should be decided in this case is the concept of the restaurant and the types of food that will be served here. Other relevant matters are the following:
- • establish a realistic business plan, detailing the company’s strategies to expand on the local market, the main target group and others;
- • estimate the costs associated with opening the restaurant in Georgia, besides the ones related to the incorporation of the company;
- • find a suitable space where the restaurant will be set up; this should be decided based on the budget the investors have, the size of the restaurant, the proximity of other competitors and others;
- • purchase the necessary kitchen equipment, organize an appropriate storage room and contact a company specialized in creating the restaurant furniture compatible with the concept of the restaurant;
- • find food suppliers and employ the staff needed in this case (a chef, bartenders, dishwashers, as well as the management staff);
- • use suitable means for promoting the restaurant – a very popular way to do so is now through social media or by opening a website, which can provide various services to its users (an account, newsletters and others).
Georgian cuisine: a different culinary experience
A restaurant will attract both tourists in Georgia and natives. Georgian cuisine is the result of a rich history and influence from the many cultures and people who have arrived in the country through the many ancient travel routes. Georgians give great importance to their food and drinks, especially since some scholars believe that Georgia is the first country where wine was made.
A restaurant in Georgia can specialize in traditional Georgian cuisine or it can offer a selection of international dishes. Some foreign investors will choose to open a restaurant that reflects their own nationality and will specialize in the cuisine from their home country. Alternatively, investors can choose to open cafes or bars or even clubs in Georgia. Some of these establishments may or may not serve food.
Business opportunities in the tourism sector
Investors may find interesting business opportunities in the Georgian tourism industry if they want to open restaurants in Georgia. The local authorities are implementing new development projects created to increase the value of this field and, in this sense, we can mention the water supply project, designed to assist the needs of the Gudauri touristic region, known for its skiing services.
The water supply infrastructure project is currently carried out by the Ministry for Regional and Infrastructural Development. The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate an attractive touristic region, by increasing the level of water services, which are very important for this touristic resort.
The development project is designed to satisfy both the needs of the persons living in this region, as well as of the incoming tourists. It is important to know that Gudauri is a very popular touristic attraction in this country and those who are interested in company formation in Georgia in the field of tourism/ restaurants should find various business opportunities here.
Alongside with the water supply project, which has a total value of GEL 4 million, the local authorities are also planning to make important changes for the infrastructure of the Gudauri resort, as this is the largest skiing region in Georgia, which is available for touristic purposes from January to December.
The overall investments that will be carried out here reach a total value estimated to GEL 180 million.
The development projects take into account other facilities, such as the ski tracks or ski lifts, but they also aim at the accommodation units situated here.
For complete information about the required permits for opening restaurants in Georgia, please contact our Georgian company formation agents. If you want to open a company in Georgia, we can also help you submit any documents and contact the relevant authorities if the language is a barrier for business.