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5 Reasons for Opening a Restaurant in Estonia

Updated on Tuesday 22nd June 2021

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5-Reasons-for-Opening-a-Restaurant-in-Estonia.jpgEstonia is a small, yet very appealing country from a touristic point of view. Those who want to open companies in tourism in Estonia have various options, among which hotels, cafes, bars, and restaurants through which they can attract not only foreign visitors but also locals.
Restaurants are quite popular in Estonia not only because of their important role in the tourism industry but also because many Estonian citizens and residents like to dine out and the restaurant sector has developed a lot in the last few years.
Below, you will find 5 reasons for which you should open a restaurant in Estonia. Also, if you decide to set up such a business venture, our company formation agents in Estonia are at your disposal with full business incorporation services.

1. Tourists are great customers

Tourism in Estonia is important for the country’s economy. As a restaurant owner, you can benefit from a large number of visitors in one of the country’s famous cities. They will all want to enjoy a meal in a beautiful restaurant or even just enjoy a stop at a café. In 2014 Estonia had approximately 3.1 million foreign and domestic tourists. And they were all looking for good food.

2.  The joy of raising your own business in Estonia

A restaurant is a business that takes a lot of work and dedication. You can take the time to grow your business and design your restaurant so that is can attract a general clientele or suit the taste of a niche target audience. While opening a new company in Estonia has its challenges, the joy of working for yourself and your dream business will make up for the hardships.

3. A good investment climate

Estonia encourages foreign investments in the country and if you are planning to bring some Mediterranean cuisine to the heart of Tbilisi you will be allowed full foreign ownership for your restaurant. The country has good e-services that add up to the ease of doing business. If you decide to open a restaurant you will be able to buy the property you wish to transform into a dining place.

4. Ease of doing business in Estonia

Good infrastructure and a progressive business environment are two of the things that can describe Estonia from a business perspective. Foreign investors in Estonia are treated the same way as local ones and you will be able to choose from the available types of companies and expand your business in time.

5. Estonian food: Nordic culinary traditions

Tourists in Estonia will always want to enjoy a traditional meal and experience the local cuisine at its finest. Restaurants in Estonia that want to preserve the Nordic cuisine will typically serve smoked meat and fish, black bread, black pudding (traditional Christmas dish), special rum liqueurs or marzipan. Investors who want a different approach to food can also open vegan, raw vegan or other gourmet food restaurants.

How to register a restaurant in Estonia

If you have read the reasons for opening an Estonian restaurant and have decided that this type of business suits you, we can help you set one up. Below, you can read about the procedures which need to be respected in order to start a restaurant business in Estonia.
The first step is to choose and register a company with the Estonian Trade Register. This is a mandatory requirement as no matter the commercial activity to be undertaken, it must be completed under one of the legal forms provided by the Company Act.
Among the structures under which a restaurant can operate is the limited liability company, which one of the most popular business forms chosen by both local and foreign entrepreneurs running businesses in Estonia.
If you want to open a restaurant in Estonia under the form of a limited liability company, you will need to:
  • -  prepare the documents for incorporation as requested by the Trade Register in Estonia;
  • -  file these documents with the Trade Register and obtain the Certificate of Registration;
  • -  register for taxation, VAT, social security and employment purposes with the right authorities;
  • -  hire specialized personnel for handling and preparing food in the Estonian restaurant;
  • -  apply for the necessary licenses which will allow you to start the operations.
Our company registration specialists in Estonia can assist with the incorporation procedure of a limited liability company for establishing a restaurant business in this country. We can also help if you choose another business form for your company.

Other reasons to open a restaurant in Estonia

The 5 reasons presented above are just a few of the many motives you could find in setting up a restaurant business in Estonia. The food market has now evolved, and you can set up small or medium-sized enterprises under which you can run such activities. From small food trucks which are quite popular and with which you can travel from side of the country to another, to large restaurants established in hotels in luxurious resorts, you can benefit from the advantages such a business has to offer. Also, food delivery is a subsector of the food industry that has evolved quite a lot in the past few years.
Apart from these, the restaurant sector is one that will always work, so you can branch out or you can stick to the traditional side of this business.
You must be aware of the fact that setting up a restaurant business implies registering a legal entity under which you will develop your activities. From this point of view, you can rely on our specialists in company registration in Estonia.

What to consider when opening a restaurant in Estonia

There are many aspects to consider when setting up a business in the food sector in Estonia, from legislation to competition and all of them must be carefully analyzed before starting any operations. Many of these issued can be comprised in the business plan which will reveal how you can make your business work base on realistic projections and comparison to the main competitors. Luckily, in the restaurant sector there is always room for more players, as people are interested in new venues and food, or better said, for anything new in the food sector. You can also rely on innovation if you want to get ahead the competition.
Starting a restaurant business in Estonia is now simpler than ever for foreign entrepreneurs who can use e-residency and have their companies registered before coming to the country to manage them.
Our agents are at your disposal with various services in order to help you set up any type of food business in Estonia.

The main laws related to starting a food business in Estonia

Legislation is one of the most important aspects to consider when opening a company in Estonia, and in the case of restaurants, the Food Act is the main law to provide for the requirements such establishments must meet. However, if they intend to allow clients to smoke or consume alcoholic beverages on the premises, the Tobacco Act, respectively the Alcohol Law, must also be respected.
These apply to traditional restaurants, but also catering establishments that allow clients on the premises.
Making sure you comply with these regulations is not difficult and legal guidance can be offered by our Estonian company formation advisors. We can also help you choose an appropriate business form for your restaurant based on its size.

The best Estonian cities to open a restaurant in

The capital city of Tallinn is by far considered by all entrepreneurs who want to set up restaurants in Estonia, however, there are also places worth exploring, among which Tartu and Narva are only two of them.
Estonia is full of picturesque places and tourism resorts in which restaurants can thrive. Among these, Parnu is one of the oldest and most renowned destinations in this country. Another resort preferred by foreign tourists is Haapsalu.
Saaremaa is one of the most important tourism destinations in Estonia and the main trait of restaurants here is that they use local ingredients to prepare the foods they serve which makes it very appealing for those seeking the real Estonian traditions.
Setomaa is also a place in which a restaurant will find many clients.
Estonia is a great country to start not just a restaurant, but a business in any other industry as bureaucracy here does not exist and foreign investors are always welcome. When considering the country is one of the most technologically advanced countries in Europe and in the world, it is no wonder it attracts entrepreneurs from all countries.

Licensing requirements when opening an Estonian restaurant

There are several laws which need to be respected when opening a restaurant in Estonia, and the most important one applicable to food handling facilities is the Food Act. Under this law, any restaurant owner in Estonia must obtain a food handling license which will enable them to carry out their operations.
In order to obtain a food handling license for an Estonian restaurant, the business owner must file the following documents and application forms with the Veterinary and Food Board office in the city the restaurant will operate:
  1.  a list of the ingredients and food products to be prepared, handled and cooked;
  2.  the blueprints of the establishment with a clear delimitation of the water and sewage supply lines;
  3.  the layout plans of the kitchen, dining rooms, toilets and other facilities on the premises;
  4.  information about the materials used for the furniture in the kitchen and other cooking places;
  5.  information about the technological process of handling and preparing the products;
  6.  information about the storage facilities on the premises and their storage capacities;
  7.  the results of water tests after having the water tested by an accredited laboratory;
  8.  a detailed pest control plan which must describe the measures taken in this sense;
  9.  the water removal plan which must also contain detailed information about how the waste will be collected and removed from the site;
  10.  the food hygiene plan and the name of the employees handling food products;
If the restaurant plans on making home deliveries, a transport plan must also be elaborated and submitted with the Veterinary and Food Board. The file will be analyzed by the members of the Board and the license will be issued after an inspection of the premises.
Other requirements imposed when opening a restaurant in Estonia will imply obtaining an alcohol license if the company plans on serving alcoholic drinks on the premises. Also, the trade name of the company followed by the word restaurant must be placed at the entry of the premises.

The restaurant sector in Estonia – key figures

The restaurant and food services in Estonia have developed a lot in the past few years, generating a revenue of approximately 629 million USD in 2019, according to
The same report also provides for the following data:
  • -  in 2020, despite the Coronavirus pandemic, the sector continued to grow and registered incomes of more than 655 million USD;
  • -  in 2021, the sector is expected to generate approximately 681 million USD;
  • -  in 2022, it is expected to grow to more than 700 million USD;
  • -  the same trend is predicted for 2023, when restaurants and other food services are to generate nearly 730 million USD in revenue.
If you are interested in investing in Tallinn, Tartu or other cities and need more details about company registration in Estonia, our team of consultants can help you. 
For complete guidance on the requirements related to opening a restaurant or any other type of business in Estonia, please contact us. We specialize in offering personalized company formation solutions for foreign investors in Estonia.

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Call us now at +372 51 50 803 to set up an appointment with our consultants in Tallinn. As our client, you will benefit from the joint expertise of local advisors  for opening a company in Estonia.

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