All you need to know about Catering in Serbia
Food Safety Regulations
Catering businesses in Serbia are subject to the comprehensive Food Safety Law. This law encompasses various aspects related to food and feed safety, including conditions, responsibilities of operators, crisis management, hygiene, quality, and more. It applies to all food and feed activities, whether public or private, profit-oriented or not, spanning production, processing, circulation, catering services, and meal delivery.
Key Provisions of the Food Safety Law
The Food Safety Law establishes a range of critical provisions, including the risk analysis process, official control systems, traceability, labeling, facility approval, operator obligations, consumer rights, and sanctions for violations. Complying with these provisions is essential for maintaining food safety and quality standards.
Additional Regulatory Framework
Aside from the Food Safety Law, catering businesses in Serbia must navigate other legal regulations. One such regulation is the Law on Tourism, which governs accommodation services, catering services, tourist agencies, and tourist guides. This law also outlines standards for categorizing accommodation facilities, the rights and obligations of tourists and service providers, and inspection supervision.
Holistic Compliance Considerations
Catering businesses in Serbia should be aware of various laws and regulations beyond food safety and tourism. These encompass taxation, labor, environmental protection, and consumer protection laws. Ensuring compliance with these broader legal frameworks is crucial for the overall success and sustainability of your catering venture.
Accessing Information and Resources
For those interested in entering the catering business in Serbia, valuable resources and guidance are available. The Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications offers comprehensive guides and instructions for starting and managing businesses in Serbia. Additionally, if you are from US, you can reach out to the Embassy of Serbia in Washington or the Consulate General of Serbia in Chicago or New York City for information on visa requirements and other entry conditions. Finally, many useful info can be found on our websites www.statt.rs and www.immigratetoserbia.com
Navigating the Legal Landscape
Operating a catering business in Serbia requires a thorough understanding of the legal landscape, with the Food Safety Law serving as a cornerstone. Complying with its provisions and other relevant regulations is essential for ensuring the safety, quality, and success of your catering operations. By accessing available resources and seeking guidance from the appropriate authorities, you can embark on your catering journey with confidence and compliance.
Do Serbian laws recognize catering services as a distinct category?
Yes, the Serbian law on hospitality recognizes catering services as a distinct category within the broader hospitality industry. These services are characterized by the preparation and provision of food and beverages to clients at locations other than the service provider’s own premises. This can include settings such as a client’s home, workplace, or event venue.
Catering services may be offered by various entities, including established catering facilities like restaurants and hotels, as well as specialized catering companies or individual entrepreneurs who have acquired the necessary license from the competent authority to engage in catering activities.
To ensure the quality, hygiene, safety, and environmental sustainability of their offerings, catering service providers are subject to the same standards and regulations as other hospitality providers. This includes upholding customer rights, fulfilling tax and fee obligations, maintaining comprehensive records and reports, and more1.
Furthermore, depending on the specific nature and location of their catering services, providers may also be required to secure additional permits or approvals from relevant authorities. These could involve inspections related to sanitation, fire protection, environmental compliance, and other pertinent considerations
What are the steps and requirements to start catering business in Serbia?
Choosing your business structure
To start a catering business in Serbia, you’ll need to decide on your business’s legal form. Options include a limited liability company (LLC), the most common and flexible form, or a sole proprietorship, which is simpler but offers less protection. Determine your ownership structure, business name, address, and main activity.
Next, register your business with the Business Registers Agency (BRA). The process involves submitting an application form, founding act, proof of registration fee payment, and other documents based on your legal form and activity. Fees are RSD 4,800 for an LLC and RSD 800 for a sole proprietorship, with registration taking up to 5 days.
Setting Up a Bank Account
Open a bank account for your catering business, providing your BRA registration certificate, tax identification number, and other required documents. Deposit the minimum capital, RSD 100 for an LLC or RSD 0 for a sole proprietorship. Various banks in Serbia, such as Banca Intesa, Raiffeisen Bank, and UniCredit Bank, are available options.
Acquiring Catering License
Acquiring a license for catering activities is crucial. Apply to the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, including proof of license fee payment, a copy of your BRA registration certificate, proof of premises ownership or lease, compliance with sanitary and fire safety standards, and other documents. License fees are RSD 6,000 for an LLC and RSD 3,000 for a sole proprietorship, valid for 5 years.
Tax and Insurance Registration
Register with the Tax Administration and the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund, providing necessary documents, including your BRA certificate and catering activity license. Choose a tax regime: corporate income tax (15% of net profit) or personal income tax (10% of gross income minus expenses). Pay social security contributions for yourself and employees (34.15% of gross salary).
Employee Hiring and Labor Compliance
If your catering business requires employees, register them with the BRA, Tax Administration, and Pension and Disability Insurance Fund. Ensure compliance with Serbian labor laws and regulations, covering aspects like minimum wage, working hours, annual leave, health, and safety.
Marketing and Promotion
Promote your catering business effectively to attract customers. Utilize various marketing channels such as online platforms, social media, flyers, brochures, and word-of-mouth recommendations. Establish connections with other businesses and organizations, including event planners, hotels, and corporations. Consider offering discounts and incentives to expand your customer base.
Preparing for Catering Success
These steps cover the primary legal requirements and practical actions needed to establish and run a catering business in Serbia. However, remember that running a successful catering venture also involves additional considerations, such as menu planning, food sourcing, equipment procurement or rental, logistics, quality control, and exceptional customer service. Depending on your location and the nature of your catering services, you may also require additional permits or approvals from relevant authorities.