Points to note when managing a restaurant under a business manager visa
With a business manager visa, you can conduct any business as long as it is legal under Japanese laws and regulations, including restaurant business, but there are some points to note when running a restaurant with a business manager visa.
In this article, we will list the points to note when operating a restaurant with a business manager visa.
1. Relationship between a business manager visa and restaurant business license
With a business manager visa, any type of business can be conducted as long as it is legal in Japan. Although the Immigration Act say that you can only conduct “activities to operate business of international trade or other businesses, […] in Japan” (cf. the right-hand column under “Business Manager” of the Appended Table I (2) of the Immigration Act), the activities are not limited to trade as it is only an example.
Having said that, license must be obtained (or at least applied for) by the time of application for any business that requires a license. In case of running a restaurant, you must obtain a restaurant business license at the health center having jurisdiction over the location of the restaurant based on the Food Sanitation Act.
The requirements for a restaurant business license include appointing a food hygiene manager and preparation of business facilities that meet the legal standards. When choosing a place for restaurant, you should make sure to choose a place with facilities meeting requirements for a restaurant business license, or a place where you may install necessary facilities.
While it is possible to obtain a restaurant business license for a mobile store (kitchen car) or a stall, the “business office” required for a business manager visa does not include such facilities that can be easily disassembled. Therefore, if you want to run a restaurant with a business manager visa, you must rent a fixed store.
2. Is it necessary to hire a person to get a business manager visa for restaurant management!?
You may be dreaming of opening a small restaurant where you will cook and serve dishes by yourself. Unfortunately, you cannot obtain a business manager visa for that. You cannot be the host/hostess of a small restaurant under a business manager visa.
For any activity type of status of residence including business manager visas, examination is carried out especially in light of what type of activities will be carried out in Japan. Business manager visas are given to foreigners who are to carry out business management activities in Japan, so the main activity must be the business management.
In this regard, cooking and serving customers are daily activities in a restaurant, but cooking, serving customers, and sales are not included in business manager visa activities, and are called non-clerical activities. In other words, with a business manager visa, in principle, business owners are prohibited from conducting non-clerical activities. Such activities must be conducted by employees while owners manage employment of employees, which is the downright activity of the business manager visa.
When hiring employees, it is necessary to think of how many people you should employ, taking into consideration business hours/days, number of seats, working hours of employees, and so on. If you, the owner, will have to serve customers in the restaurant, no matter how you set the employee schedule shift, you need more employees.
You also should be careful when hiring foreign students with the working hour restriction (within 28 hours per week). You need enough number of employees, considering their permitted hours.
Thus, to run a restaurant, it is essential to employ staff as owners are prohibited from conducting non-clerical activities, in principle. Having said that, owners are allowed to conduct non-clerical work which is incidental to management activities such as helping at the site for a short time to manage the attendance of employees and temporarily helping at the site due to a sudden shift change or absence.
3. How to make a business plan to obtain a business manager visa for restaurant management
When applying for a business manager visa, you must submit a business plan. If you are going to do restaurant management business, you need to make a business plan from a perspective different from other types of business.
First of all, in order to make a sales plan, you have to estimate the customer unit price (average amount from one customer) and how many customers you can expect per day. The number obtained by multiplying customer unit price by the number of customers per day is the amount of expected sales per day. It is not mandate, but if you calculate the expected sales for each day of the week as well as for each time slot, you can make the estimation to be more detailed.
Next, consideration to expenses is indispensable for business planning.
You need to prepare ingredients to serve food, electricity or gas to cook using such ingredients, and water to wash dishes. To obtain the amount of raw price, you need to calculate the cost of ingredients and utilities and subtract their total from the amount of sales. It is common to determine the product unit price (menu price) based on such raw price.
Moreover, labor costs, store rent, and advertising fees are also incurred as expenses.
In particular, labor costs for restaurant management are high. As explained above, please calculate how much labor cost will be required, taking into consideration the business hours, business days, number of seats, working hours of employees, etc. When hiring full-time employees, it is advisable to consider social insurance premiums as well.
The amount of the business profit is sales less expenses. Making a reasonable and realistic business plan is important for obtaining a business manager visa as well as for the success of business in Japan.
4. Summary of points to note when managing a restaurant under a business manager visa
In case of restaurant management business, it costs more and takes more time for preparation compering to other types of business, as you need to rent a place, get interior work done, acquire the restaurant business license, employ people, make business plans, etc.
On the other hand, it is easy to demonstrate the actual management of a restaurant as there is a store as a restaurant and the license has been acquired. Therefore, as long as you prepare well, it is relatively easy to obtain a business manager visa.
Although it requires a lot of preparation, if you really want to succeed in restaurant business, please give it a try!