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Old 17.11.2018, 12:36
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Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

Hi everyone,
I am thinking about opening a small gelato shop in Zurich where I would like to serve also some aperitif (finger food + alcohol) as happy hour.
I have made several phone calls to different offices in Zurich e.g. city hall, chamber of commerce, etc.. but none of them was able to give me a list of requirements to meet when opening such a business.
Did anyone of you ever open a similar business and could perhaps sit down with me to explain me what would be the best procedure to follow?
I have an Italian passport, a permit "C" but I do not speak German.
Thank you all in advance for your help!
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Old 17.11.2018, 14:13
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

First step is to find premises and that's not easy. Commercial premises licensed for gastro use are rare and very expensive.

Then you apply at the Gemeinde for a food handling license and the police for alcohol. Before you're allowed to open the police, fire brigade and health dept check to see if your premises are safe for customers.
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Old 17.11.2018, 14:26
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

Also, do you have the proper diplomas?

Don't know if Zurich is the same as Ticino, but here you, or one of your employees, must have a "Diploma cantonale di esercente".

http://www.gastroformazione.ch/Deskt...8&languageId=1

Tom
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Old 17.11.2018, 15:38
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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Also, do you have the proper diplomas?

Don't know if Zurich is the same as Ticino, but here you, or one of your employees, must have a "Diploma cantonale di esercente".
"Wirtepatent" is the German name. And no, you do not need one in Canton Zurich. See this map: https://www.wirtepatent.ch/de/wirtepatent-3.html

It still may make sense do to course if one is a total noob in the food and drink business. Advantage, you will get an overview of all relevant laws, regulations and will hopefully pass a food inspection easily. Disadvantage, it costs money and there are numerous offers from different providers. Some self learning some in a class setting.
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Old 17.11.2018, 16:13
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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First step is to find premises and that's not easy. Commercial premises licensed for gastro use are rare and very expensive.

Then you apply at the Gemeinde for a food handling license and the police for alcohol. Before you're allowed to open the police, fire brigade and health dept check to see if your premises are safe for customers.
Thank you for the info Grumpygrapefruit but I am a bit confused.
Are you trying to tell me that I have to rent a commercial premise before even knowing if I can run a business there?
Or is it simply enough to find a suitable premise on homegate and give the address to the gemainde? And then perhaps agree with the landlord to let the fire brigade and health dept inspect the premise and only then sign the lease?
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Old 17.11.2018, 16:17
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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"Wirtepatent" is the German name. And no, you do not need one in Canton Zurich. See this map: https://www.wirtepatent.ch/de/wirtepatent-3.html

It still may make sense do to course if one is a total noob in the food and drink business. Advantage, you will get an overview of all relevant laws, regulations and will hopefully pass a food inspection easily. Disadvantage, it costs money and there are numerous offers from different providers. Some self learning some in a class setting.
That's a good piece of advice! Thank you
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Old 17.11.2018, 16:56
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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"Wirtepatent" is the German name. And no, you do not need one in Canton Zurich. See this map: https://www.wirtepatent.ch/de/wirtepatent-3.html

It still may make sense do to course if one is a total noob in the food and drink business. Advantage, you will get an overview of all relevant laws, regulations and will hopefully pass a food inspection easily. Disadvantage, it costs money and there are numerous offers from different providers. Some self learning some in a class setting.
Wow, I actually thought it was rendered unnecessary in entire Switzerland.

Good to know that piece of paper in my folder might still come in handy some day.
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Old 17.11.2018, 17:31
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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Thank you for the info Grumpygrapefruit but I am a bit confused.
Are you trying to tell me that I have to rent a commercial premise before even knowing if I can run a business there?
Or is it simply enough to find a suitable premise on homegate and give the address to the gemainde? And then perhaps agree with the landlord to let the fire brigade and health dept inspect the premise and only then sign the lease?
Some (most?) of what they inspect for will be installation-dependent. To name a couple very basic examples, you should not have kitchen equipment blocking the fire exits, not have a fridge full of expired food etc. etc.

So no, you can't do those inspections on an empty building before you rent it.
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Old 17.11.2018, 18:08
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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Wow, I actually thought it was rendered unnecessary in entire Switzerland.

Good to know that piece of paper in my folder might still come in handy some day.
Nope! You need it here in Vaud as well. You can rent one. So maybe see if you can convert yours to a Vaud one and sit back and collect your 'royalties'.
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Old 17.11.2018, 18:46
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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Nope! You need it here in Vaud as well. You can rent one. So maybe see if you can convert yours to a Vaud one and sit back and collect your 'royalties'.
I was offered such a deal when it still was compulsory in Zurich.
It was illegal though. The bearer of the diploma had to be present 40 hours a week ..... my real job payed better than the offer was and shouldn't illegal stuff bring more money than the legal?

Didn't do it then but the times they are a changing - you just opened a whole new can .....

By the way, it is not cantonal (unless they changed that). I did the school in Str. Gallen, planning to use the diploma in Zurich.
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Old 17.11.2018, 20:04
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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I was offered such a deal when it still was compulsory in Zurich.
It was illegal though. The bearer of the diploma had to be present 40 hours a week ..... my real job payed better than the offer was and shouldn't illegal stuff bring more money than the legal?

Didn't do it then but the times they are a changing - you just opened a whole new can .....

By the way, it is not cantonal (unless they changed that). I did the school in Str. Gallen, planning to use the diploma in Zurich.
I'm not sure if it's illegal here. But I can tell you it happens a lot!
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Old 17.11.2018, 21:06
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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I do not speak German.
I'd think it would be a rather difficult task to open a bar and gelato shop without speaking, and more particularly reading and writing, German. That doesn't mean it can't be done… just that it will take a lot more hard work on your part, and/or that you will need to get someone to work with you, who will deal with the authorities and suppliers, etc..

Here, for example, is the info page of Zurich City's, for hospitality in general
https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/pd/de/i...irtschaft.html
and here specifically for opening a restaurant. You would Need to find out whether your concept counts as a "restaurant", or not.
https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/pd/de/i...estaurant.html

In some places, these pages refer to the relevant regulations.

Perhaps you could run the info and the regulations through google translate or deepl, to get the general idea.
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Old 17.11.2018, 21:58
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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Thank you for the info Grumpygrapefruit but I am a bit confused.
Are you trying to tell me that I have to rent a commercial premise before even knowing if I can run a business there?
Or is it simply enough to find a suitable premise on homegate and give the address to the gemainde? And then perhaps agree with the landlord to let the fire brigade and health dept inspect the premise and only then sign the lease?
Well as I said earlier, the most difficult part is actually finding somewhere that allows Gastro activity at a reasonable price. If it allows Gastro activity then the inspections will just be to to check that fire escapes aren't blocked, that the toilets capacity are enough for the number of seats and that your storage and work prep areas fulfill cleanliness rules.

For example, when I opened my bar we had to remove all wooden shelves in the store room that we put boxes of bottled beers on - if a bottle broke the beer would soak into the wood and cause contamination - and we had to replace them with metal ones.

The fire dept inspection was easy, we hadn't bought fire extinguishers as we wanted to ask the inspector which ones we should get and where we should put them. He told us our bar was small enough not to need them! (imagine that in the UK). They won't forbid you to open unless you have serious issues, but they will have suggestions. Just work with them, they want you to succeed in the end.

But as I said, don't worry about all of this unless you have found suitable and affordable premises and that you have enough cash behind you to fund the new business.
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Old 18.11.2018, 02:41
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

AFAIK, most commercial leases are only available for long-term?

Means you might be on the hook for a good while, until you find a replacement-tenant.

The bigger question to me is: where the hell would such a shop make sense, commercially?

People don't take the tram or a taxi to grab a scoop of ice-cream.
It has to be where people are inclined to make an impulse-purchase - if only to pacify their whining kids.

So, in vicinity to popular pedestrian areas, next to a cinema (or a similar location) or in a shopping center.
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Old 18.11.2018, 09:18
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

You sure it's a good idea to open a gelato shop in Winter ?
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Old 18.11.2018, 09:29
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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You sure it's a good idea to open a gelato shop in Winter ?
I would say you would need min 18 months planning before you could open, so that would be summer 2020
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Old 18.11.2018, 10:25
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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People don't take the tram or a taxi to grab a scoop of ice-cream.
It has to be where people are inclined to make an impulse-purchase - if only to pacify their whining kids.

So, in vicinity to popular pedestrian areas, next to a cinema (or a similar location) or in a shopping center.
They might if it was the best ice cream in Switzerland.
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Old 18.11.2018, 16:06
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

That made me want to see where there's a specialist gelateria in Zurich, such that people would make the effort to travel there. I was amazed at how many hits google delivered for "beste glace in Zürich".

Here's an article claiming that the choice of ice-cream shops in Zurich is growing almost monthly.

https://bazonline.ch/zueritipp/gastr...story/21786527 (14th July 2018)
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Old 18.11.2018, 18:23
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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They might if it was the best ice cream in Switzerland.
Maybe. Once.

But that's not enough to run a successful business - that much I have learned just from reading the "I want to open a XYZ-business" threads here ;-)

Unless your commercial rent is very low and you have a 2nd income you can actually live on.

Never underestimate the laziness of people - that's why shops in train-stations work.


As for the gelaterias in Zurich - it's not always transparent, where they're getting their "home-made" ice-cream from, actually. And even then, it's a question of just how much of it is actually made from scratch.
You can buy ready-made pastes where you basically only need to add milk/cream.

E.g.
http://www.hansaspeiseeisbedarf.de
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Old 18.11.2018, 18:45
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Re: Requirements for opening a bar+gelato shop. Can you help?

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Maybe. Once.

But that's not enough to run a successful business - that much I have learned just from reading the "I want to open a XYZ-business" threads here ;-)
I wasn't questioning whether it was enough to run a successful business - I was stating that if the product was good enough, people would travel for it.

There's an ice cream place in Sicily that's supposed to be the best in the world - I know people who have made a two hour excursion to go there.

I think ten minutes across town is doable for a product that is good enough.
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