Starting a hospitality business

If you want to start your own hospitality business there are many things you will need to arrange. A location, permits, insurance and more. Find out everything you need to know so you can be well-prepared to start your 'horeca' business in the Netherlands.

Times may be tough in the hospitality sector but the number of businesses is still growing. On 1 January 2024, there were 53,236 hospitality businesses registered with KVK. 

202049.919
202151.225
202252.799
202353.315
202453.236

Register with KVK 

Every entrepreneur is required to register with KVK. Make an appointment before you open for business. Before you come by to formalise your registration, complete the online registration form. Are you renting or buying a location? Bring a signed lease or sales contract to the appointment. And if you are becoming a franchisee, bring the franchise contract signed by both parties. 

Registering before your business opens

If you are not yet open for business but are already applying for permits, remodelling a building, purchasing goods, or signing a lease or financing agreement, you will usually need a KVK number. Fortunately, that does not have to be a problem, as you can register with KVK in advance

Laws and regulations 

The hospitality industry is known for its laws and legislation and the considerable amount of red tape. For example, permits, fire safety rules,  HACCP rules, and the new Alcohol Act (formerly the Licensing and Catering Establishment Act). Keep the costs and handling time into account when applying for permits. 

Sustainability

You will also have to deal with rules to make your businesses more sustainable. For example, the ban on free single-use plastics, and rules affecting your location or delivery service. Find out how you can make a green start and save time and money.  

Subsidies for sustainability

There are various subsidies you can apply for to help pay for making your equipment and business practices more sustainable. For example, the Environmental Investment Allowance (MIA), the Random depreciation of environmental investments (Vamil), and the Energy Investment Allowance (EIA). Some municipalities and provinces also offer free energy scans for hospitality entrepreneurs.

If you have questions about the rules and regulations for hospitality businesses, contact the KVK Advice Team on 088 585 22 22. Our advisors are happy to help. 

Location and premises 

The key to success is choosing the right location. Opening a restaurant on a street where there are alreay 10 similar eateries can be difficult. But starting a restaurant in a remote location is also challenging. Use the location scan (in Dutch) to add to the insights from your own field research. Want to quickly and easily count businesses in a particular industry in any given area? Check out the KVK Company Counter

Hospitality brokers like Funda in Business and Misset Horeca (in Dutch), your municipality's business desk, or your local shopping district manager can give you the details of businesses for sale, as well as vacant or soon-to-be vacant properties. 

Once you find a suitable property, consider the following: 

  • What does the lease or purchase contract say and are the price, term, and conditions negotiable? Bring in a specialist for support. 

  • Are your intended activities allowed under the local environment plan? Reach out to the municipality to find out. 

  • How much will you have to pay to remodel or furnish the space so that it complies with the energy-saving obligation? Include the costs in your business plan. 

Financing

You usually need financing to start your own hospitality business. Create a financial plan with a solid rationale to convince investors. Bring in a specialist for support, like an accountant. 

 The hospitality business comes with risks. A tight labour market, rising energy costs, and inflation can all affect your business. When starting out, think about how you want to deal with these types of risks and describe that in your financial plan. 

Try to combine several options to complete your financial plan. Apart from bank financing, you could also consider crowdfunding. You can also consider taking over an existing hospitality business. If the business is already successful, you will have an easier time securing financing. 

Finding staff 

Chances are that you will need helping hands for your business. You can employ staff, use an online supply & demand platform, bring in a temporary employment agency, or hire self-employed professionals. Finding the right people for your business is not always easy. Show people why they should want to work for you: the best businesses draw the best staff. Head to the hospitality inspiration box (KHN, in Dutch) for successful ways to recruit staff, as well as information about collective labour agreements, wages, and model agreements. 

General information for starters

As well as the topics above, as a starter in the hospitality sector you will also have to think about: