The deli or Salumeria is Italy’s version of the convenience store. The Salumeria doesn’t only sell hams, cheese, produce or basic groceries, it also is a place where Italian people come to socialize and generally keep abreast on what’s going on in the community. In this way, the Salumeria is definitely engraved in the fabric of Italian culture, especially in smaller cities and towns.
If you’re a foreigner and your dream is to be an owner of a Salumeria in Italy, you’d be happy to know that foreigners can own businesses in Italy. And, if you’re willing to invest money, have a lot of patience for Italian bureaucracy and can put in a lot of time and effort, then, opening your own deli in Italy is very possible. Below are some helpful steps that might be a good start in your journey to opening your own Salumeria.
1. Take time to get to know the business and the people
If you’re not already familiar with the Salumeria business, then take some time to learn about it by doing your research as well as talking to the people who already own one. Italians are generally nice and open people, and for sure, if you ask, they will be more than happy to share their experiences.
Take time to know the Italian business culture. The way Italians do business is more socially and family oriented, and they won’t generally take risks especially when it comes to business. So, don’t be surprised if it seems that they are treating your business differently if it is owned by a foreigner. It takes time for them to warm up.
With this said, the success of your business largely depends on your social skills. So, if you can, take time to get to know the people in your community, and one of the best ways to do this is to learn the Italian language. Italians love it when they see you make an effort to learn their language. Language lessons for foreigners are usually offered for free ( you only pay tax) by the government. So check with the local Labor Center to check which schools offer this program.
2. Create an actionable business plan
A good business whether it’s a deli or a construction company always begins with a well-written business plan. Admittedly, it is cumbersome to write one, but it is necessary because this is like a map for your entire business endeavor. When you get lost, you can come back to it, and it will remind you the how, when and why you’re doing this in the first place.
The format for writing a business plan for a Salumeria is the same for writing a plan for any other businesses. If you’re unsure about what to write, you can always download a business plan template on the internet. It typically contains all that you need to put in a standard business plan.
3. Find a suitable place
You can either buy your own place or you can rent one. But, whichever way you want to do it, keep this in mind: Location, location , location. The success of your Salumeria business also largely depends on where you are going to put it. So make sure that you do your research on the best place to put your
If you’re going to go thru the renting route, make sure that you understand the clauses of the contract before you sign it because it’s going to be written in Italian. If you are not that well versed in Italian yet, get somebody to translate it for you. If you can’t find somebody, turn to technology and use translation software.
4. Get financing
If you don’t have enough money to get the business off the ground, then, it might be time for you to think about getting a loan from the bank.
Different banks have different requirements, so make sure that you check with the local banks in your area for what they need.
5. Get permits and licenses
For you to be able to operate your Salumeria, you need to make sure that your documents are in order. For foreigners, you need to have the following documents to be able to start the process of getting a business license or Partita IVA as it is called in Italy:
- Permesso di Soggiorno ( Residence Permit). There are different types of residence permit depending on the motive of your stay in Italy. There are two ways that you can get a residence permit in Italy: 1. Get a form from your local post office and submit the form in the said post office and pay a fee of about 100 Euros or 2) Go to your local Questura which is basically a police station in charge of issuing the residence permit.
- Codice Fiscale ( Fiscal Code) This roughly translates to your individual tax number. You can take this from your local Finance office and you need your Residence permit to take it. This is the same number that will appear in your health care.
A business permit is known as a Partita Iva in Italy. To get this, you can go to your local commercialista (business consultant), and they will be able to do this for you. Expect to pay more or less around 100 Euros for this service.
You generally have more or less three years to get the business running or else the Partita IVA expires and you have to get a new one.
A word for the wise: While you might be tempted to take the Partita IVA yourself, don’t give in to that temptation. Italian bureaucracy is extremely confusing, and if you are not that fluent in Italian, it is highly suggested that you leave the work to the commercialista.
In addition, taking your personal and business permits, you also need to take the necessary building permits, after your proposed design has been approved. Again everything needs a permit in Italy, so you need to be well organized as well as have a lot of patience. The best way to handle this is to contact a local architectural firm since you need one anyway if you want to remodel the place. They can take care of getting the necessary permits.
Depending on where you live, some firms might already by using programs like construction safety inspection software to check the remodeling which can be beneficial since the structure has to be checked and rechecked by various agencies.
As with any business, insurance is an important aspect of the Salumeria. Shop around for the best local insurance agency or ask your commercialista. They usually have insider knowledge of who offers the best rate.
7. Find suppliers
One of the most important things that a Salumeria has to have of course is what is inside it. You can choose to source your supplies like produce from the local farmers, or you can go to special warehouses in Italy who cater only to business owners to take your products. To enter these places, you need your partita IVA. Since you need this document a lot, it might be a good idea to print one and put in your phone or place a copy on your phone.
8. Hire employees
Unless you want to run the Salumeria by yourself ( something that’s not unheard of in Italy) you might be thinking about hiring people to help you manage it.
However, before you hire your first Italian employee, make sure that you are familiar with the labor laws of Italy as well as the tax requirements.
Italians are generally easy-going people, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to find one that you can get along with.