Restaurant Business Setup Guide in Dubai, UAE

Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai, UAE - Smart Zones UAE

Dubai, a global business hub with over 200 nationalities, offers ideal conditions for launching a restaurant in the UAE. The international foodservice market, valued at USD 3tn, remains robust, with the UAE's restaurant sector estimated at USD 3.3bn. Dubai residents dine out approximately 6.75 times weekly, making it a prime market for restaurant entrepreneurs. If you're considering starting a restaurant in Dubai, seize this opportune moment in a thriving industry.

Why Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai?

Fueled by the global 'foodie' movement, Dubai and whole UAE emerge as enticing destinations for aspiring restaurateurs. With around 4.7 million annual tourists, Dubai is an ideal hub for restaurant ventures. As Dubai gains recognition as a culinary hotspot, opening a restaurant here holds significant profit potential when executed correctly.

  • A diverse consumer base from Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.
  • Expanding tourism industry.
  • Government commitment to economic growth.
  • Incentives for food and beverage businesses.

However, before launching your restaurant or cafeteria in Dubai, UAE, several challenges must be addressed. This includes obtaining the necessary licenses and considering setup costs tailored to your specific business type.

Types of Restaurant License in Dubai, UAE

Before obtaining a license, it's important to familiarize yourself with the available options. In Dubai, you can choose from different restaurant licenses:

Floating Restaurant License

This license is suitable for those planning to operate a restaurant or coffee shop for tourists, particularly on yachts, ships, or boats. It permits the serving of food and beverages to tourists during their leisure trips or while the yacht is anchored.

Restaurant and Coffee Shop License

If you intend to establish a larger coffee shop or restaurant in Dubai, you'll require a restaurant and coffee shop license. This license grants permission for a well-equipped kitchen and seating arrangements, both indoors and outdoors. It also allows you to serve a variety of beverages.

Mini Store and Restaurant License

This commercial license is ideal for running a compact restaurant or coffee shop. It authorizes the preparation and serving of food and snacks in an indoor setting. Moreover, it offers the flexibility to sell consumer goods like newspapers, canned food, bakery items, dairy products, and more.

Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai, UAE - Smart Zones UAE

Advantages of Establishing a Restaurant Business in Dubai

Dubai is a popular destination for tourists and expatriates from all over the world. This makes it a great place to start a restaurant business. Here are some of the advantages of establishing a restaurant business in Dubai:

  • High demand for food: Dubai has a diverse population with a wide range of culinary preferences. This means that there is a high demand for food from all over the emirate.
  • Thriving tourism industry: Dubai is a major tourist destination, with over 17.2 million international tourists visiting the city in 2022. This provides a large potential customer base for restaurant businesses.
  • Favorable business environment: Dubai has a business-friendly environment with low taxes and minimal bureaucracy. This makes it easy to start and operate a restaurant business in the city.
  • World-class infrastructure: Dubai has world-class infrastructure, including roads, airports, and ports. This makes it easy to transport and import food and supplies.
  • Skilled workforce: Dubai has a large pool of skilled workers, including chefs, waiters, and managers. This makes it easy to find qualified staff for your restaurant business.
  • High disposable incomes: Dubai has a high population with disposable incomes. This means that people are willing to spend money on dining out.
  • Government support: The Dubai government is supportive of the restaurant industry. It has introduced a number of initiatives to promote the industry, such as the Dubai Food Festival.
  • Vibrant social scene: Dubai has a vibrant social scene with a wide range of restaurants, bars, and clubs. This makes it a popular destination for people to eat out and socialize.

Suitable Location for Restaurant Business in Dubai, UAE

When deciding where to establish your restaurant, you have two options:

  • 1. Free Zone: Many expatriate entrepreneurs favor Free Zone as they enable full ownership (100%) of the company without the need for a local sponsor.
  • 2. Mainland Area: Mainland setup requires allocating 51% of your company to a local Emirati sponsor. Interestingly, for restaurants, the preferred choice is often the mainland. This is because, in Free Zones, your restaurant operations are limited to that specific zone. In contrast, the mainland allows you the flexibility to expand your restaurant business across the entire country, making it ideal for those planning to open multiple branches.

Consider factors like your restaurant operations, target market, and long-term goals when selecting a structure, consult legal and business experts for guidance.

Step-by-Step Guide to Get a Restaurant License in Dubai, UAE

If you're an entrepreneur looking to tap into the thriving food industry, follow these steps to secure your license and establish a successful restaurant business.

Begin by choosing the economic zone in Dubai, be it a free zone or mainland. Seek advice from business setup experts for guidance on selecting the right jurisdiction.

Craft a comprehensive business plan considering your business vision, financial viability, brand management, and contingency plans. Submit this plan to the relevant authorities.

Apply for the necessary business and food licenses from the Food Safety Department and the Department of Tourism, Commerce, or relevant free zone authority. If you plan to open a cafeteria, a cafeteria license is also required.

Comply with Dubai's food code, ensuring the highest food safety standards for residents and visitors.

Create a solid financial plan that covers initial investments, equipment, staffing, and licensing costs. For best estimation of capital requirements contact with professional business setup consultants in dubai, UAE like Smart Zones® UAE.

Stay competitive by investing in cutting-edge technology for cooking, billing, and other operational aspects of your restaurant.

Recruit qualified and skilled staff to represent your restaurant and contribute to its success. A well-organized team is essential for achieving business goals, as untrained employees may fall short of expectations.

Remember that the process may vary depending on your chosen jurisdiction and types of operations. Consulting legal and business experts familiar with Dubai's restaurant business landscape is highly recommended.

Operating since 2013, Smart Zones® UAE provides on-going support to obtain Business Services License in Dubai, UAE incuding Restaurant Business.

Looking for a seamless business setup experience? Trust Smart Zones® Dubai to pave the way.

Required documents for starting a restaurant in UAE or Dubai.

  • A copy of your trade license
  • Architectural blueprint or restaurant layout (required in specific free zones)
  • Any additional permits, such as a liquor license, if applicable
  • A copy of the investor's passport
  • A copy of the investor's visa
  • Two passport-sized colored photographs
  • A comprehensive business plan

Additional documents might be necessary based on your chosen location and type of restaurant.

Cost of Establishing a Restaurant in Dubai, UAE

The Cost associated with establishing a restaurant business in Dubai can vary based on several factors. These include the restaurant's size, location, cuisine type, and the quality of its furnishings. Dubai Economic Development (DED) offers support for obtaining a restaurant license, which can be registered as a sole proprietorship, allowing foreign nationals to own 100% of the restaurant. The approximate cost for a restaurant license in Dubai is AED 18,260. For a detailed and precise breakdown of the licensing costs, it is advisable to reach out to Smart Zones® UAE, reputable business setup consultants in Dubai, UAE.

Asked Questions (FAQs)

Dubai's diverse consumer base and thriving tourism industry make it a prime market for restaurant entrepreneurs.

Dubai offers various licenses, including Floating Restaurant, Restaurant and Coffee Shop, and Mini Store and Restaurant licenses.

Advantages include high demand for food, a thriving tourism industry, a favorable business environment, world-class infrastructure, and a skilled workforce.

You can choose between a Free Zone, which allows 100% ownership, or the Mainland, which often provides more flexibility for restaurant expansion.

The process involves jurisdiction selection, business plan development, obtaining licenses and permits, adhering to food regulations, financial planning, technology investment, and hiring skilled staff.

Required documents typically include a trade license, restaurant layout, investor's passport and visa copies, business plan, and other permits as needed.

The cost can vary based on factors like restaurant size, location, and cuisine type, but an approximate cost for a restaurant license in Dubai is AED 18,260. For a precise breakdown, consult experts like Smart Zones® UAE.

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