Obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai

Restaurant License Cost in Dubai

Restaurant businesses are some of the most broadly opened companies in Dubai and the UAE. In addition, among the top ten travel destinations around the globe, being the most attractive emirate; Dubai is witnessing a rise in the tourism sector every year. Therefore, obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai and starting in this business is one of the most rewarding options.

In this article, we will make sure you understand everything about restaurant licenses and why they are so popular in the UAE. In the same vein, you will learn how to start a restaurant business and the step-by-step process. But before deciding to open a restaurant in the city; you must follow a code of conduct and know certain information. Let us observe:

  1. How to open a restaurant business in Dubai?
  2. Restaurant field segments
  3. Selecting a food concept
  4. Other requirements for restaurant businesses in Dubai
  5. How can Connect Free Zone assist you to obtain a restaurant license?

1. How to open a restaurant business in Dubai?

Opening a restaurant business in Dubai may be a complex activity, especially if you are on your own. Therefore, you must plan every step you take carefully; skipping one may get you in legal trouble with the government authorities in charge. Similarly, let us observe the step-by-step process to open a restaurant business in Dubai.

1.1. Obtain Food and Trading Licenses

One of the first steps you must take is to get your food and restaurant license in Dubai from the authorities. That is to say, for the food license, you must approach the Department of Food and Safety; on the other hand, you can obtain the trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Its cost may range from AED 10,000 to AED 12,500; and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). And apart from these licenses, you may also need to obtain the following:

  • Vehicle permit license
  • Food consignment license
  • Liquor license

1.2. Choose the best location

Secondly, you must choose the most suitable location. This is an essential step that drives organizations. Dubai welcomes millions of tourists yearly, and while you set up a business, you must keep this key factor in mind. If you open a business that does not connect with clients, it will not grow.

The ideal process is to analyze and then establish a fixed location that has the targeted audience, it will help to drive the restaurant.

This beautiful city provides multiple options for entrepreneurs and business investors to start the business. For example, the available options are the UAE Free Zones, Offshore, Mainland, where each one has got their criteria to start a business. You need to think about and choose a suitable location for your restaurant business. Let us observe:

• Ease of suppliers
• Customer base
• Accessibility
• Visibility
• Affordability

1.3. Define the Business Plan

Once you have your business location outlined, you must decide on the business plan. That is to say, you must prepare a rough sketch to establish the plan and then analyze whether it will get implemented or not. In other words, this step allows you to understand the initiative you must take to drive the business further; every factor will contribute to your business massively.

1.4. Determine the business cost

This step is about the determination of the business costs. In addition, it is connected directly to the previous one. That is to say, once you have built it, you can determine the business costs according to the location and the size of the business you want to set up.

When you deal with it in practice you will question yourself, “How much will it cost?”. You must make a throughout estimated budget for variable and fixed costs. Therefore, let’s observe the involved costs:

  • Local Sponsor: AED 10, 000 yearly
  • Trade License: from AED 30,000 to 40,000
  • Immigration and labor: AED 8,000
  • Restaurant rent: AED 60,000 or more

1.5. Invest in the right technology

Technology has influenced the hospitality field as well. Thus, there is equipment available to allow the staff to deal with several processes such as maintaining, cooking, and billing. In the same vein, when you are in the process of obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai and starting your business, you must keep in mind the technological investment as well.

1.6. Hire qualified workers

You need a qualified and experienced staff in your restaurant. Similarly, it is said that workers are the cornerstone and representation of the business. If your team is organized, the growth opportunity of your restaurant is bigger. In the same vein, if they are not experienced enough, your business will be affected.

2. Restaurant field segments

Recognizing where a restaurant may fit in the industry can allow you to understand the competitive environment. In addition, it will allow you to strategize your market entry and your food costs when opening it. Similarly, you can break down the establishments into various segments such as fast-food joints to prestigious restaurants:

  • Fast food restaurants: They are also known as quick-service restaurants (QSRs). They specialize in casual service and rapid preparation. In addition, the seating is limited; most clients order at the register and take their food to go.
  • Fast-casual establishments: They are similar to fast-food places as they do not usually provide sit-down services. However, they offer freshly-made food of good quality. Therefore, their food prices are higher than fast-food restaurants. On the other hand, another difference from QSRs is that they provide non-disposable plates and utensils.
  • Casual dining: They offer a sit-down, full-service experience for customers at more affordable pricing. With a relaxed ambiance, customers are able to sit down and enjoy their meals without a high expense.
  • Family dining: It is similar to casual dining. However, most of them do not serve alcohol. Similarly, family dining restaurants offer lunch, dinner, and breakfast options; this makes them open more hours.
  • Fine dining: These types of restaurants provide customers with an upscale and elegant experience. That is to say, these restaurants have higher price points and customers know they are paying for the best food and service the industry provides.

3. Selecting a food concept

All restaurant customers want to have a delightful dining experience. They do not necessarily want to be surprised. Therefore, if you are going for a family-style steakhouse (based on the décor or name of the place); but you find yourself in a different environment with a confusing and pricey gourmet menu, the surprise may ruin the moment.

That is to say, restaurants give the customers a way to know in advance what they will expect. Similarly, here are some of the most common concepts:

3.1. Seafood

Quick services seafood restaurants usually offer a limited range of options; often limited to fried seafood. On the other hand, upscale and midscale restaurant businesses have a wider food offering prepared in ways other than fried such as grilled, broiled, and baked. Further, seafood is a risky area to focus on; prices are always changing and some types of seafood are seasonal.

The quality can also vary massively; and when shopping for seafood, ensure the pieces are fresh and meet your quality standards.

3.2. Steakhouses

These are part of the upscale and midscale markets. That is to say, they are often family-oriented and offer a more casual place with meals perceived as good. In addition, they also offer a more formal atmosphere and serve larger pieces of meat with better quality than those served in other types of restaurants.

In the same vein, upscale restaurants also have higher prices. Meanwhile, the décor is similar to other fine-dining establishments; thus, they offer more privacy.

3.3. Ethnic restaurants

Before you obtain your restaurant license in Dubai; you must have in mind these restaurants are very popular worldwide. That is to say, they offer a range from quick-service with limited food to upscale restaurants with a broader variety of menu items. In addition, their menus usually include the most popular types of ethnic food such as:

• Caribbean
• Thai
• Korean
• Japanese
• English
• German
• French
• Indian
• Mediterranean and Vietnamese

3.4. Pizzeria

You have two main choices when starting a pizzeria. Firstly, you have a go-to modern restaurant high a special menu highlighted by pizza, a self-service atmosphere, and limited seating. Secondly, the other is a full-service restaurant with a menu featuring not only beer, wine, or pizzas; but also, Italian entries like lasagna ravioli, and spaghetti.

Similarly, side dishes such as salads or a few desserts. In addition, the foundation of a pizzeria is the pizza, but if you do not know how to make one; you must hire a cook who does. You must also invest in the best preparation methods and ingredients; make all pizzas as if they were for you. If you do that, you will have customers coming back for more.

4. Other requirements for restaurant businesses in Dubai

The government body issues the restaurant license in Dubai after they have reviewed your plan for the building. Similarly, the food permit sets the layout plan for the restaurant interior. In addition, additional licenses are required for extra permissions, like offering delivery services and/or serving pork or liquor.

  • The kitchen must have a physical area of 300 to 305sq ft (if you have a tandoor in it). Or 45% of the total area of the place.
  • You must have a good ventilation system. However, the chimney must be 2 meters higher than the nearest building.
  • Floors, roofs, and walls must be non-absorbent, fireproof, and washable.
  • There should be a container for cleaning the vegetables, a separate one for washing the utensils, and other for meat.
  • The drainage pipe must be at a distance of 2 inches from the walls.

5. How can Connect Free Zone assist you to obtain a restaurant license?

We want you to open the best restaurant business in Dubai and the UAE. That is why we offer you the best discounts, pricing, and packages if you want to set up your business in any of Dubai’s Free Zones or Mainland. In other words, we can also easily sponsor your business if you want to set up in Mainland Dubai.

We understand that establishing a business in a new market may be a complicated task. In Connect Free Zone, we will allow you to easily set up in the best and most popular Free Zones in this beautiful country.

Most importantly, we have more than 2 decades of experience working with all types of businesses in the UAE. We have more than 20 years assisting individuals and companies reach their goals and starting their restaurant businesses; that allowed us to obtain the necessary experience we need to guide you to set up in Dubai.

With us, you will find the best destination for your restaurant business. That is to say, we will make sure you benefit from all the jurisdictions. In the same vein, we compare free zones’ perks, rules, prices, and locations regarding your business PRO services and goals.

Would you like Connect Free zone to help you obtain a restaurant license in Dubai? If you want to set up your restaurant business in the UAE as soon as possible, or if you have additional inquiries. You are can call us at +97143316688 whenever you desire. At the same time, you can send us an email via contact@connectfz.com.


Kane Bernard

Avatar photoKane BernardHe is a dynamic Enterprise Development Manager with a proven track record in driving business growth and innovation. With a strategic mindset and a passion for fostering enterprise success, he excels in identifying new market opportunities, developing strategic partnerships, and enhancing operational efficiencies. His expertise includes market analysis, business planning, and project management, enabling her to guide enterprises through complex development stages.

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