Difference Between a cafeteria and a restaurant license in Dubai

by commitbizadmin 25, Jan 2023

Opening a restaurant or a cafeteria business in Dubai can be rewarding, as the city is known for its diverse and vibrant culinary scene. It is also a competitive market, and there are several things that you should keep in mind before starting a business in the sector and one such thing is the need for clarity on the license type.

Many need clarification on the difference between a cafeteria license and a restaurant license in Dubai. This blog can throw some insights into it.

What is the Difference Between a Cafeteria and a Restaurant License in Dubai?

In Dubai, a cafeteria license and a restaurant license are both commercial licenses issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Dubai Municipality. However, they pertain to different types of food service establishments.

A cafeteria license is issued to businesses that primarily serve prepared food, such as sandwiches and salads, and drinks, such as coffee and tea, in a self-service format. Cafeterias are typically found in office buildings, hospitals, and other public places.

On the other hand, a restaurant license is issued to businesses that provide table service and serve a wider variety of food and beverages, such as a full menu of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Restaurants can be found in many locations, including stand-alone buildings, shopping centers, and hotels.

Both licenses require compliance with the regulations and guidelines set by the Dubai Municipality and DED, including health and safety standards, requirements for the design and layout of the establishment, and staffing levels.

Now that we have understood there is much of a difference between a cafeteria license and a restaurant license in Dubai, let us see the procedure to obtain them.

Cafeteria and Restaurant License in Dubai

Both cafeteria business and restaurant business is a subcategory of the food and beverage industry and the procedure for obtaining both a cafeteria and a restaurant license are more or less similar.

Choose a Location: You will need to find a suitable location for your cafeteria or restaurant and ensure that it complies with all the zoning and land-use regulations set by the Dubai Municipality.

Obtain Pre-Approval: Before applying for a license, you must get pre-approval for your cafeteria from the Dubai Municipality. This involves submitting plans and drawings of your proposed cafeteria or restaurant, as well as providing information about the type of food and beverages you plan to serve, and the capacity of the establishment.

Submit The Application and Pay The Fees: Once you have received pre-approval, you can submit an application for a cafeteria license or a restaurant license to the Department of Economic Development (DED). You will need to pay the required licensing fees along with the application.

Provide Supporting Documents: The DED will also require you to submit certain supporting documents, such as your lease agreement, information of the shareholders etc.

Inspection and Approval: After the DED receives the completed application and necessary documents, the Dubai municipality will conduct an inspection of the location. Once your cafeteria or restaurant has passed the inspection, you will receive your license.

Get your Cafeteria and Restaurant License in Dubai Through Commitbiz

It is important to research and comply with all the necessary regulations, procedures and requirements as determined by the UAE law before applying for a license. And suppose you are planning on opening a food service establishment in Dubai. It is advisable to consult with a professional to ensure that you are fully aware of all the requirements and regulations that must be met before you apply for a license.

There is where Commitbiz comes into the picture. With 15+ years of experience in incorporating businesses, we are well-versed in procedures related to company formation. So, to get cafeteria and restaurant license in Dubai, contact us.


Can I open a café or restaurant in the mainland?

Yes, you can start on the mainland.

Can foreigners open a café or restaurant in Dubai?

Yes, foreigners are allowed to start a food business in Dubai.

Is it difficult to open a café or restaurant in Dubai?

No, you can always get the help of a professional to make the process easier.

How long will it take to get a café or restaurant license in Dubai?

If all the documents are proper, it will not take more than 4 to 5 working days.