Planning to start restaurant business in Dubai? We have all the answers.

by Zaara 20, Dec 2016

Planning to start restaurant business in Dubai? We have all the answers.

Food is a lucrative business industry and the Middle East is the hub of delicious culinary delights from all over the world. One of the key reasons why people travel to places in the UAE like Dubai is to have a taste of world cuisine and enrich their travelling experience.

Increasing numbers of businessmen are eyeing the restaurant business in Dubai. Nearly 2000 restaurants have opened up in Dubai in the last one and a half year alone.

People are willing to try newer cuisines, new food specialities and tantalize their taste buds. After all, one of the most important parts of travelling to a foreign country is to indulge in local and global cuisine.

Business Setup Dubai: Food Sector

For opening a restaurant business in Dubai, you have to follow the ‘Food Code’.
Food code is the initiative of the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality to ensure food safety from the start point of food production to endpoint of food consumption. It is an initiative with an endeavour to guide the primary person in charge at the restaurant and instil food safety standards in the food industry.

There are similar food codes in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong. This shows how committed the Dubai government is to match up with world food standards.

The food code is applicable to the following types of business setup in Dubai.

  1. Restaurants, hotels, cafeteria, and cafes.
  2. Bakeries
  3. Butcheries
  4. Foodservice operation institution in schools and hospitals.
  5. Supermarket, grocery, and departmental stores.
  6. Food factories and warehouses
  7. Food catering services, supplies to the cruise ship, desert camps, events and canteens
  8. Food packing material manufacturers and supplies
  9. Kiosks, temporary and permanent food events, and mobile vending operations

Restaurant Business in Dubai - Licensing Requirement

You require two types of licenses for opening a restaurant in Dubai

Trade License

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing provides a trade license for business setup in Dubai. You must select an appropriate food establishment type you want to operate in. This is important as it will be specified in the license that you acquire.

Following this, you must also get your construction plans vetted and approved by the food control department of Dubai.

Food License

Food license is provided by the Food Safety Department in Dubai. The following documents must be produced before the food safety department to obtain the cafeteria licence or for any food business in Dubai.

  • Copy of the trade license or primary approval from the authority that issues trade license
  • Interior design layout of the premises, if applicable. This is essentially a blueprint of your restaurant that must contain the following in the restaurant
    1. The entry and exit passages
    2. Space for processing food
    3. Space for storing food
    4. The windows and ventilation system
    5. Location of food equipment that will be used to process the food
    6. Washing machines, dishwashers and other supportive equipment
  • Additionally, approval from the planning department is required if the restaurant is located outside the shopping centre.

You must also apply for ‘NOC on foodstuff establishment trade license from the food safety department’ This service will enable you to complete the procedure of issuing trade license related to the food activity/establishment which is provided by the Department of Economic Development (DED) e.g. Jebel Ali free zone, Dubai investments park etc. The service fee for food establishment permit fee is 10,000 AED

Other Licenses

In case you are looking for special licenses like a liquor license, then there is a separate procedure which must be applied with Dubai police headquarters.

Following documents are required:

Application form

  • Copy of the passport
  • Application fee
  • Two photos

One must know that Dubai government imposes a 30% tax on the sale of liquor and there is certain other fees also required for the sale of liquor like the fee for importing liquor, a fee for selling liquor etc. You can contact Commitbiz business consultants for more assistance on licensing and fees.

Cost of Opening a Restaurant in Dubai

Setting up a restaurant business in Dubai requires planning, development, and government procedures, which means you must set aside a budget for your business setup. The expenses involved in starting a cafeteria in Dubai may vary depending on the location, commercial space, number of employees, and other factors. Apart from planning the business and creating menus and price points, it is also essential to consider the costs of government procedures.

We at Commitbiz are restaurant business consultant in Dubai who design special business setup packages keeping in mind expenses that would incur during the initial stages of restaurant business setup in Dubai.

Food Safety Measures

Each restaurant must appoint qualified personnel when they start operating. This person will be responsible for operations and will be appointed by a person in charge of training. This person must also undergo specialized training. Other special permits are as follows

  • For food transportation: Vehicle permit is required.
  • For food truck: Food truck license is required
  • For handling and serving pork: Pork permit is required
  • Food consignment release license 

Under the new Dubai food code imposed in 2013, there separate guidelines on import and export of food products. These may come handy for company formation in Dubai food and beverage industry.

Key Factors for Dubai Restaurant Construction

Design and Layout Requirements for Food Establishments

Before commencing works, approval must be sought from the food control section. Three copies of the proposed kitchen design/layout plans and equipment details must be provided from a registered engineering office for approval. Here is an example of guidelines for a restaurant set up.

  1. Wall, floor, and ceiling to be washable, on absorbent, fireproof, lightly coloured and must contain no cracks.
  2. There should be adequate ventilation and lighting
  3. Area of the kitchen must be 300 sq. feet of 40% of the total restaurant is, whichever is bigger
  4. There should be a storage area for dry/chilled and frozen food items
  5. If there is a tandoor in the kitchen the minimum area should be 380 sq. ft.
  6. Washing facilities must be present with hot and cold water.

It is very important to obtain No objection letter from Dubai Municipality-Public health department before the commencement of the work. Businessmen may face closer action in case you fail to comply.

Company formation in Dubai on a strong foundation is a challenging task and requires in-depth knowledge of the local market and excellent business acumen. With benefits offered in Dubai Freezone like 100% ownership and tax-free business operations, business setup in Dubai is an opportunity knocking at your door.

There are numerous licenses, permits required for company formation in Dubai food industry, it is advised to seek the assistance of business consultants Commitbiz who will educate, guide and assist you with licensing and business set procedure up in Dubai. So go ahead and open your dream restaurant in Dubai today!

Do contact us for more information.