Restaurant License in Dubai

The Food and Beverage Industry is a lucrative business in the Middle East as the Middle East is considered a place with culinary delights. One can find not only the local cuisines but also the cuisines of various parts of the world as people from all over the world come to the UAE, and along with them, they bring the food culture of their nation.

But before one decides to open a restaurant in the Emirate, one needs a code of conduct, acquire some information, and obtain a restaurant license in Dubai. 

Food Code for Restaurant Setup in Dubai

To open a restaurant business setup in Dubai, you must follow the ‘Food Code.’ The food code is an initiative taken by the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality to ensure food safety from the starting point of food production to the endpoint of food consumption, guide the primary person in charge of the restaurant, and instill food safety standards in the food industry. 

Food codes similar to this are used in various other countries worldwide, which shows us how prepared and committed the United Arab Emirates is to develop the country that will implement such a world-class project to attract more people to the UAE. The food code mentioned above applies to the following business setups.

  1. Restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, and cafes
  2. Bakeries
  3. Butcheries
  4. Food service ice operation institutions 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.

The businesses mentioned above must follow the Food Code to a tee else they may face problems ranging from fines to penalties.

Food Safety Measures

Each restaurant must appoint qualified personnel when they start operating. This person will be responsible for the business’s operations and will be set by the person in charge of training for the restaurant. 

This person must also undergo specialized training so that he can perform business activities in a leisurely fashion and without error. Other special permits are as follows:

  • For food transportation: A vehicle permit is required.
  • food truck license in Dubai is required if you operate a food truck
  • Food consignment release license.

Under the new Dubai food code, enacted in 2013, there are separate guidelines for importing and exporting food products. These may come in handy for company formation in Dubai’s food and beverage industry.

Licenses to Setup a Restaurant Business in Dubai

Before opening a restaurant in Dubai, you must obtain two different types of licenses. The details are given below: 

Trade License for Restaurants in Dubai

This is important as it will be specified in the license that you acquire. After this step, you must also get your construction plans vetted and approved by the food control department of Dubai, after which you will receive your trade license.

Food License

A food license is provided by the Food Safety Department in Dubai. This license will help the business deal with edible items across the UAE. 

Several documents are required to obtain such a license. 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 licenses related to the food activity/establishment provided by the Department of Economic Development (DED), e.g., Jebel Ali free zone, Dubai investments park, etc. 

Other Licenses

The business must apply for a different license to conduct a business activity other than food or any other deviation. A separate procedure must be applied with Dubai's used headquarters if you are looking for special licenses like a liquor license. 

One must know that the Dubai government imposes a 30% tax on the sale of liquor, and other fees are also required for the sale of liquor, like the fee for importing liquor, a price for selling liquor, etc.

Tips to Get Started and Become One of the Best Restaurants in Dubai

Here are some helpful tips from the experts at Commitbiz to get you started.

1. Research Properly

There is no such thing as too much research regarding getting into the restaurant business in Dubai.  From doing a competitor analysis to branding to planning your menu to designing your marketing strategies to understanding your customers’ preferences to costs and legal procedures, research every single aspect until you know your business in and out.

2. Leverage Your USP

Do you have a USP? The Unique Selling Point that will distinguish you from the rest? What is it that will make your customers pick you over your competition? 

Is it food? The price? The experience? Having a USP will not only be a differentiator but will also position your restaurant as a destination of choice for your customers.

3. Test Your Ideas

Be it food or cocktails, or a quirky ambiance. Get people to try it out and offer you some helpful feedback. And by people, we do not mean your friends. 

We suggest your real potential customers. Participate in an event related to food, open up a stall, meet people, and understand what they are looking for and what they like and do not like. Be open to criticism.  

How to Setup a Restaurant in Dubai?

Opening a restaurant in Dubai might be a daunting task for a rookie. So, you must plan every step carefully because skipping one step might get you into trouble with the authorities. 

1.  Select a Location

The next major step would be selecting the best location in Dubai. The first thing would be deciding whether to go to the mainland area or to operate with a Dubai Freezone Company Formation.

2.  Draft a Business Plan

A professional restaurant business plan will require all the necessary factors like SWOT analysis, target marketing, financial plan, a contingency plan for uncertainties, market survey, research, cash flow projections, break-even analysis, and others. Every single factor will contribute to the growth of your business.

3.  Prepare the Documents Required

Before you begin with your new restaurant or cafeteria business in Dubai, these are six primary documents required to be submitted to the authorities (As per the requirements of the management):

  • Trading License

  • Food and Safety License

  • Ramadan Permit

  • Liquor Permit

  • Pork Permit

  • Delivery Permit.

4.  Pay the Restaurant License Cost in Dubai

The first step you need to take is to acquire your food and trading licenses from the authorities. The trade license might cost you approximately AED 10,000 to AED 12,000*.

Other than that, one needs to consider costs like:

  • Local sponsor fee - approximately AED 10,000*/year
  • Labor and immigration registration - up to AED 8,000*
  • Rent of the restaurant premises - AED 60,000* and above (varies by location).

*Prices are subject to change. Kindly connect with us for confirmation.

5.  Meet the Architectural Requirements for a New Restaurant

  • The kitchen must have an area of at least 300 to 380 square feet (if there is a tandoor in the kitchen) or 40% of the total area of the restaurant
  • There should be a good ventilation facility, and the chimney should be 2 meters higher than the nearest building
  • Walls, floor, and roof should be washable, non-absorbent, and fireproof
  • There should be a basin for washing the utensils, a separate bay for cleaning the vegetables, and a separate one for meat
  • Storage facility for all types of food items is a must
  • The drainage pipe should be at a distance of at least 2 inches from the wall.

We at Commitbiz help business investors and entrepreneurs who want to set up a restaurant business or any other business in Dubai. You can contact us with any business setup or the like queries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the approximate cost of a food and trading license in Dubai?

It costs around 10,000 to 12,000 AED approximately.

Which authority issues the ‘No Objection’ certificate for a Dubai restaurant setup?

Dubai Municipality.

Which authority will issue the trade license for a restaurant setup in Dubai?

The Department of Economic Development.

What is the food code in Dubai?

The food code is an initiative taken by the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality to ensure food safety from the starting point of food production to the endpoint of food consumption, guide the primary person in charge of the restaurant, and instill food safety standards in the food industry.

What are the tips to get started in a restaurant business in Dubai?

The tips are as follows:

  • Research properly

  • Leverage your USP

  • Test your ideas.