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How to open a restaurant or cafeteria in Dubai or the UAE

July 13, 2021

An exciting blend of distinct cuisine cultures, as well as a diversified population of over 200 nationalities, are among the top factors that inspire entrepreneurs from all over the world to open a restaurant in Dubai or cafeteria in Dubai or the UAE. Setting up a food business in UAE can be quite a profitable venture. You can make a pretty decent profit catering to foodies from different sections such as locals, residents, and tourists. Having a successful restaurant business in a vibrant tourism hotspot like Dubai is also a stepping stone to long-term success and growth in the food industry as a whole. That said, there are quite a few processes that you'll need to complete before you can open a cafeteria in Dubai.

Why it's a great idea to open a restaurant or cafeteria in Dubai or the UAE

Bolstered by the global 'foodie' movement, it's easy to see why Dubai and the UAE as a whole are fascinating new destinations for aspiring restaurateurs. Dubai, a city that attracts around 4.7 million tourists each year, is a fantastic place to establish a restaurant business. Dubai is quickly becoming one of the top worldwide cuisine destinations, and opening a restaurant in Dubai may be incredibly profitable if done correctly.

  • A thriving and diverse consumer base from every continent on the planet: Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East are all represented.
  • Tourism is a rapidly expanding industry.
  • A strong government commitment to increasing the economy's and GDP's growth.
  • Incentives for opening a restaurant or cafeteria in the food and beverage business.

However, before you officially open a restaurant in Dubai or the UAE and claim your slice of the pie, there are quite a few hurdles you must clear. These include getting a trade license for your restaurant in Dubai, or if you're starting a cafeteria, you need to get your cafeteria license in Dubai. You'll also need to factor in the cost for cafeteria business setup in UAE, or your restaurant license cost in Dubai, whichever is applicable.

Cafeteria business setup Dubai – What you need to know

Obtaining food licenses is the most important thing you need to do before you open a cafeteria in Dubai. The Food and Safety Department can issue a food Permit, and the Department of Economic Development ( DED) of Dubai can issue a trade license. Obtaining a Dubai restaurant business license or a cafeteria license in Dubai is a time-consuming process. Let us examine the procedures for obtaining a cafeteria license in Dubai.

  • Reserve The Trade name of the Company
  • Get Initial Approval from DED
  • Get Lease agreement of the cafeteria
  • Sign the MOA/LSA agreement in DED
  • Get Approval from Dubai Municipality – Food Control department and Drainage Department
  • Get EHS certificate from Civil Defense of Dubai
  • Get the license from DED
  • Hire an interior decoration company to do fit out
  • Get visas under the company
  • Operate your business right after approval from DM.


Dubai restaurant business licenses – Important facts

To open a restaurant in Dubai, you must first obtain these two types of licenses - A trade license and a food license.

 Trade License is issued by Dubai's Department of Economic Development. You must specify the type of restaurant you intend to operate because it must be clearly stated in the license. Depending on factors such as the sort of restaurant you own and operate, a Trade License could cost as follows:

Sr. No.


Fee Tenure

Amount in AED


Initial Approval Fees

One Time



Name Approval Fees

One Time



Tasheel Fees

One Time



Notary Verification Fees

One Time



MOA/LSA-Notary Fees

One Time



License Fees Approximately

Part- Annually



Immigration Card Fees




Stamp of the Company

One Time



Labour Card Fees

One Time



DM Approval Fees

Part- Annually



Investor Residence visa Fees

Part-3 Years



Office or Shop Rent


As Per Tenancy Contract





Additional Fees:

  • Premises rent
  • Local UAE national Sponsorship Fees
  • 5% of the Annual premises rent
  • All visa Expenses
  • Interior, furniture, and kitchen equipment Cost
  • Professional Fees for Service Provider

Food license in Dubai is issued by the Food Safety Department which is in charge of issuing the Food License. After you have obtained your Trade License, you must obtain this license in order to secure approval for your restaurant's development plan. To secure a Food License, certain documents must be submitted to the food safety department.

How to start a cafeteria in dubai

Restaurant license cost in Dubai

DED (Dubai Economic Development) can help you secure a restaurant license in Dubai. It can be registered as a sole proprietorship where foreign national can become 100% owner of the company. The cost of a restaurant license in Dubai is approximately same as above table. This is excluding rental and furnishing costs. Don't let the cost factor discourage you, though. Cafeterias and restaurants play an important role in everyone's social life and way of life in Dubai. With an increasing number of tourist and business visitors, there is a significant demand for restaurants and cafeterias in Dubai and the UAE.

Steps to open a Restaurant/Cafeteria in Dubai or the UAE

To open a restaurant on the Dubai mainland, entrepreneurs must first get a license from the Dubai Economic Development (DED). The establishment of a restaurant can be accomplished in the following basic steps:

  1. Choose a trade name.
  2. Select a local sponsor (if applicable).
  3. Get the Pre approval from DED
  4. Get the restaurant's interior designed in accordance with the Food and Safety Department's guidelines. When renting business premises, adhere to the department's criteria.
  5. Obtain the tenancy agreement and the Ejari for the rented space.
  6. Sign MOA/LSA agreement in DED
  7. Submit all necessary documentation to the Department of Economic Development (DED)
  8. Obtain a letter of authorization from the Food Safety Department and permission from Dubai Municipality

How Avyanco can help

The above mentioned processes may make the process of operating a restaurant in Dubai appear simple, but it is not. Setting up a restaurant company in Dubai necessitates a number of permits and approvals. Every restaurant or cafeteria in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE must follow a strict food code, irrespective of whether it is a fine dining restaurant, cafe, or bakery. This food code is intended to assist the person in charge of running the restaurant is operating in accordance with the regulations. It would be best if aspiring restaurateurs were to use the services of the top business setup consultants in Dubai like Avyanco to guide them through the process smoothly and in accordance with rules and regulations.




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