The Gourmet’s Guide to Opening a Cafeteria in Dubai

Dubai known for its multicultural environment is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.  It is a commercial hub as well as a frequently visited tourist destination. Unlike a lot of other destinations, Dubai is a transit hub as well which makes it a regular hangout for a large number of tourists. This makes Dubai a Gastronome’s Paradise because of the multinational population. This means the food market has a wide variety of choices.  If one is looking to dwell into the cafeteria or restaurant business, it is the ideal location.

Naturally, there are a few challenges when it comes to the setting up of cafeterias in Dubai.  One is advised to take expert advice from a business consultancy to make the task hassle-free without omitting any vital information or steps to be taken. This can be an expensive affair if done wrong as it can lead to shutting down of the business by Government authorities.

Steps to Open a Cafeteria in Dubai

1. Obtain the Licenses for food and trade - The food license can be obtained from the food and safety department while the trade license can be obtained from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai.

2. Find a  local UAE sponsor, someone who is trustworthy. This is a mandatory process. It is important to have someone who will not actively take part in the administration as there can be a conflict. For independent functioning, it is better to have a sponsor as a sleeping partner. The next step would be signing an agreement with the partner at the notary public court.

3. The next step is to get the construction plans approved while not violating any of the specifications provided by the Food and Safety Department.

4. The location of the cafe - While an extremely saturated market might provide too much competition, a market free from competition might not provide enough revenue. It is vital to find the right location where revenue can be maximised. Like a location close to a commercial centre or residential area.

Signing a tenancy contract is very important before even starting to renovate or establish infrastructure. Make sure the terms in the contract are well set out and there are no ambiguities. It would be an added advantage to have accessibility, ample parking space, visibility from outside.

5. All documents then need to be submitted to the Department of Economic Development.  A NOC ( No-Objection Certificate) for Food Product Establishment Trade License from the Food and Safety Department.

Once approval is obtained from the Department of Economic Development and the Dubai Municipality, a license will be provided within a week.

6. With this newly obtained trade license, registration can be done with the Ministry of Labor and Immigration Department to apply for visas of staff required in operating the cafeteria.

Documents Required For Cafeteria Opening in Dubai

A blueprint of the restaurant is a must. It must include the following

  • Ample space for food storage and processing
  • Washrooms
  • Good ventilation system
  • Placement of machinery
  • Entry and exit passages
  • Washing area

With Respect to Food licenses approval from the Food and Safety Department

  • Food Consignment Release License
  • A permit for pork if the cafeteria is likely to serve pork
  • A permit for vehicles to transport food products

With respect to trade license

  • A license application by the company representatives and legal representatives of a company.
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Approval letter from the DED stating attested company name
  • Passport copies of all partners


Key Points To Remember

  • Authorities are very strict when it comes to the code of ethics.It is very important that there must be ample space for waste disposal as well as smoke evacuation. That being said, the premises should be kept very clean with no pests. The washrooms and storage area must be kept separate from the kitchen. The walls of the premises must be washable, fire-proof and have nonabsorbent material. If the cafeteria serves meat, there should be separate basins for washing utensils, meat, and vegetables,
  • Customer feedback and reviews will help improve weak areas in the operations. The ambience is a must, it is one of the factors which brings back customers to the space place. A specialists approach in formulating a Menu is a good option. The budget has to be controlled and it is always important to note that the rent should be less than 10 percent of the total expected to turn over.
  • An accounting system with excellent staff will make sure there are maximum profits and minimum wastage of budgetary allocations. This will help identify and cut costs where needed.

Need help?

The entire process of obtaining a license, getting a space for starting cafteria business in Dubai might be a tiresome task for unfamiliar people, Our team at Business-Setup Worldwide, however, are experts when it comes to business incorporation. Feel free to contact us, we'd be more than happy to help you set up a successful establishment.