How to Set up a Cafeteria Business in Dubai

Cafes are now all over the world. Unlike restaurants, cafés offer a friendly vibe with great ambience and music. People usually catch up over coffee at a café instead of a restaurant. Dubai being a nation with a massive number of tourists, it is only evident that a lot of people catch up in Dubai. It is also home to people of different nationalities. This makes the market for food so diverse that any cuisine or multiple cuisines can be a huge success. Cafes are easier to open compared to restaurants because of lesser formalities. Cafes in Dubai are highly profitable too.

For those looking to start a cafeteria in Dubai, the market looks great. With the LEGOLAND HOTEL and new theme parks incoming, there are going to be more visitors in the coming years not just from adjacent countries but from all over the world.  However, there are many procedures to follow before starting the cafeteria. Moreover, it is more important to note that it is a tedious process and it would always be a wise move to seek help from a business consultancy to ease the entire process.

The Procedure

The importance of getting a  cafeteria license in Dubai cannot be stressed upon. However, for a cafeteria, a trade license, as well as a food license, is required. This can be done by following a few steps like:

  • The next step would be to find a local sponsor as it's a must for any enterprise to have a local resident to hold at least 51 per cent of the shares. Ideally, this person would act as a sleeping partner.
  • The next step would be to find the location of the cafeteria. Signing a tenancy contract with the landlord is a must.
  • The next step would be to obtain approval for the construction plan which is mandatorily required to be in accordance with the specifications given by the Food and Safety Department.
  • The agreement made with the local sponsor needs to be signed and notarized in the public court.
  • All necessary documents then need to be submitted to the Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • The next step would be to get a NOC ( No-Objection Certificate) from the Food and Safety Department for food product establishment trade license.
  • Approvals from the DED as well as the Dubai Municipality would guarantee you a license and this would be available within 7-14 days.
  • Once these licenses are obtained, registration can be done with the Ministry Of Labour as well as the Immigration Department for visa purposes of the staff intending to work in the cafe.

Documentation Required

For obtaining the above-mentioned licenses, there are several documents that are mandatory. This would also include the Blue Print of the cafeteria. Dubai’s Cafes have certain distinct characteristics.

For the purposes of the Blue Print, plans showing the following are required:

  • Area for processing of food as well as food storage
  • Sanitary areas( washrooms)
  • Ventilation system ( windows and all other forms of ventilation)
  • Placement of food processing equipment
  • Location of entry and exit passages
  • Location of washing machines           

Since café consists of both food and trade license. Both have to be obtained. For the purpose of food license that can be obtained from the Food and Safety Department, the following documents are required.

  • Initial approval from DED
  • A complete layout of the premises
  • Further, an approval from the Dubai Municipality Planning Department if such café is intended to be located outside a shopping centre.

For the Trade License approval to be obtained from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing:

  • A completed application with the signatures of the Company representatives.
  • A full-fledged MOA ( Memorandum of Association)
  • An attested approval letter for the name of the company. This is from the DED
  • Passport copies of management partners.

Food Safety Requirements to Open a Cafeteria in Dubai

  • For serving pork, a pork permit is a must.
  • For the transport vehicle, a permit is required to transport food products.
  • A request for release of the food consignment from the ports is required to serve food products in the local market

A few things to be kept in mind are that the cafe should be kept at least 50 metres from any waste disposal facility. A radius of 10 metres around the cafe must be kept clean throughout. The cafeteria must have enough space to keep all the required equipment. There should be sufficient smoke disposal units as well as waste management units. The entire café must be pest free and the washrooms should be kept away from the kitchen area. Ample fireproof safety measures must be in place. Separate utensils must be used for washing and cleaning of vegetables as well as meat. Any violation of these might result in cancellation of the cafeteria license.

Setting up of cafes might be a tedious task without professional help. It is always advisable to get help from a business consultancy. Our team at Business Setup Worldwide are experts when it comes to setting up cafeterias as well as restaurants. Feel free to contact us and we’d be more than happy to help.