15 December, 2023

How to Open a Cafeteria in Dubai?

open cafeteria in dubai

How to Open a Cafeteria in Dubai?

Opening a cafeteria in Dubai involves several key steps. Begin by researching local regulations and obtaining the necessary permits. Craft a comprehensive business plan outlining expenses, menu offerings, and target demographics. Securing a prime location that aligns with zoning laws and attracts foot traffic is crucial. Registering the business and acquiring essential licenses is next. Create an inviting cafeteria space, focusing on aesthetics and functionality. Employ skilled staff and ensure top-notch ingredients. Effective marketing through social media and local promotions is essential to thrive in Dubai’s bustling market.


How to Obtain a Cafeteria License in UAE?

Obtaining a cafeteria license in the UAE is a critical process that involves several essential steps:

Acquire a Trade License: Obtain a trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Food License Application: Apply for a food license from the Dubai Municipality Food and Safety Department.

Choose a Suitable Location: Select an appropriate location for your cafeteria.

Legal Agreements: Draft and execute the Memorandum of Association and lease agreements with your partners.

Submission of Documents: Submit all necessary documents to the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Apply for No-Objection Certificate (NOC): Complete the application for the No-Objection Certificate.

Payment and Approval: Upon approval of your application and documents, the Department of Economic Development will issue a payment voucher.

Fee Payment: Pay the required fees as per the voucher provided.

License Issuance: Upon successful payment, your cafeteria license for operation in Dubai will be issued.



Relevant Licenses/Permits required to Open Cafeteria in Dubai 

Establishing a cafeteria in Dubai requires securing two vital licenses: a cafeteria license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) or a chosen free zone authority, and a food license from the Dubai Municipality Food Safety Department. Before applying for the food license, it’s essential to get your cafeteria plans approved by Dubai’s food control department. These plans should cover everything from entrances and food processing areas to ventilation and equipment layout. When applying for the license, ensure you submit your UAE cafeteria license copy, detailed floor plans, and other necessary documents. Following these steps diligently ensures compliance and sets the stage for a successful cafeteria business in Dubai.


Types of Restaurant in Dubai

In Dubai, a diverse culinary landscape offers various restaurant types catering to different tastes and experiences:

  • Fine Dining: Elegant venues with top-notch service, often Michelin-starred, offering gourmet cuisine and upscale ambiance.
  • Casual Dining: Relaxed settings with a diverse menu, suitable for families and friends, ranging from cafes to bistros.
  • Street Food Stalls: Vibrant and affordable options scattered across the city, serving local and international street eats.
  • Fast Food Chains: Familiar global brands providing quick-service meals at various locations.
  • Theme Restaurants: Unique concepts offering immersive experiences, from underwater dining to celebrity-themed venues.
  • Buffet-style Restaurants: Abundant choices of cuisines presented in all-you-can-eat formats, popular in hotels.
  • Food Trucks: Trendy mobile setups offering inventive and quick bites at different locations.
  • Pop-up Restaurants: Temporary dining experiences showcasing specialty cuisines or chefs for a limited time.


Other Food-related Permits in Dubai, UAE

In Dubai Municipality’s FoodWatch platform, only authorized users (like Food Establishment Managers and Technical Experts) can request food permits and approvals. Failure to maintain Food Inspection Grade or breaches in food safety regulations can lead to permit withdrawal without notice. Here’s a list of permits/approvals available:

  1. Food Consignment Release License
  2. Pork Permit (for pork-handling food products)
  3. Vehicle Permit (for transporting food)
  4. Food Activity at Events
  5. Food Trucks
  6. Kiosk Permit
  7. Vending Machine
  8. Non-Halal Food Activity
  9. Food Promotion Permit
  10. Temporary Permit for Food Label/Package Changes
  11. School Supply Permit
  12. Approval for Food and Nutrition Safety Trainers
  13. Approval for Consultancy/Training Companies
  14. Common Kitchen in Labour Accommodation
  15. Trader License (for Home Businesses)
  16. Approval for Water Tank Cleaning Companies
  17. Approval for Seafood Export to EU Countries
  18. These permits are crucial for ensuring compliance and safety in the food industry within Dubai.


What are the Required Documents to Open a Cafeteria in Dubai?

  • Passport and visa copies
  • Comprehensive business plan
  • Trade name reservation and DED approval
  • Lease agreements and NOC from the landlord
  • Health and safety approvals from Municipality Health Department
  • Menu approval from Food Control Department
  • Staff’s health cards and food handler’s permit
  • Permits and licenses from DED and Dubai Municipality


What is The Cost of Opening a Cafeteria in Dubai?

Starting a cafeteria business in Dubai requires careful planning, development, and navigating through government procedures. This means allocating a specific budget for setting up your company. Estimating your business setup costs depends on various factors, so it’s essential to understand this.

Launching a cafeteria in Dubai demands both time and financial investment. The expenses can vary based on factors like location, space, staffing, and more. Apart from crafting business strategies, menus, and pricing, considering governmental approval fees is crucial.


Multiple factors contribute to the overall cost of opening a cafeteria in Dubai. Here’s a breakdown of the fees you might encounter:

  • Trade name reservation
  • Tasheel fees for name reservation: AED 620
  • Tasheel fees for initial approval: AED 115
  • MOA notarization fees
  • Ejari fees (Tenancy Contract Attestation)
  • Basic trade license issuance fees: AED 6,000
  • Foreign trade name fees: AED 2,000
  • Company stamp: AED 100
  • Immigration card (establishment card) fees
  • Additional Costs:
  • Market fees: 2.5% of annual office rent
  • Labour file charges
  • P.O box rental
  • Updating license with contact details


Benefits of starting a cafeteria in Dubai

Starting a cafeteria in Dubai offers several compelling benefits:

  • Thriving Market: Dubai’s diverse population and tourism create a bustling market for cafeterias, ensuring a steady flow of customers.
  • Cultural Fusion: The city’s cultural mix allows for diverse menu options, catering to various tastes and preferences.
  • Business-Friendly Environment: Dubai’s pro-business policies and infrastructure make it relatively easier to establish and operate a cafeteria.
  • Tourist Attraction: Being a global tourist hub, cafeterias have the potential to attract both locals and tourists, amplifying revenue streams.
  • Growing Economy: Dubai’s continual economic growth ensures a stable environment for businesses, fostering long-term success.
  • Innovation Hub: The city encourages innovation, allowing cafeterias to experiment with new concepts and offerings, staying ahead in the market.
  • Tax Benefits: With no corporate or personal income tax, operating costs can be more manageable, boosting profitability.


Gulfood, Dubai 2024

Gulfood 2024 in Dubai is gearing up to be a must-visit event for everyone in the food and beverage industry. Known as one of the biggest food shows in the world, it’s the perfect place for professionals to see what’s new and exciting in the world of food. This event, happening in Dubai, is famous for bringing together a huge variety of people – from big company leaders to new startups, all sharing their latest products and ideas.

In 2024, Gulfood will focus on the newest trends and technologies that are changing how we think about food. Topics like how to make food in a way that’s good for the planet, healthy eating, and how to feed everyone in the world are going to be big. It’s a great chance to meet new people, learn from others, and maybe even start new business deals. Think of Gulfood 2024 as more than just a show – it’s a place where people from all over come to share, learn, and grow in the food world.