Cafeteria license in Dubai – Ultimate Guide

United Arab Emirates economy is growing rapidly, and Dubai is a significant player in this transformation. If you want to start a food business, you’re going to have a lot of competition.

Starting a small coffee shop in Dubai is the quickest and easiest method to get your business up and running. Most importantly, Dubai has always been supportive of industry multinationals and has provided them with substantial support to guarantee that they are successful.

A cafeteria in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which is home to professionals worldwide, is ripe for the picking. Despite the fact that the vast majority of them crave their own cuisine, many are keen to experience food from other countries. Due to the hectic pace of city life, many people are unable to cook for themselves.

There is a growing demand for a wide variety of cuisines in the region because of its large expatriate population. Therefore, Dubai has a generally favorable environment for multinational businesses, particularly those in the food industry. In this market, international companies can thrive because of a growing need for their services.

What is Meant by a Cafeteria License

The Cafeteria License gives your company permission to open and run a cafeteria in Dubai that serves the UAE market or in a Free Zone, whichever is appropriate. A cafeteria license is a type of food license that is needed in Dubai to run cafeterias, small restaurants, food trucks, and restaurant chains. In Dubai, you must first get a Professional license from the DED before applying for a cafeteria license.

Different Types of Business Licences

There are a few different types of business licenses, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here’s a quick overview of the most common types:

1. Commercial Licence

People and companies in Dubai who buy and sell products and services must have a commercial license. A commercial license allows a company to conduct business inside and outside the United Arab Emirates.

Commercial licenses are offered in Dubai for a wide range of economic activities, each of which has unique requirements. Logistics, automobile rental, and real estate brokerage are examples of “commercial activity” operations.

2. Professional Licence

To be eligible for the Professional License in Dubai, one must show academic excellence, intellectual competency, and specialized abilities. A Professional License in Dubai can be obtained by IT experts, artisans, and craftspeople of various kinds.

3. Industrial Licence

Industrial Licenses are required in Dubai for all businesses and people involved in the production of materials and products for industrial use. To be eligible for an Industrial License, a company must first have a physical presence in the United Arab Emirates.

4. Freelancing Licence

In Dubai, a freelancing license is the most common type of business license. The TECOM Group issues a freelancing visa in Dubai that permits you to work as an independent contractor and is renewed every year. The freelancer permit is excellent for those on a spouse or parent’s visa who just need a license to work as a freelancer.

5. Tourism Licence

Companies and organizations operating in the travel and tourism sector of Dubai and the UAE must have a valid Tourism License. Travel agencies, hotels, tourist camps, cruise ship docking services, and other tourism-related businesses require this type of license.

6. Agriculture Licence

An agricultural license may cover not only the trading of products but also operations related to the farming and growth of those crops.

These activities necessitate an agriculture license:

  • Harvesting crops and pesticide sales
  • Building greenhouses
  • Providing agricultural consulting services

Requirements for Getting a Cafeteria License in Dubai

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to obtain a license to operate a cafeteria in Dubai. These requirements are as follows:

1. Location Requirements

  1. The site you choose for a small cafeteria must be suitable.
  2. The location should have enough space to store the equipment and cook the food.
  3. The location must have adequate space for the disposal of waste and the smoke emitting from the kitchen.
  4. The location should have a toilet facility that is separate from the kitchen and located on the opposite corner.
  5. Washing the walls, floors, and roofs on a regular basis is required.
  6. The space must be fire-resistant to avoid any mishaps.
  7. You must keep a separate washbasin for cleaning utensils, for vegetables, and a separate one for the meat.

Your business license will expire if the Dubai Department of Economic Development does not renew it annually (DED).

2. Food Safety Requirements

To receive DED clearance, the cafeteria area must demonstrate compliance with a set of criteria.

  • Food consignment release license
  • Pork permit
  • Vehicle permit for transportation of  food products

Documents Required for Cafeteria License in Dubai

The documentation needed to open a cafeteria in Dubai is listed below.

1. For the Approval of a Food License

  1. The approval certificate from the DED.
  2. Approval certificate from the Dubai planning department.
  3. The layout of the building where you want to establish your cafeteria.

2. For the Approval of a Trade License

  1. License application signed by business partners and managers involved in your cafeteria business.
  2. Registered company name and approval letter.
  3. Copies of the firm managers’ and employees’ passports
  4. Memorandum of Association signed by the shareholders of your cafeteria business.

Cafeteria License Application Procedure in Dubai

In order to apply for a cafeteria or Restaurant license in Dubai, perform the following steps:

  1. Obtain a Trade license from the Department of Economic Development.
  2. Obtain a food license from the Food and Safety Department of the Dubai Municipality.
  3. Choose an appropriate area and location for your cafeteria.
  4. With your partners, draft and sign the Memorandum of Association and lease agreement.
  5. Please submit all required documentation to the DED.
  6. Application for a Certificate of No Objection (NOC)
  7. The Department of Economic Development will send you a payment voucher after your application and documentation have been approved.
  8. Your cafeteria license in Dubai will be issued once you have paid the requisite price.

Cafeteria License Costings

It is estimated that opening a small café in Dubai will cost between 125,000 and 1,750,000 AED. The average price is approximately the previous amount. This accounts for the majority of the costs associated with renting the space, furnishing the interior, and hiring staff.


It’s no wonder that the UAE’s café scene is thriving. Dubai gets a high quality of life score because its residents have a large amount of disposable income and are willing to spend it on luxury. As a result, it’s the perfect spot for a cafeteria or restaurant.

Growth in the restaurant and coffee shop industry, notably in food, has occurred recently. A cafeteria or a small restaurant in Dubai would be an excellent entry point into the city’s competitive food sector. Dubai’s economic climate is favorable to foreign investors in most areas. To become a part of such a competitive environment, one has to attain a cafeteria license.