How to Get a Restaurant License in Dubai?

The food and beverage industry in Dubai is worth an estimated AED 20 billion, making it one of the largest industries in the city. The sector employs over 200,000 people and contributes significantly to the economy. 

In recent years, the industry has seen strong growth, with the Dubai Food and Beverage Market Report 2019-2023 estimating that the sector will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7%. This growth is being driven by several factors, including the city’s growing population and tourist numbers and its status as a regional hub for business and trade.

The industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, with the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 aiming to increase its contribution to the economy even further. The strategy includes several initiatives that will support the industry, such as developing food parks and establishing a dedicated food and beverage cluster in the Dubai Industrial City. With the proper support, the industry is poised for even more growth in the years to come.

If you’re thinking of opening a restaurant in Dubai, you’ll need to apply for a restaurant license. This is necessary to comply with the regulations set by the Dubai Municipality.

Starting a business in Dubai is a great idea, and a restaurant license will allow you to operate your business and serve food to the public legally. However, it’s important to note that you will need to obtain a separate license if you plan on selling alcohol at your establishment.

Applying for a restaurant license in Dubai can be complex, so it’s essential to seek professional help if you’re unsure how to proceed. Once you have your restaurant license in Dubai, you’ll be able to serve food to the public and run your business without any legal issues.

In this blog post, we’ll outline the steps you need to take to get a restaurant license in Dubai. So, if you’re ready to open up your own business, keep reading!

How to Start a Restaurant Business in Dubai?

Restaurant business plan in Dubai

You need a restaurant license in Dubai to open and operate a restaurant business in the city. This license is issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED), and it allows you to run your restaurant in Dubai legally.

A restaurant license in Dubai is valid for one year, and it must be renewed every year. The cost of renewing your license will depend on the type of restaurant you are operating and its size and location.

If you plan to open a restaurant in Dubai, it is essential to make sure that you obtain the necessary licenses and permits before starting your business. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines or even the closure of your restaurant.

Here’s what you should know before starting a business in Dubai:

Food Code and Licensing Process

Opening a restaurant in Dubai can be a gratifying experience if you do it correctly. You can ensure that your restaurant has a successful launch by following these tips.

  • First and foremost, all restaurants in Dubai must obtain a license from the Dubai Municipality. This can be done by applying the required documents to the Licensing Department.
  • Once your restaurant has been licensed, you will need to ensure that all of your food handling and preparation meets the Dubai Municipality Food Code standards. This includes everything from storage and cooking temperatures to cleanliness and hygiene.
  • Failure to comply with the food code can result in fines or even the closure of your restaurant. Therefore, it is essential that you take the time to familiarize yourself with the code and make sure that your staff is trained in following it.
  • In addition to the food code, there are also other regulations that you need to be aware of when operating a restaurant in Dubai. These include health and safety regulations, and licensing requirements for serving alcohol.

By taking the time to understand all of the requirements for opening a restaurant in Dubai, you can help ensure that your business runs smoothly without any hiccups.

Location

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right location for your restaurant in Dubai. First, the city is constantly growing and evolving, so it’s essential to select a place that will be popular with residents and tourists alike.

One of the most important factors to consider is foot traffic. You want to choose a busy location with people walking by, as this will increase the chances of customers coming into your restaurant. Another factor to consider is the competition. There are many restaurants in Dubai, so it’s essential to choose a location that isn’t already saturated with options. 

Once you’ve chosen a location, it’s essential to secure the necessary licenses and permits from the Dubai government. These can be obtained from the Department of Economic Development. Once you have all the required documentation, you’re ready to open your restaurant in Dubai.

Cost

Setting up a restaurant in Dubai can be a costly affair. There are various factors to consider when budgeting for your new ventures, such as the cost of renting or purchasing premises, fit-out and refurbishment costs, equipment and furnishings, staff salaries, and more

One of the most significant expenses you’ll face when opening a restaurant in Dubai is the cost of your commercial kitchen. A professional kitchen can cost anywhere from AED 100,000 to AED 1 million (or more), depending on the size and scope of your project

To get an idea of how much it would cost to open a restaurant in Dubai, we spoke to some industry experts to get their insights. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Location is key

One of the most critical factors that will affect the cost of opening a restaurant in Dubai is the location. If you’re looking to set up shop in one of the city’s prime locations, you can expect to pay significantly more than if you’re willing to consider a less central area.

2. Fit-out costs can be high

The cost of fitting out your restaurant will depend on the size and scope of your project, but it’s worth bearing in mind that prices can quickly add up. If you’re looking to create a luxurious, top-of-the-range dining experience, you can expect to pay a pretty penny for fixtures, fittings, and furniture.

3. Equipment costs vary

Another high price when opening a restaurant is purchasing or renting commercial kitchen equipment. This will depend on the type and size of restaurant you’re planning to open, but it’s essential to factor in these costs when budgeting for your new venture.

4. You’ll need to factor in staff costs

One of the ongoing costs of running a restaurant is staff salaries. Depending on the size and type of restaurant you’re opening, you’ll need to budget for front-of-house staff, kitchen staff, and cleaners. It’s important to factor in these costs when budgeting for your new venture.

5. There are other costs to consider

In addition to the above costs, there are several other factors to consider when budgeting for your new restaurant. These include the cost of marketing and advertising, business licenses and permits, and insurance.

If you’re looking to save on costs, one option is to find a smaller space that doesn’t require as much work to convert into a functional kitchen. Another option is to purchase used or refurbished kitchen equipment, which can be a fraction of the cost of new equipment.

In addition to the cost of your kitchen, you’ll also need to budget for other essential expenses, such as:

  • The cost of leasehold improvements (e.g., painting, flooring)
  • The cost of commercial furniture and fixtures
  • The cost of marketing and advertising
  • The cost of licenses and permits

Opening a restaurant in Dubai can be a costly affair, but it is possible to create a successful and profitable business with careful planning and budgeting. By considering the various factors affecting your start-up costs, you can ensure that you have the necessary funds to get your business off the ground.

How to Obtain a Restaurant License in Dubai?

home food business license in dubai

To obtain a restaurant license in Dubai, you will need to follow the following steps:

The first step is to choose the right location for your restaurant. Once you have found a suitable location, you will need to submit an application to the Department of Economic Development (DED).

  • Your trade name registration
  • A copy of your lease agreement
  • A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your landlord
  • A copy of your passport and visa
  • An attested degree certificate if you are the main shareholder
  • A food handling permit from Dubai Municipality
  • A health card from Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
  • A trade license from DED
  • An alcohol license from the Licensing Agency
  • Fire safety approval from Dubai Civil Defence

Once you have gathered all the required documents, you can submit your application online or in person to the DED.

The processing time for a restaurant license in Dubai is typically between 2-4 weeks. However, this may vary depending on the type of restaurant and the number of licenses required.

After your application has been approved, you will be issued with a trade license which will be valid for 1 year. You will need to renew your license annually in order to keep your business running smoothly.

Some of the requirements that you will need to meet to obtain a restaurant license in Dubai include: 

  • You must have a valid trade license from the DED 
  • Your restaurant must have a minimum seating capacity of 30 people 
  • Your restaurant must have a minimum floor area of 200 square meters 
  • Your restaurant must have all the necessary equipment and facilities to operate 
  • You must have a valid food handler’s license from the Dubai Municipality 
  • You must have a valid liquor license from the DED if you plan on serving alcohol at your restaurant

Once you have met all of the requirements and paid the necessary fees, you will be issued a restaurant license in Dubai. This license will need to be renewed on an annual basis.

Requirements by Authorities Before Opening a Restaurant

Before you can open your restaurant, there are a few legal requirements you need to take care of. Depending on the type of restaurant you’re opening, you may need to obtain a license or permit from your local government. 

You’ll also need to ensure your restaurant complies with all health and safety regulations. This includes having proper ventilation, sanitation, and food storage facilities. 

Lastly, you’ll need to have adequate insurance coverage in place. This will protect you in case of any accidents or injuries at your restaurant.

By taking care of all these legal requirements beforehand, you’ll be able to open your restaurant without any problems.

After completing the legal requirements, it is necessary to obtain a property license to get your restaurant business up and running. The details of the property license and information of acquiring it is given below:

Property License 

If you are thinking of opening a restaurant in Dubai, one of the first things you need to do is obtain a property license. This license is required by law and gives you permission to run your business in the city. But getting this license can sometimes be a complicated process, with many different requirements and guidelines to follow. 

In Dubai, anyone who wants to open a restaurant must first obtain a property license from the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). This is in addition to any other licenses that may be required for the specific type of restaurant you are opening.

The DED property license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually. The cost of the license depends on the type of restaurant you are opening and the size of your premises.

Applying for a property license can be done online through the DED website. You will need to provide some basic information about your restaurant, as well as your contact details and those of your chosen property agent.

Once your application has been approved, you will be able to start the process of obtaining any other licenses required to run your restaurant.

If you are looking to open a restaurant in Dubai, it is important to make sure that you understand the requirements for getting a property license. By working with an experienced agent who can help you navigate the process, you will be able to get everything started as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Architectural License

When opening a restaurant in Dubai, specific construction and layout requirements must be met to be approved by the Dubai Municipality. These requirements are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of customers and staff and maintain the city’s aesthetic appeal.

The first step is to submit a construction plan to the Dubai Municipality for approval. This plan must include detailed drawings of the proposed restaurant layout, including all kitchen, dining, and restroom areas. It is important to note that all restaurants in Dubai must have a minimum of two exits, one of which must be an emergency exit.

Layout Plan 

Your layout plan is a crucial part of your restaurant design. Not only does it impact the flow of traffic and how customers move through your space, but it also affects the overall feel and atmosphere of your restaurant

When creating your layout plan, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

1. The flow of traffic – You want to ensure that your layout allows for a smooth flow of traffic throughout the space. This means considering things like entry and exit points, as well as walking paths between tables, chairs, and other furnishings.

2. The dining experience – The layout of your restaurant should enhance the dining experience for your customers. This means creating an inviting and comfortable space that encourages conversation and interaction between tables.

3. The seating layout – You may want to include a variety of different seating configurations in your layout, including booth seating and high-top tables. This will help create a unique experience for your customers and allow you to maximize the space in your restaurant.

4. The kitchen layout – The layout of your kitchen is just as important as the dining area when it comes to creating an efficient and successful restaurant space design. It should be arranged so that everything can be easily accessed by staff members while they’re preparing meals and serving customers.

5. Lighting – Since lighting is such a critical part of the overall design of your restaurant, you should pay close attention to it when creating your layout plan

6. Food presentation – How food is presented on each table impacts not only the look of your design but also whether or not customers will enjoy their meals

7. Customer flow – In addition to considering traffic patterns in your restaurant, you should also think about the flow of customers between different areas and services.

8. Storage – One final thing to consider in your layout plan is storage. Where will you keep things like tables, chairs, linens, and dishes when they’re not being used? Taking the time to think about this ahead of time can save you a lot of hassle down the road.

Finally, once the construction plan, layout plan, and architectural drawing are approved, the last step is to submit a menu for approval. This menu must include a variety of food and beverage items available for purchase at the restaurant. Again, it is essential to note that all restaurants in Dubai must have a minimum of two exits, one of which must be an emergency exit.

Documents Requirement for Starting a Business in Dubai

1. Business Plan: The first step is to have a well-researched and thought out business plan. This document will serve as a roadmap for your business and will be essential when seeking investment or partners.

2. Feasibility Study: A feasibility study is also important in order to better understand the market you wish to enter, your competition and what needs to be done in order to make your business successful.

3. Trade License: In order to operate legally in Dubai, you will need to obtain a trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED). The type of license required will depend on the nature of your business.

4. Commercial Registration Certificate: You will also need to register your business with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

5. Memorandum and Articles of Association: These documents, along with your trade license, will be required when setting up a limited liability company (LLC) in Dubai.

6. Shareholders Agreement: If you are setting up an LLC with one or more partners, it is advisable to have a shareholders agreement in place in order to avoid any disputes that may arise in the future.

7. Licenses and Permits: Depending on the type of business you are setting up, you may need to obtain other licenses and permits from government departments and agencies such as the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Dubai Municipality, etc.

8. Insurance: All businesses are required to have insurance coverage in order to be eligible for a trade license. In addition, having good business liability and property insurance is vital in order to protect your business from any unforeseen eventualities.

9. Tax Registration Certificate (TRC): A TRC must also be obtained before you begin operating your business as it will allow you to import goods free of taxes, apply for tenders and conduct other transactions at the customs authority.

10. Health Cards: If your staff includes more than five workers, then all workers need to have health cards issued by Dubai Health Authority (DHA). The DHA will also inspect your premises on an annual basis according to the type of facility that you operate.

11. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS): As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of your employees in the workplace. You will need to have an OHS policy in place and ensure that your premises comply with the relevant health and safety regulations.

12. No-Objection Certificate (NOC): If you are planning to set up your business in a free zone or any other special economic zone, you will need to obtain an NOC from the relevant authority.

These are the few documents that are required to open a business in Dubai.

Conclusion 

If you’re interested in starting a restaurant business in Dubai, there are a few things you need to know. First, you’ll need to obtain a restaurant license in Dubai and a trade license from the Dubai Department of Economic Development. This can be done by submitting an application and providing the required documents. 

Once you have your trade license, you’ll need to find a suitable location for your restaurant. The best way to do this is to search online or contact a real estate agent. Once you’ve found a location, you’ll need to obtain a construction permit from the Dubai Municipality.

After your restaurant is built, you’ll need to get a food safety permit from the Dubai Municipality before you can start serving food. Finally, you’ll need to get insurance for your restaurant. This will protect you and your business in the event of any accidents or injuries that occur on your premises.