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How to Start Restaurant Business in Dubai - DXB Setup

Dubai, UAE has been recognised as one of the ideal locations for opening up any new business or start-up by investors and businessmen worldwide. This is due to its proximity to Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Another most important aspect is that Dubai is considered to be economically, socially and politically the safest and most stable region. Not only this, the Dubai government has made the procedures, rules and regulations for setting up of businesses very convenient for businessmen The restaurant industry has been growing exponentially in the last few years. With the ‘foodie’ cultural movement increasing its pace all over the world; so Dubai becomes one of the ideal places to start a food and beverage business for any hopeful restauranteur or businessman. Some of the basic reasons for starting a restaurant business in Dubai are listed below:-


  • Dubai’s tourism sector has seen a rapid increase in the last few years.
  • A thriving and wide array of customers throng to Dubai from every continent; Asia, Europe, the Americas etc.
  • The government of the UAE is strongly committed to helping the economy grow.
  • There are also attractive incentives for starting a restaurant or cafeteria in the food and beverage industry in Dubai.
  • Dubai is home to over 190 different nationalities. So people from different countries, cultures and having different cuisines and tastes can be beneficial for any restauranteur or businessman.


Food business is considered to be a lucrative business industry in the Middle East. As for many decades the Middle East has been known to be the hub of delicious culinary delights from the entire world. This is one of the reasons that tourists have been flocking to Dubai to gain a taste of world cuisine and enrich their travelling experience. This is a known fact that people are willing to try new cuisines, new food specialities and gain a tantalizing experience. As a result, there has been an overwhelming increase in the restaurant industry. Approximately around 2000 new food outlets have opened up in Dubai in the last one and a half year only. Here is also important to know that to start any new business; the appropriate license is required to start that business. Some of the major steps in acquiring that license are listed below:


  • Obtaining Food and Trade License: This is the most basic and important step before opening any restaurant business. There are two basic sub-steps involved in this procedure. One is acquiring food license through Food & Safety Department. While the Trade license can be acquired from the Dubai Department of Economic Development and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. It is also worthwhile to note that improper filing for Food and Trade License can lead only cause problems for any new business. So it becomes necessary to keep all the documentation in proper order with the authorities.


  • Choice of Location: Before venturing for any business, it is necessary to wisely choose and decide the location of the business. As the choice of location is a key factor in the success ratio of any business. Dubai has more than forty different zones and each zone has its speciality. Like for example opening a restaurant in Free Zones has its benefits like 100% ownership. Similarly opening restaurants in Mainland means giving up 51% ownership of shares to the sponsor. Another basic yet important aspect of the choice of location is finding the right market, the target audience, absence of competition etc.


  • Setting up a Business Plan: It is very important to have a clear cut and well thought Business Plan before venturing for a restaurant business in Dubai. Some of the key points are:
  • Setting up clear goals for restaurant or cafeteria business
  • Ensuring that capital invested in the restaurant business is wisely used to maximise benefits.
  • It is wise to have a back-up plan ready in hand.
  • Enough measure should be taken to ensure the protection of the brand as the business is launched in the market.


  • Adoption of Food Safety Measures: Every new restaurant or cafeteria business must adopt safety measures in Dubai. Under this, each restaurant should appoint highly qualified people once they start operating. These people will be responsible for day-to-day operations and will be appointed by the person in charge of overall training. There are other special permits for various restaurant-related operations like:


  • For Food Transportation: – A vehicle permit is required.
  • For Food Truck: A food truck license is required.
  • For handling and serving Pork: Pork Permit is required.
  • Lastly, a Food Consignment Release License is also required.


  • Key Factors in the design and layout of food establishments in Dubai: Before commencing on any new restaurant or cafeteria business in Dubai, it is necessary to seek approval from the Food Control Section. It is also mandatory to submit copies of the proposed design and layout plans and also the equipment used to the registered engineering office for approval.


  • Decision to establish business in Free Zone or On-Shore: Nowadays, it is very convenient for foreign investors and businessmen to set up in new businesses and ventures in Dubai. This is made possible because of the rules and regulations of the Dubai government. It is now up to the investor or any businessmen to decide whether they want to set up in one of many Free Zones or on the Mainland. The major difference between a Free Zone and Mainland is that in a Free Zone; there is absolutely 100% ownership of the business. Whereas in the Mainland, it is mandatory that a foreign investor or business can only own up to 49% of the shares only.


  • Promotion of the business: It is considered to be a wise step to do the marketing and promotion of the business alongside setting it up. These days the Social Media plays a very part in promotions, branding and marketing. With the help of websites which are designed stylishly and good advertising campaign, any new business or venture is guaranteed to be beneficial.


Benefits of opening a restaurant or a cafeteria: Every foreign investor or business would only start new businesses if there are guaranteed returns on the investment. Some of the major benefits of opening a restaurant in Dubai are:- 


    • Dubai is one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East.
    • The restaurant sector has been increasing tremendously over the last few years in Dubai.
    • Tourists from all over the world come to Dubai for its wonderful Middle Eastern and other international cuisines.
    • In Free Zones 100% ownership is guaranteed.


  • The benefit of tax exemption can also be availed if a business is opened in one of the Free Zones in Dubai.
  • It has been reported in a survey that there will be a rapid increase in the restaurant business in the next few years.


In conclusion, it can be safely said that one of the most profitable businesses in Dubai is the restaurant business for any foreign investor or businessman. Moreover, the restaurant industry has been booming in the last few years. It has also been reported that this industry is going to increase in the coming years.

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DXB Setup - Dubai Business Setup.
Office # 2903, Boulevard Plaza Tower 1,
Downtown, Dubai, UAE
OUR LOCATIONSWhere to find us?
Dubai UAE Map
We are SocialDXB Setup Social Links
Let's connect socially to spread the word.

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