How to Open a Cafeteria in Dubai? – All Things to Know

Opening a Cafeteria in Dubai is a lucrative business investment. Though there is an umpteen number of cafeterias in Dubai, there is always assured footfall to a cafeteria due to the growing population density of Dubai.

The Food and Beverage sectors that include mainly restaurants and cafes have witnessed positive growth rates over the years.

Despite intense competition in the sectors, those with a unique selling proposition and gaining customer attention will thrive ahead.

Dubai Mainland – The Ideal Business Jurisdiction for Opening a Cafeteria

A Cafeteria is ideal to be set up in Mainland Dubai especially near residential areas or offices depending on the target audience, cuisines, store space required, etc.

To receive more footfall even popular tourist spots around Dubai would be ideal but will come at a higher cost compared to the one in a residential area.

It is the Department of Economic Development (DED) that issues the business license for Cafeteria. It is a mandatory requirement to have a valid business license to start a Cafeteria in Dubai.

Setting Up a Limited Liability Company or Obtaining a Professional License

For opening a Restaurant or Cafeteria by adding more shareholders to the business, the most common company structure chosen by most of the investors is the LLC Company Setup.

Also, for an LLC Company Setup, there is a mandatory requirement of a UAE National Sponsor (49% of Ownership) as a partner to your establishment.

Professional License is an Ideal Choice for Single Shareholder

If the investor is a chef by profession, a professional license can be obtained from DED to open a cafeteria by single ownership.

It requires to appoint a Local Service Agent (LSA) as a sleeping partner for liaising with the DED authorities and signing renewal contracts.

The Cafeteria in Dubai is subject to approval by the Dubai Municipality- (Food Control Department & Department of Drainage & Irrigation.

Required Documents for an Individual Shareholder – Professional License from DED

  1. Five (5) Proposed Names
  2. Shareholder/s passport copies with visit visa/resident visa page
  3. Copy of Emirates ID (for UAE resident only)
  4. No Objection Letter from the sponsor on company letterhead signed and stamped (for UAE resident only)
  5. Layout plan of the premises (shop of the rent is not less than 200 Sq.ft)  – for Dubai Municipality Approval

Things to Know Before Opening a Cafeteria in Dubai

Ensure Food Safety and Get the Required Certifications

In Dubai, the Food Safety Standards are of international standards, and the authorities require detailed reports on food safety implementation and food safety management certifications to approve the business license.

ISO 22000:2018 and the Hazard Assessment and Critical Control Points (HACCP), HALAL Certifications will add to the credibility and speed up the Cafeteria License process.

Food Safety Requirements to be Fulfilled by the Cafeterias in Dubai

  • Food Consignment release license from the authorities
  • Permit for Vehicles for transporting food products
  • Special Permit for handling and serving meat or any by-products

Location Requirements

The Cafeteria space must be meeting certain requirements to get approval from the DED.

  • Enough space to keep the required equipment
  • Proper waster disposal system and provision for timely disposals
  • Smoke detector placements and fitting of the smoke management system with an adequate number of fire extinguishers & fire alarm system.
  • Separate washroom and restroom facilities
  • Ample Storage Areas and Installation of fire-proof insulations in the walls, floor, and roof
  • Conduct pest control on all the equipment and space.
  • Separate Dishwashing area and kitchen facility with distinct areas for utensils, vegetable cleaning, & meat section.

Documents Required for the Approval of Cafeteria License in Dubai

Cafeteria Plan Details

Blueprint or Store Plan Stating the Following Elements:

  • Storage Space and Food Processing Area
  • Windows and Ventilation System
  • Entry & Exit, Emergency Exit ways
  • Washrooms, Restroom Space
  • Location of the washing area
  • Placement of equipment used to prepare food

For Obtaining Approval From the Food Safety Department in Dubai:

  • The initial Approval letter by the Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • The layout and plan of the premises
  • Approval from the Planning Department, if the cafeteria is located outside of a shopping center

Procedure to Obtain a Cafeteria License in Dubai

  • Choose the trade name for the establishment and get it approved from DED
  • Prepare the local sponsor / local service agent agreement for the cafeteria according to the chosen license category
  • Guidelines from the Food Safety Department must be met while choosing the space and setting up the cafeteria
  • Obtain the tenancy contract and Ejari of the space
  • Submit all the documents to the DED
  • Apply for the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Food Safety Department and Approval from the Dubai Municipality
  • Submit all the approvals and supporting documents to the DED to get the business license to legally operate your cafeteria in Dubai

What is the Cost of Opening a Cafeteria in Dubai?

Setting up and running a cafeteria in Dubai successfully involves a lot of planning, approvals, financial arrangements, overheads, investments, equipment setup, furnishing space, hiring staff, and many more

Set Aside a Budget for Company Incorporation Process

 Hence, a set budget has to be set aside for the company incorporation itself. That includes the License fees, approvals, certifications, office rent, initial investments, etc.

Again, the cost of setting up a cafeteria in Dubai varies depending on numerous factors. Broadly, the company setup fees can be split across the following areas:

(Note: this is not an exhaustive list and there will be more cost headers in actuals)

Government Fee-Only

  • Trade Name Reservation
  • Initial Approval Fees
  • Memorandum of Association Typing & Translation
  • Memorandum of Association Notarization Fees
  • Ejari Fees (Tenancy Contract Attestation)
  • Trade License Fees
  • Sponsorship Fees & PRO Services Fees
  • Immigration Card Fees
  • Company Stamp

Additional Cost:

  • Market Fees (2/5% of Annual Office Rent)
  • Labour File Charges
  • P.O. Box Rental
  • License Amendment fees (if any)

As a new entrepreneur in Dubai venturing into the Cafeteria business, it is advisable to consult with an experienced business consultant.  

Why Choose a Business Consultant for Setting up a Cafeteria in Dubai?

There are a lot of procedures involved in securing your business license to start operating the cafeteria in Dubai.

Doing it all Single handed would tire you at the start itself. Hence, avail the customized Business Setup Packages offered by Aurion Business Consultants.

Experience a hassle-free setup of your cafeteria and obtain your trade license at the quickest time and lowest cost.

Connect with our expert Business Consultants right away to know the Procedures in Setting Up a Cafeteria in Dubai.

Contact: Aurion Business Consultants

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About the author

Marketing Consultant working with Aurion Business Consultants. Likes to write on business support services, current market trends, and the latest business updates in the UAE.
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