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A Comprehensive Guide to Open a Restaurant in Dubai

A Comprehensive Guide to Open a Restaurant in Dubai

The restaurant industry in the UAE is expected to be worth $3.3 billion. Fast food restaurants make up over $1.5 billion of this, followed by casual dining ($880 million) and fine dining ($840 million).

Nevertheless, a sizable market isn't the only factor making the restaurant sector in the UAE such a lucrative investment. In the Emirates, we eat out more frequently than the US i.e., 4.2 times a week.

If done correctly, restaurant owners might be able to profit greatly from their annual income—even more of a reason to open a restaurant in Dubai.

However, your odds of surviving longer than a few months are low if you don't have a suitable plan, a striking building, an outstanding interior and great architecture. The strategy for starting a restaurant in Dubai needs to be razor-sharp and unique to your prospective venture.  

With that in mind, this detailed guide entails general to specific recommendations to open a restaurant in Dubai.  

An Expert Guide to Open a Restaurant in Dubai

restaurant in Dubai  

Entrepreneurs must first obtain a trade license from the Dubai Economic Development in order to create a restaurant in mainland Dubai (DED). The following fundamental steps can be used to establish a restaurant:

  • Choose a business name.

  • Choose a regional sponsor (if applicable).

  • Get DED's pre-approval.

  • Get the interior of the restaurant created in compliance with the standards established by the Food and Safety Department. Keep in mind the department's requirements while renting out commercial space.

  • Get the Ejari and the tenancy agreement for the rented space.

  • Sign the MOA/LSA contract in DED.

  • Send the Department of Economic Development any required paperwork (DED)

  • Get an approval letter from the Dubai Municipality and the Food Safety Department.

Have A Great Restaurant Business Plan

A food business plan is absolutely necessary if you want to open a restaurant anywhere in the UAE, including Dubai.  

It details structural content, including your restaurant's location in Dubai, marketing costs, food delivery using a food ordering app, and several other activities.

Many food entrepreneurs have had to revise their business plans in the post COVID era to include new models that would aid in the business's ability to scale.  

It is smart to modify your launch approach for your Dubai restaurant in accordance with emerging market trends.

Restaurant License in Dubai  

restaurant license   

Before you choose to reserve a slot in your preferred location, you must first get all the licenses and permits required to operate a restaurant.

How To Get a Restaurant License in Dubai?

To build a restaurant in Dubai, you mostly need to obtain two types of permits.

Trade License

The trade license is provided by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai. Since the license must state the type of restaurant you will be operating, you are compelled to explain the restaurant type.

You might have to pay between AED 30,000 and AED 40,000 for a trade license, depending on a number of variables like the kind of restaurant you own and run.

To obtain a trade license to start a restaurant in Dubai, follow these steps:

  • Identify the business's type: industrial, commercial, or professional.

  • List the business ventures that the company is involved in (maximum of 10 activities per license).

  • Choose a legal status for your company in the United Arab Emirates.

  • Decide on and file a trade name for your business.

  • Submit a request for preliminary approval.

  • Rent a business location.

  • Prepare all necessary paperwork.

  • Submit an additional application to the DED for final authorization.

Food License

In Dubai, the Food Safety Department is responsible for issuing the food license. You must obtain this license after receiving your trade license to have your restaurant's development plan approved.

To obtain a food license, the following documents must be presented to the food safety department.

  • A copy of the trade license or the primary approval from the agency responsible for issuing the trade license

  • The building's interior design arrangement, if relevant. Essentially, this is a template for your restaurant.  

The following items must be included in this restaurant blueprint:

  • The positioning of the kitchen appliances that will be used to cook the food

  • The entry and exit ways

  • The areas for processing and storing food

  • The windows and ventilation system  

  • The dishwashers and other auxiliary equipment.

The restaurant must also secure the following licenses in addition to these:

  • Vehicle permit for transporting food items.

  • A permit for handling and serving pork products.

  • A license for the release of food consignments

  • Alcohol license (if you are planning to serve liquor at your restaurant)


Deciding Where to Set Up a Restaurant in Dubai

best location to open a restaurant in Dubai 

Choosing the ideal location is probably one of the first things you should consider while operating a restaurant in Dubai. Additionally, a number of elements must be carefully considered in this situation:

  • Visibility is crucial. Another factor to consider when opening a restaurant in Dubai is affordability. You must ensure that the restaurant's location is obvious and, therefore, reachable by potential clients.  

  • To determine whether you will earn a profit or not, you must weigh the costs associated with renting the space, the cost of the food, and the final prices.

  • Restaurant suppliers should be close by. By doing so, you can save time when buying the ingredients for the restaurant's recipes. While opening a restaurant in Dubai, local producers from the area are frequently advised.


Best Locations to Open a Restaurant in Dubai

The most favored area in Dubai for foodies who enjoy cheap snacks and street food is Bur Dubai! Among the many restaurants in Bur Dubai, diners can select from a wide variety of cuisines.  

Requirements for Building a Restaurant in Dubai

First and foremost, the location for a restaurant opening needs to be acceptable for a restaurant and have adequate space for the equipment needed for this kind of business. The structure must make it possible to clean the area and make it simple to expel smoke and debris.

Pests must not be able to enter the structure. The flow of food must only be in one direction. To prevent contamination, the utensils used to prepare the food must be placed in an enclosed area. Kitchens and storage rooms need to be kept apart.

The following regulations must be followed when building a new restaurant in Dubai: 

  • The kitchen's surface area must be around 28 square meters, or 40% of the restaurant's overall space

  • The kitchen must have a good ventilation system with a 2-meter-high chimney

  • The walls, ceiling, and floor must be fireproof and washable

  • The kitchen must have separate basins for washing utensils, vegetables, and meat

  • The kitchen must have a good ventilation system.

It is crucial to study the law in this regard because additional requirements can be necessary.

Opening A Restaurant with An Extraordinary Concept

unique restaurant interior  

Speaking of extraordinary, this whole process is outlined as the potential USPs for your restaurant.

What exactly is a USP for business? In layman's terms, it’s the ‘Unique Selling Point’ for your food business that goes parallel to driving the competition away.

Since USPs are a strong part of opening a restaurant in Dubai or any other part of the world, they are crucial to help you gain the upper hand.  

The industry is already way too competitive by now, and it doesn’t take long for new food business startups to diminish within a few months.  

So, one way to be unique is having an extraordinary interior design for your restaurant.  The atmosphere of your restaurant affects how customers perceive your brand, the caliber of service they anticipate, and whether or not they will return.  

Even better, it encourages customers to place larger orders, affects how long they remain, and affects how much money they are willing to spend.

Perfect Restaurant Ambiance Equals Good Interior Design  

Salable interior design is good interior design. You can advertise your restaurant to the people who will patronize it by using its interior design. Make your interiors' unique features known if they exist. Customers would throng to your restaurant if they felt like they were a part of something special.

Most significantly, restaurant interior design has an impact on patron psychology. With restaurant interior design ideas, you can influence your patrons to order more, eat faster, drink more, stay shorter, and more.

Choosing a Concept

What sort of eatery do you run? Would it be one of the newest fast-casual eateries with a sophisticated feel that is now popular? Or will it be a burger joint, a fancy restaurant, or a totally original idea?

Consider the interior of the restaurant when developing and preparing the menu. After all, a restaurant outfitted to resemble an Italian bistro wouldn't sell Mexican food.

As visitors enter your restaurant, you want them to be greeted with the sights and noises that are acceptable for that type of establishment. When creating or redesigning your area, take into account the theme of your restaurant.

Architecture Design  

restaurant architecture design  

The fundamental components of restaurant interior design are the architecture and design. The interior design of your restaurant and the placement of all of its components are crucial in determining its overall feel and appearance.  

Because it involves creating your restaurant's layout, it also has a big impact on how customers feel.

The layout of your restaurant will determine how open it feels, how cramped it becomes at busy times, and how easy it is to move around without running into anyone or colliding with tables.  

If your staff cannot provide excellent service and guests cannot feel at ease in their own area, it is pointless for your restaurant to be attractive.

Seating Alignment

restaurant seating   

Another overlooked aspect of restaurant interior design is seating. The choice of seating affects not just the experience but also the psychology of your customers.  

Have you ever noticed how fast-food restaurants (QSRs) like Subway and McDonald's have seats that are comfortable but not exactly the kind you would want to keep sitting on!  

They impart a really light sense while doing so. All of this causes the clients to eat quickly and leave.


What Type of Certificate Is Required to Run a Restaurant in Dubai?

As explained earlier, to open a restaurant, you'll need to obtain a Trade License and a Food License. A No-Objection Certificate from the Dubai Municipality is also required, as well as (only if necessary for your business) a liquor license, a permit for Ramadan, a delivery permit, and a permit for pork (also known as Non-Halal Food Activity)

Can a foreigner open a restaurant in Dubai?

Yes, but starting a restaurant in Dubai as a foreigner requires approval. Certain enterprises in Dubai are required to obtain permits from various governmental organizations. For instance, you must obtain a permit from the municipality for food and safety in order to open a restaurant in Dubai.

Is opening a restaurant profitable in Dubai?

Yes, tourists and foreign residents abound in Dubai. One of the most valuable industries, restaurants produce services worth close to 20 billion dirhams, according to data from the Dubai Statistical Center (DSC).

If properly handled, it might be enormously profitable. Yet, there are severe rules that must be followed when operating a restaurant in Dubai.  

These culinary rules must be followed, whether you run a café, bakery, or fine dining establishment. For all three, the procedure is substantially unchanged.

How much is a food license in Dubai?

A food license in Dubai can cost anywhere between AED 140,000 and AED 200,000. Your trade license is renewed once a year by the DED (Department of Economic Development) in Dubai.

Wrap Up  

Have you decided to open a restaurant in Dubai? You should be heavily involved in developing the interior design of your restaurant when working with a qualified interior design company in Dubai.

It's your responsibility to lead them through the process of planning and embellishing the interior of your restaurant so that it perfectly complements your marketing initiatives and, more importantly, so that it attracts customers who leave your establishment completely satisfied with the quality of the food, the level of service, and the ambiance.

Have a look at some of our striking restaurant interior design works and decide for yourself!

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