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How to Open a Restaurant in Dubai?

How to Open a Restaurant in Dubai?

Published On:
August 2, 2023

Wondering how to open a restaurant business in Dubai as a resident or expat? 

We will tackle all you need to know to start your restaurant business in Dubai but firstly let’s ask why choose Dubai!

As a cosmopolitan city as it is, Dubai is your number one destination to start your business, especially in the food and beverage industry. With almost 200 different nationalities, you will find an ample variety of food tastes to choose from to start your food business. Thus, this makes Dubai a perfect place to open a restaurant with fine dining or fast food, especially since UAE has the leverage of being a fast-paced growing environment of all business types.


Can a Foreigner Open a Restaurant in Dubai?

The answer is definitely yes as any foreigner can open a restaurant in Dubai or any other type of business. Hence, you can get a live testimonial from one of our clients who is an expat and owns 100 percent of his business without the need of any local partners. 

And if you’re still wondering where to start we, Freezoner for company formation in Dubai, will make your life much easier as a businessman, and will tackle the main procedures of opening a restaurant in Dubai, how to acquire the food license, and more in this article.


What Is the Procedure to Open a Restaurant in Dubai?

After picking a certain cuisine and rolling out a full feasibility study for your restaurant, now is the right time to check the procedure to open a restaurant in Dubai. 

  1. Registration: Register on the Dubai FoodWatch platform.
    You need to register in Dubai as a trader on the FoodWatch platform to facilitate the process of opening a restaurant whether in Dubai or the Free Zone or any other residence inside UAE. 
  2. Food License: Make sure you're eligible for the business requirements to get the food license by the DED platform.
    You have to ensure that you’re eligible for the business requirements and to be allowed to get the food license by the DED platform. 
  3. Listing Food Items: Register your food items on FoodWatch as well.
    As a part of setting up a business in Dubai, you will need not only to register your business on FoodWatch but also you have to list your food items. 
  4. Providing Licensed Space: provide a licensed space with all needed facilities.
    In addition to that, you will need to provide a licensed space that has all facilities like drainage, water allowance, and gas. 
  5. Deciding on Name & Contact Details: Choose a catchy name for your restaurant.
    Don’t forget to decide on a name for your restaurant and get the contact details ready to submit them to the DM Inspection section. 
  6. Safety Regulations: Align your business with healthy standards and safety roles.
    A restaurant owner shall abide by the safety regulations according to the Dubai Food Code to reach healthy standards.

What is the Cost of Opening a Restaurant in Dubai?

When it comes to costs in the Food and Beverage domain, there are a variety of options and fees to open a restaurant. Admittedly, there are ample factors that will determine the final cost of opening a restaurant in Dubai that includes direct costs, operating costs, production costs, and many more of the different types of costs. Not to mention the location and the space of the restaurant as it plays a key role in your business success as a restaurant owner.

Thus, let’s break the costs down for you, including the food license cost.

How much is a Food License in Dubai?

If you are wondering about the cost of the restaurant space, there will be a variety of price ranges according to the square feet of space you will acquire. Spaces venues start from 3600 AED, 5600 AED, and more according to the type of your restaurant whether it’s a fine-dining, car truck, or other types the cost will be higher. 

According to the Founder & CEO of Restaurant Secrets Inc firm, Gabrielle, she asserted in her interview with Khaleej News, “It’s very normal for restaurants today to cost you up to 40, 50 million dirhams if you’re going to the dinner-tainment luxurious construction.”

Is it Profitable to open a Restaurant in Dubai?

In any business, net profits usually take longer than expected to pay off, especially in such competitive markets like the F & B field. Thus, restaurant owners shall be patient when investing in their restaurants regardless of size. 

Therefore, there are many indicators that you have to adapt to make your restaurant more profitable faster than others.

Here are some tips to make a profit out of your restaurant business:

  1. Invest in finding the right audience to address because this will help decide on the right location and the right pricing strategy to follow
  2. Provide good quality of your service because it plays a major role in building a nice image of your business and will keep your clients loyal to your brand
  3. Don’t overlook customer experience because it will support your profitability more than you think 
  4. Set a balanced pricing list while planning for increasing it gradually, especially when offering new plates or sides 


Accordingly, restaurants can take from 18 months to 3 years to make a high return on investment (ROI) percentage.

Finally, opening a restaurant business in Dubai is equally available to foreigners and local people. And all you need is to step up and make the first move. 

We assure you that all the procedures, requirements, and costs of opening a restaurant in Dubai can be hassle-free if you’ve got the right consultation. 

Thus, if you need professional assistance, you can contact us at Freezoner and we will provide you with a fully-fledged plan to guide you through setting up your restaurant business process.

On a side note, the restaurant business is a winning card in the UAE in general and in Dubai in particular but if you want to explore your chances of business setup in Sharjah Free Zone, we can assist you as well.



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