7 Essential Steps to Opening A Restaurant in Dubai

Opening A Restaurant in Dubai
Dubai’s vibrant culinary scene beckons aspiring restaurateurs with the promise of clinking plates and satisfied customers. But opening a restaurant in Dubai and transforming your passion into a bustling business can feel overwhelming.Fear not! This step-by-step guide provides a clear roadmap to navigate all requirements for a restaurant business setup in Dubai. However, before that, let’s discover why Dubai is a culinary hotspot!

Here’s A Market Research That Paints A Mouth watering Picture For Aspiring Restaurateurs:

 If you dreamt of turning your passion for food into a thriving business in a dynamic, global city? Look no further than Dubai, the world’s culinary melting pot brimming with exciting possibilities.

  • Thriving Industry: Despite global challenges in recent years due to COVID-19, Dubai’s food and beverage sector continues to grow. It had spiked by a stunning 6% in 2022. While across UAE, dining hotspots are projected to grow by 5% in 2024.
  • Undeniable Demand: With the highest number of restaurants per capita in the world, Dubai boasts a hungry and diverse audience.
  • Promising Future: The industry is projected to reach a staggering AED 20.9 billion by 2023, fueled by a healthy CAGR of 6.8%.
  • Expanding Market: Dubai’s population is expected to surge to 5.8 million by 2030, creating an even greater appetite for delicious experiences.
  • Tourist Boom: With multiple major events happening in the region each year, Dubai’s tourism sector is poised to attract a wave of potential customers.

These statistics paint a clear picture – Dubai presents a golden opportunity for restaurateurs to bring their culinary dreams to life. Nonetheless, success requires meticulous planning, thorough research, and a deep understanding of the local regulations.

This blog takes you through the 7 essential steps and guides you on this exciting culinary journey. We will delve into industry insights, navigate legal requirements, and equip you with the knowledge needed to turn your restaurant vision into a vibrant reality in the heart of Dubai.

Opening A Restaurant in Dubai

The 7 Steps You Need To Focus On While Opening A Restaurant In Dubai:

1. Define Your Concept & Secure Initial Approvals:

  • Concept Clarity: Clearly define your restaurant’s unique identity, cuisine, and target audience. This forms the foundation for your operational decisions, from menu and décor to marketing strategy.
  • Market Research: Conduct thorough research to understand Dubai’s culinary landscape, identify your target demographics, and assess their needs and preferences.
  • Department of Economic Development (DED): Obtain initial approval from the DED by submitting necessary documentation, including business plans, location details, and ownership information.

2. Secure a Location & Register Your Business:

  • Location Selection: Choose a suitable location that aligns with your concept, target audience, and budget. Secure a tenancy contract and obtain Ejari certification.
  • Business Registration: Register your business entity with the DED, selecting the appropriate legal structure and trade name.

3. Partner with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM):

  • Food License Acquisition: Collaborate with the DTCM to secure your food license. This requires additional approvals from Dubai Municipality and other relevant authorities regarding sanitation, waste management, and public health.

4. Assemble Your Team & Ensure Compliance:

  • Restaurant Manager: Appoint a qualified and experienced restaurant manager to oversee operations, staff management, and adherence to industry standards.
  • Financial Planning: Create a comprehensive budget for all operational costs, including food, equipment, rent, personnel, marketing, and licensing fees.
  • Food Safety Regulations: Implement and adhere to strict food safety standards mandated by Dubai Municipality.
  • Sanitation & Waste Management: Ensure compliance with the authorities’ sanitation and waste management regulations.
  • Public Health Requirements: Obtain and maintain all necessary health permits and certifications for your staff and food handlers.

5. Decoding Restaurant Setup Costs in Dubai

Launching a restaurant in Dubai is no small feat, especially concerning finances. It’s crucial to meticulously plan and understand the costs involved to avoid unnecessary expenses and stay within your budget.

Aspiring restaurant owners must grasp these expenses before embarking on their culinary venture. Setting up a restaurant involves various costs, including licensing fees, property expenses, permits, staff training, operational software, insurance, working capital, and infrastructure.

Connect with an expert from CorpCreators to understand the initial investments required for your restaurant business in Dubai.

6. The Licensing Journey

Obtaining specific licenses is a mandatory step in opening a restaurant in Dubai. Let’s break down the crucial licenses and the steps to acquire them:
  • Trade License: When applying for your general trading license in Dubai, specify your restaurant operation type in the license. The costs range from AED30,000 to AED40,000, depending on the restaurant type. 
  • Steps to Obtain a Trade License:
  1. Determine the nature of your enterprise.
  2. Designate legal status and register a trade name.
  3. Apply for initial approval.
  4. Lease a corporate office.
  5. Prepare the required documents.
  6. Submit the final approval application to the DED.
  • Food License Approval: This license is issued by the Food Safety Department after obtaining the Trade License. It requires specific documents and restaurant layout details. You will need a copy of the trade license and the Interior design layout blueprint, including entry and exit passages, food processing and storage areas, windows, ventilation system, and dishwashing spaces – to avail of this license.

7. Ultimately Remember

  • To get professional guidance: Consult with legal and financial advisors to ensure smooth operations and financial stability.


  • Engage with business setup services providers: Consider partnering with a business setup service provider to navigate the legalities, approvals, and documentation process more efficiently – some, like CorpCreators.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates and changes in regulations and licensing requirements.
  • Network & Connect: Build relationships with other restaurateurs, industry professionals, and potential suppliers.

Opening a restaurant in Dubai is an exciting endeavor that requires careful planning, strategic execution, and unwavering passion. Following these steps and remaining compliant with regulations can turn your culinary dream into a delectable reality and contribute to Dubai’s vibrant restaurant scene.

FAQs on Restaurant Business Setup in Dubai: Your Dream Unlocked!

Q1. I have a fantastic restaurant concept. How do I make it stand out in Dubai?

Define your unique identity! Pinpoint your cuisine, target audience, and ambiance. Research trends and analyze competitors to discover your niche.

Q2. What paperwork do I need for initial approvals?

The Department of Economic Development (DED) needs your business plan, chosen location details, and ownership information. Check their website for the latest requirements.

Q3. I'm struggling to find the perfect location. What should I consider?

Prioritize foot traffic, accessibility, proximity to your target audience, and affordability. Ensure the space complies with zoning regulations and accommodates your concept.

Q4. Which business structure should I go for?

You can explore options like sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or branch office, each with legal implications. Consult legal professionals for tailored advice.

Q5. Obtaining a food license seems complex. Who is involved?

Approach the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai Municipality for approvals regarding sanitation, waste management, and public health.

Q6. What qualities should I look for in a restaurant manager?

In Dubai, look for a candidate with experience in operations, staff management, food safety regulations, and financial planning. Consider relevant certifications and industry knowledge.

Q7. How much will it cost to start my restaurant?

Costs vary based on size, location, concept, and other factors. Expect expenses for licensing, rent, equipment, salaries, food, marketing, and working capital.

Q8. Should I hire a business setup service provider?

Yes, consultants from business setup companies such as CorpCreators can save you time by navigating legalities and paperwork. 

If you are still clueless about where to start for your restaurant business setup in Dubai? Connect with consultants from CorpCreators – the best company formation service providers in Dubai and across the UAE. 

To book a free consultation simply call on +971 50 338 3546  or WhatsApp us at +971 58 585 7341 to request a call back.

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