How to Open a Small Cafeteria in Dubai? 

Small is cute and simple is beautiful! Unlike a large, full-fledged restaurant, a smallish cafeteria in Dubai with limited options is usually full. Thanks to the expats driven by hustle culture! And the catch here is opening a cafeteria in Dubai is a great idea. 

In Dubai, you’ll hardly find a street without a tiny cafeteria or café. Thanks to about 90% expat population from about 200 nationalities, the majority of which are working professionals. Decked up with tiny fairy lights, dapper seats and tables, green elements and only necessary things, cafeterias today are beyond a stop-and-go spot and a popular choice amongst people from every age or income group for their own reasons. Availability of a variety of quick bites & drinks, airy ambiance, reasonable prices of the food and beverage items and prompt service are some of the primary reasons why small cafeterias in Dubai are always crowded. Without a doubt, starting a cafeteria or small restaurant in Dubai is a profitable idea! And the joy of joys is – You don’t have to worry about footfalls, even when there are 10 more food joints on your street. Because every man and his dog loves food, and the eyes and noses of food lovers are always in search of new places to try something unique. Plus, you may easily scale up your restaurant business by offering a home delivery service and with little promotional efforts. When it comes to restaurants and cafés, from customers’ perspective, the more, the better! If you’re looking to open a small cafeteria in one of the bustling streets of Dubai, possibly you might be wondering how to start it, how to obtain a cafeteria license, and how much the entire setup will cost you initially. Fret not, this page will answer all your doubts regarding the cafeteria business setup in Dubai. 

How to Open a Cafeteria in Dubai? 

u003cstrongu003eThings to know before starting a cafeteria in Dubai, UAEu003c/strongu003eu003cbru003eWithout a doubt, you can start a cafeteria and apply for the relevant licenses and permits in your own steam, however, you won’t like to do the spadework involved in the process especially collecting approvals and preparing required documents. Therefore, it is advisable to engage one of the most experienced business formation consultants in Dubai, such as u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eAdam Globalu003c/au003e.  

u003cstrongu003eRelevant Licenses/Permitsu003c/strongu003e 

u003cbru003eTo incept a cafeteria business in Dubai, you are required to acquire two separate licenses. The first one is a cafeteria u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003elicenseu003c/au003e which is issued by the u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eDepartment of Economic Development (DED)u003c/au003e or a u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003efree zoneu003c/au003e authority) depending on your u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003echoice of jurisdictionu003c/au003e and the second one is a u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003efoodu003c/au003e license which can be applied at the u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eDubai Municipality Food Safety Departmentu003c/au003e only after getting your cafeteria plans approved by the u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003efood control department in Dubaiu003c/au003e. The cafeteria plan must include all entrances and exits, food processing areas, storage areas, windows and ventilation, and all the other equipment. As part of your license application, you must present a copy of your cafeteria license in the UAE along with a floor plan and other documents. 

u003cstrongu003eFood Codeu003c/strongu003e

This is worth noting that for the continued validity of your cafeteria license in Dubai, you must comply with the ‘u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eFood Codeu003c/au003e’, designed to assist the Person-In-Charge (PICs) at food establishments to understand their obligations and to carry out operations as per the requirement. You must submit the following documents to get the Food Clearance from DM. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003e1. Trade licenseu003c/au003e copy or primary approval from the relevant authority in charge of license issuance u003cbru003eu003cbru003e2. The u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003einterior designu003c/au003e layout or a blueprint of your restaurant by registered DM Interior Designer 

u003cstrongu003eu003cstrongu003eRestaurant Typesu003c/strongu003e u003c/strongu003e

Below are the common types of restaurant license in Dubai according to the Dubai Economic Department: u003cbru003e1. Restaurant and Coffee Shops u003cbru003e2. Floating Restaurant u003cbru003e3. Restaurant and Mini Store u003cbru003e4. Multi Restaurants Center 

u003cstrongu003eOther Food-related Permits in Dubai, UAEu003c/strongu003e

Only authorized users (primary Person-in-Charge of Food establishments and Technical Experts) can apply for food permits and approvals through the u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eFoodWatch platformu003c/au003e of DM. Permit(s)-approval(s) will be withdrawn without prior notice if there is any depreciation in the Food Inspection Grade or if there are any critical food safety or regulatory violations. Here are the u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003epermits/approvalsu003c/au003e you may request for: u003cbru003e1. Food Consignment Release License u003cbru003e2. Pork Permit for handling and serving food products containing pork u003cbru003e3. Vehicle Permit for transporting food products u003cbru003e4. Food Activity at Events u003cbru003e5. Food Trucks u003cbru003e6. Kiosk Permit u003cbru003e7. Vending Machine u003cbru003e8. Non-Halal Food Activity u003cbru003e9. Food Promotion Permit u003cbru003e10. Temporary Permit for Changes Related to Food Label/Packages u003cbru003e11. School Supply Permit u003cbru003e12. Approval of Food and Nutrition Safety Internal Trainer u003cbru003e13. Approval of Consultancy/Training Companies u003cbru003e14. Common Kitchen in Labour Accommodation u003cbru003e15. Trader (Licensed u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eHome Businessesu003c/au003e) u003cbru003e16. Approval of Water Tank Cleaning Companies u003cbru003e17. Approval of seafood industries for exporting to EU countries 

What is the Process of u003cstrongu003eDubai Cafeteria License Application? u003c/strongu003e

Below mentioned are the main steps to obtain the cafeteria license in Dubai: u003cbru003e1. First and foremost, u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003edecide between mainland or free zone jurisdictionu003c/au003e u003cbru003e2. Find out and lease a suitable location for your cafeteria u003cbru003e3. Get your u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003ecafeteria nameu003c/au003e approved u003cbru003e4. Obtain initial approval u003cbru003e5. Finalize the legal form of the company u003cbru003e6. Draft and sign the Memorandum of Association (MoA) and u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003ecommercial lease agreementu003c/au003e with your partners u003cbru003e7. Register your cafeteria business under the chosen jurisdiction u003cbru003e8. Prepare and submit u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003enecessary documentsu003c/au003e to the DED (Department of Economic Development) along with the trade license application to apply for the cafeteria business license with the DED u003cbru003e9. Pay the application fee and collect the trade license u003cbru003e10. Obtain a food license from the Dubai Municipality Food and Safety Department u003cbru003eApply for No-Objection Certificate (NOC) 

What are the ru003cstrongu003eequired documents to start a cafeteria business in Dubaiu003c/strongu003e 

Following are the set of documents required to open a cafeteria in Dubai: u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cstrongu003eThe Construction Plan of the Cafeteria must outline the details about:u003c/strongu003e u003cbru003e1. Space for food processing, cooking, and storage u003cbru003e2. Sanitary places u003cbru003e3. All the windows and the ventilation system u003cbru003e4. The equipment location where the food is processed u003cbru003e5. Location of washing machines, if any. u003cbru003e6. All the entry and exit of the passages u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cstrongu003eTo receive initial approval, submit:u003c/strongu003e u003cbru003e1. Three proposed names for the coffee shop as per the UAE trade name guidelines u003cbru003e2. Passport copies of all the shareholders u003cbru003e3. Local sponsor documents u003cbru003e4. Activity details u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cstrongu003eTo obtain the approval of a Food License from DM, you must submit:u003c/strongu003e u003cbru003e1. The approval certificate from the authority in charge (u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003emainland/freezoneu003c/au003e) u003cbru003e2. The layout of the building/space/shop u003cbru003e3. Approval Certificate from the planning department (if the cafeteria is being setup outside a shopping centre) u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cstrongu003ePaperwork to apply for the Trade License in Dubai for cafeteria business includes:u003c/strongu003e u003cbru003e1. Properly filled in the trade license application, duly signed by all the business partners and managers u003cbru003e2. Duly prepared MOA, signed by all the shareholders u003cbru003e3. Cafeteria name registration and approval letter u003cbru003e4. Passport copies of the business managers and employees u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cstrongu003eLocation Requirements for a Small Cafeteria in Dubaiu003c/strongu003e u003cbru003eIt is important to meet the following location conditions to start a small cafeteria in Dubai: u003cbru003e1. The selected cafeteria location must be appropriate, so the customers don’t face any troubles u003cbru003e2. Must have adequate space to accommodate the equipment and prepare the food u003cbru003e3. There must be particular space for the disposal of dirt and a facility of smoke emission u003cbru003e4. Washrooms must be separated, away from the kitchen on the opposite side u003cbru003e5. The walls, floors, and roofs must be cleaned/washed regularly u003cbru003e6. The entire area must be fire-insulated u003cbru003e7. It must contain a separate washbasin for cleaning utensils and vegetables, and a separate one for the meat (in the case of a non-vegetarian cafeteria) 

u003cstrongu003eCost of opening a cafeteria in Dubaiu003c/strongu003e 

Opening even a small cafeteria in Dubai is an expensive affair but can be cost-effective if you keep a strict check on the factors influencing the overall cost of a cafeteria setup in Dubai. You must be ready to cough up at least AED 120,000 if you want to keep it low-key. The u003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eprofessional licenseu003c/au003e fee itself is about AED 10,310 and the cost of applying for the same can reach up to AED 28,000. On the contrary, if you want everything all wool and a yard wide then remember you need to fork out more as they say, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too!”. Apparently, the cost of opening a chic cafeteria in Dubai can easily shoot up to AED 170,000+ in a heartbeat if you want the whole nine yards in your dream cafeteria. This includes the major cost elements involved in the cafeteria establishment such as the café’s rental, interior decor, and staff visas (plus, workers’ accommodation). The more butter you add, the tastier the food gets (with this, I know I got a bit carried away)! 




Meet Cafeteria Business Formation Experts in Dubai @ Adam Global 

We usually see cafeterias or coffee shops multiply within a few years of journey. Imagine the scope of this business in the tourist and expat-friendly Dubai! Your decision to start a small cafeteria in Dubai is a great idea. However, the process can be daunting, considering the red tape and paperwork involved every step of the way to your final destination. However, outsourcing the task to one of the best business consultants in Dubai can make the process a whole lot easier. Click here to book an appointment with one of our seasoned Dubai business advisors for a free consultancy. 

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