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Posted By: Jessica Augustin | 30 Aug 2017

How to Set up a Restaurant in Dubai successfully!

Starting/ setting up a Restaurant in Dubai


Food is producing a great deal of profit and the Middle East is the hub of delicious culinary delights from all over the world. One of the reasons why people travel to places in the UAE like Dubai is to have a taste of world cuisine and enrich their travelling experience.

Increasing numbers of businessmen are eyeing the restaurant business in Dubai. Nearly 2000 restaurants have opened up in Dubai in the last one and a half year alone and about 19,000 extra F&B outlets are expected in the UAE by 2019.

People are willing to try newer cuisines, new food specialities and tantalize their taste buds. After all, one of the most important parts of travelling to a foreign country is to indulge in local and global cuisine.


Business setup in UAE/ Dubai: Food sector


To set up a restaurant in Dubai, you have to follow the ‘FOOD CODE’.

FOOD CODE is the initiative of the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality to ensure safe production and distribution of food& with an endeavour to guide food safety standards in the food industry.

There are similar Codes issued in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Hong Kong. This shows how committed the Dubai government is to match up with world food standards.

The food code is applicable to following types of business setup in Dubai, UAE.

  • Restaurants, hotels, cafeteria and cafes.
  • Bakeries
  • Butcheries
  • Food service operation institution in schools and hospitals.
  • Supermarket, grocery and departmental stores.
  • Food factories and warehouses
  • Food catering services, supplies to cruise ship, desert camps, events and canteens
  • Food packing material manufacturers and supplies
  • Kiosks, temporary and permanent food events, and mobile vending operations
  • Licensing requirement

You require two types of licenses to set up a restaurant in Dubai

  1. TRADE LICENSE: The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing provides trade license for business setup in Dubai, UAE. You must select appropriate food establishment type you want to operate in. This is important as it will be specified in the license that you acquire.

Following this, you must also get your construction plans vetted and approved by the food control department of Dubai.

  1. FOOD LICENSE: Food license is provided by Food Safety Department in Dubai.

The following documents must be submitted to the food safety department to obtain the cafeteria licence or for any food business setup in Dubai, UAE.

  • Copy of the trade license or primary approval from authority that issues trade license
  • Interior design layout of the premises, if applicable. This is essentially a blue print of your restaurant. This blue print must contain the following in the restaurant
  • The entry and exit passages
  • Space for processing food
  • Space for storing food
  • The windows and ventilation system
  • Location of food equipment that will be used to process the food
  • Washing machines, dish washers and other supportive equipment’s


  • Additionally, an approval from planning department is required if the restaurant is located outside the shopping centre.
  • You must also apply for ‘NOC on food stuff establishment trade license from the food safety department’ This service will enable you to  complete the procedure of issuing trade license related to the food activity/establishment which is provided by the Department of Economic Development (DED) e.g. Jebel Ali free zone, Dubai investments park etc.


Food safety measures

Every restaurant must appoint qualified personnel when they start operating. This person will be responsible for operations and will be appointed by a person in charge of training. This person must also undergo specialized training. Other special permits are as follows


For food transportation: Vehicle permit is required.

For handling and serving pork: Pork permit is required

Food consignment release license

Under the new Dubai food code imposed in 2013, there separate guidelines on import and export of food products. These may come handy for company formation in Dubai food industry.


It is very important to obtain No objection letter from Dubai Municipality-Public health department before the commencement of the work. Businessmen may face closer action in case you fail to comply.


To set up a restaurant in Dubai or in UAE, a strong foundation is a challenging task and requires in-depth knowledge of the local market and excellent business acumen. With benefits offered in Dubai Free Zones like 100% ownership and tax optimized business operations, business setup in Dubai is an opportunity knocking at your door.


There are numerous licenses, permits required for business setup in Dubai food industry, and ADAM GLOBAL DUBAI is equipped with the right experts to help you kick-start the right way!

So go ahead and open your dream restaurant in Dubai today!


Contribution by:

Ashwin Chandrashekar 

Business Associate & Consultant -ADAM GLOBAL DUBAI
Mobile : +971 543297867

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