How to Open a Restaurant in Dubai, UAE

Open a Restaurant in Dubai

Dubai is a city that witnesses millions of tourist footfall every year. Moreover, it is rapidly emerging as one of the top global food destinations. This, thus, makes up for a good opportunity to open a restaurant in Dubai.

However, like any other business, a restaurant business setup has specific requirements that need to be cautiously considered and duly fulfilled.  Therefore, through this article, we will guide you through the key requirements for starting a restaurant business in Dubai. 

Key steps to open a restaurant in Dubai 

Dubai is rich with opportunities for investors who want to set up a successful business. However, there are some basic points to be covered in order to open a restaurant business effectively in Dubai. 

Market research 

Before finalizing a business activity, it is always better to look around and study the market situation. This will help you understand the market trends, target audience, customer needs, competitor’s forte, and also the best locations where the footfall is flowing. 

Determine the concept 

A restaurant business must have a unique concept that makes it stand out from its competitors. It basically involves the service style, the cuisines and recipes, and the ambiance of the restaurant. Having an unusual theme or an innovative item in the menu will attract a lot of customers. Thus, determining your business’ USP and experimenting with something new would definitely make a difference. 

Consider the budget 

It might cost a pretty penny to open a restaurant in Dubai. Nevertheless, jotting down the basic expenses and costs might help in avoiding overspending and cutting down the budget. The restaurant owners must have an approximate idea of the costs they will have to bear for their business setup in Dubai.  The general overheads may include the following: 

  • License fees 
  • Purchasing a new property 
  • Permissions and approvals 
  • Staff training 
  • Daily operations 
  • Insurance 
  • Working capital 
  • Cost of equipment and furniture 

Additionally, starting a restaurant business involves an initial investment one needs to take care of. The business formation consultants at UAE Expansion can assist you with the details regarding the estimated start-up capital as well as the restaurant license cost in Dubai.  

Finalize a location 

Dubai encourages cultural diversity, which simply means there is a wide scope for restaurant owners to prosper and cater to a variety of audiences. Hence, the owner of the restaurant needs to find the perfect spot that supports its business idea and brings in more customers. To achieve this, they need to do some research and see whether the preferred location has enough footfall to sustain their restaurant business.    

The location of the business plays a vital role in determining whether it will be a hit or a failure. While finalizing a location for the restaurant business, the following characteristics must be addressed – 

  • Visibility – Make sure the location has a high footfall and the restaurant sign is visible to the public. 
  • Accessibility – If the restaurant is situated in an easily accessible area, people are more likely to visit and re-visit. 
  • Customer base – Identify your target audience and decide the location as per your desired audience base. 
  • Affordability – If the rent is high, then it might become difficult to earn the desired profits. Therefore, do complete research on the location and find an affordable place on lease. 
  • Proximity to suppliers – Maintaining proximity with the suppliers will help in curbing the shipping costs. Figure out from where you will get the required raw materials and how far it is from your restaurant. 

On the whole, select a location based on the type of restaurant you are willing to open. To find the best localities in Dubai, reach out to business consultants at UAE Expansion. 

Licenses and permits 

A Restaurant License in Dubai is a mandatory requirement to operate a restaurant legally in the UAE. So, before you book a slot to set up your business in your favorite location, make sure you acquire the necessary permits and approvals to set off your operations in Dubai. For a restaurant business, you would mainly require two types of licenses – Trade license and Food License. 

A trade license for a restaurant business is issued by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). The steps to procure this license are as below: 

  • Determine the nature of the business 
  • Identify the corporate activities and clearly mention them in your application form 
  • Designate a legal status and a trade name for your restaurant 
  • Apply for initial approval 
  • Lease a working space 
  • Prepare all the relevant documents 
  • Submit a further application for final approval 

On the other hand, the Food Safety Department is the regulatory authority responsible for providing food licenses to eatery businesses. Once the restaurant owner has procured their trade license, they must apply for a food license as an official approval for the construction plan of their restaurant. Additionally, they must present the below documents to the Food Safety Department – 

  • Trade license copy 
  • Certificate of initial approval 
  • Blueprint / Interior design layout of the premises 
  • Entry/exit passages 
  • Food processing and storage area 
  • Ventilation/chimney system 
  • Food preparation area and equipment (utensils, dishwashers, refrigerator, microwave, etc.) 

There are also some additional licenses or permits that a restaurant business in Dubai might require – 

  • Permit for Food consignment release 
  • Permit to serve pork 
  • Vehicle license for transporting food products 
  • Liquor license, if serving liquor in the restaurant 

Develop menu and other essentials 

A menu describes the features and specialties of your food business. Hence, it is important to engineer your menu in the right way with the correct prices and ingredients. For instance, categorize food in different sections, add new recipes and food items, etc.

Determine the prices for your dishes so carefully that they bring in profits and also cover the prime costs. Write tempting descriptions for high-profit dishes that draw the customers’ attention. Furthermore, keep updating the menu in accordance with consumer tastes and market trends. 

Restaurant layout 

Designing the restaurant layout is a much-required step in this process. How well you arrange and style your restaurant has a significant impact on its success. If it is enhanced artistically, with ample space to move around freely, it will leave a good impression on the customers.

Therefore, you have to put careful thought into organizing your entire layout as outlined in your menu and concept. For example, place all the elements wisely, put everything in their correct places, assure maximum utilization of the area, etc. 

Technology and equipment 

You cannot overlook the need for technology in this tech-savvy era, and to open a restaurant in Dubai, you would require the right technology and equipment to operate efficiently and perform various day-to-day tasks.

An efficient POS system would enable you to keep an eye on the daily operations which include billing, pushing orders directly to the kitchen, managing stock and inventory, getting real-time reports, reaching out to the customers, and many other activities. 

Recruitment & training 

Good employees ensure the best service in a  restaurant. That’s why hiring the best staff is important. For a restaurant business, the basic staff requirements are chefs, cooks, managers, waiters, bartenders, and cleaning staff. You can initially start with a minimum staff and gradually increase as per the need. 

Get professional help to start your own restaurant in Dubai 

Dreaming to open a restaurant in Dubai? Make your dreams come true with UAE Expansion. Get proper guidance and help in laying out a plan for your dream restaurant and a prolific business setup in Dubai. So, get in touch with expert business consultants of UAE Expansion and build a foundation in Dubai’s thriving economy. 

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