The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East, and Dubai is playing a huge role in this revolution. Investors across the globe have been working closely with businesses in the Emirates of Dubai to maintain their foothold in the market. Breaking down the business ventures, the most growth has been seen in the restaurant sector in recent years.
According to Euro Monitor International, close to 19,000 additional food outlets are expected to enter the Dubai market. One of the reasons for such tremendous growth is because of the international interest from tourists in Dubai. The city has been turned into a getaway destination for many, which has exponentially increased business opportunities.
Stepping into the food industry is not an easy task, especially if there is an abundance of competition. The easiest way to get started is by setting up a small cafeteria in Dubai. The biggest advantage is that Dubai has always been supportive of international players in the market, providing them complete support to succeed.
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What is a Cafeteria License?
If you are looking to open a cafeteria in Dubai then the prerequisite is to attain a cafeteria license prior to starting your operations. It is a food license issued by the Dubai Economic department which is mandatory otherwise your business will be exposed to legal lawsuits.
Here are the necessary details relating to the legal structure of the cafeteria license:
- Name of the License: Cafeteria License
- Activity Group: Restaurants and Coffee Shops
- License Type: Professional
Types of Licenses in Dubai
Before moving on to understanding the procedure of opening a cafeteria in Dubai, it is important to know how many types of licenses there are.
In total, there are a total of three licenses that can be obtained. Here is the breakdown:
- Commercial License
- This type of license is issued to a company or an individual who will be engaged in trading activities
- Industrial License
- In order to exercise manufacturing activities, it is important to obtain an Industrial License beforehand
- Professional License
- This type of license is issued to service providers, artisans, and/or craftsmen
- The cafeteria license comes under the professional license
Procedure for Opening a Cafeteria in Dubai
In order to start a food business and reap the benefits of having a global customer base, there are some prerequisites that need to be fulfilled. It is mandatory to apply for and acquire a business license and once you have the valid permits and approvals from respective agencies, you can then start with your business.
The first step is to apply the name reservation and initial activity approval from DED to obtain a professional license before you can start operating a cafeteria in Dubai.
After the trade name approves and the activity is approved by the DED the next step is to prepare the company memorandum of articles, agreement with the local sponsor, and all necessary relevant papers to sign the agreement in front of a notary public.
To understand the process in a simple manner, we have broken the steps down which are easier to follow and understand.
- The first step is to reserve the trade name of the cafeteria and approval for an activity.
- The second step is to Select a local sponsor which can also act as a sleeping partner in your business. Prepare the company documents and agreements for a local sponsor.
- To legitimize the partnership, sign the agreement at the notary public court.
- After the agreement has been made then the physical place of the cafeteria requires approval from the Food and Safety Authority of Dubai Municipality.
- Follow the Food and Safety Department requirements for the construction of the cafeteria building
- This requirement is not applicable if the cafeteria is being rented
- If a cafeteria is being rented then find a suitable place and sign a tenancy contract with the owner.
- Upon completion of the requirements of the Dubai municipality, they issue the approval certificate.
- Submit all the signed and attested documents to the Department of Economic Development (DED) to get the trade license issued.
It is worth adding that once you have followed each step carefully, you will receive approval from DED as well as the Dubai Municipal. The license will be issued within a week after the approval has been confirmed.
There is one additional step that is required before you can carry start the operations of your business; once you receive the license, you can then start the process of registration with the Ministry of Labour and the Immigration Department. This is essential if you are hiring employees from a different country.
Requirements for Cafeteria License Approval
Here is everything you need to know about your restaurant in terms of the layout, architecture amongst other details:
- Space for food processing and storage
- Sanitary spaces i.e. washrooms
- Windows and ventilation system
- Location of the kitchen equipment
- Entry and exit passages
- Location of washer and other cleaning equipment
This checklist will help you with acquiring a food license from the Food and Safety Department.
- First issued approval from DED
- The layout of the cafeteria and/or premises
- If the cafeteria is to be set up outside a shopping center then approval from the Planning Department will also be required
Here are all the things you need before contacting the DED for initial approval,
- Three proposed names.
- Passport copies of all shareholders
- Local sponsor documents
- Activity details
Food Safety Requirements for Cafeteria in Dubai
Now that all the requirements regarding the process of cafeteria license application have been discussed, we will now talk about certain requirements to ensure food safety.
For this, you will also have to obtain a license and a couple of permits. Here are the details of those:
- Food consignment release license
- Pork permit for handling and serving pork products
- Vehicle permit for transporting food products
Location of the Cafeteria
There are also rules and regulations imposed on the location of the cafeteria opening in Dubai as well. The government claims that a cafeteria or any food business must be placed at a 50-meter distance from a waste disposal facility else it has the potential to lead to contamination of food. The 10-meter surrounding area of the restaurant must be kept clean at all times.
Here are some additional requirements that need to be kept in mind in this regard:
- Location of the cafeteria must be appropriate so that customers do not face any troubles
- The management should enough that there is enough space for the disposal of dirt and evacuation of the smoke in case of emergencies
- Pet’s access to the building is strongly prohibited and all owners must ensure this
- The restroom area and the storage area should be kept separated to ensure the safety of the food
- It is also required that walls, floors, and roof should contain surface which is washable, non-absorbent, and fireproof
- Three separate basins should be kept in the kitchen; one for washing utensils, another for cleaning vegetables, and the last one for meat cleaning
Price of a Cafeteria License in Dubai
The Pro license in Dubai costs approximately around AED 10,350 from DED and an approximate cost for completing licensing costs between AED 24000 to 29000. On average the approximate cost to open the cafeteria is between 150,000 AED to 200,000 where the major cost is the rent of the place, interior fit-outs, and hiring staff.
We hope that this guide helped you. Riz & Mona Consultancy can make this process easier for you. Book a free appointment via our WhatsApp # 00971 54 5821012 and start your business in the UAE.