Step by step process to get a restaurant license in Dubai

  • Gaurav Rajyana | Operations Manager
  • December 22, 2019

Dubai is currently home to the second-highest number of restaurants (2,935 food and beverage outlets) per million residents and these eateries are flourishing financially.

The UAE’s fast-food sector is expected to grow to $4.51 billion in 2022. Be a part of this surging market, here is a guide to obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai:


How to get a restaurant license in Dubai?

In order to capitalize on this surging sector, entrepreneurs can seek the professional guidance of business set-up firms to walk them through the process of opening a restaurant or cafeteria in Dubai which includes several steps.

1. The first step is to decide whether you want to open a restaurant in the Dubai mainland or a free zone. You will need to seek approval from the relevant authority. Either the Department of Economic Development (DED) for the mainland or the independent authority for a particular free zone. To decide which free zone works best for you, click here

2. No matter where you set up, you’ll need to create and submit a business plan for the restaurant. This plan will take into account your vision for the business, its financial viability, brand management and contingency plans. You’ll also need to do the costing for your business to estimate the capital required for the restaurant’s initial investment and running needs.

3. Along with a business license, you‘ll require further permits to operate the business. Along with a trade license in Dubai and UAE from the Department of Economic Development (DED), free zone authority or Department of Tourism or Commerce, you are required to get a food license from the Food Safety Department. 

4. You must comply with the food code which is a comprehensive document that points out the requirements which a food establishment must follow. It is an effort by the government to ensure world-class food safety system for the residents and millions of people who visit the UAE.

opening a restaurant in dubai


Layout requirements for opening a restaurant in Dubai

A trade license is issued after authorities review your construction plan for the restaurant. While a food license entails a review of the layout plan for the restaurant interior – further licenses are required for specific additional permissions, like serving pork or liquor and/or offering delivery services.

  • In order to obtain a license, restaurant owners need to meet a minimum set of standards set by the Food Control Department. 
  • The restaurant area must be more than 750sq ft with a kitchen area that is at least 300sq ft to 380sq ft, depending on the presence of a tandoor oven. 
  • Food storage areas must be fitted with stainless steel shelves.
  • The washing area should accommodate separate basins for meat, fish, fruits, vegetables as well as dishes. 
  • A separate basin should be provided for handwashing. 
  • A chimney in the cooking area is a must. It must extend 2 metres higher than the nearest building. 
  • The restaurant’s wall, floor and roof should be washable, non-absorbent and fireproof.   

Decisive Zone provides solutions for a hassle-free restaurant business setup in Dubai and UAE.

Each of these steps must be taken with careful research and consideration in order to ensure that your dream of starting a restaurant in Dubai is realised.

We advise you on the finer details of correctly acquiring licenses for your restaurant.

We can provide an overview of the best locations in Dubai for the kind of eatery you wish to open.

Business setup consultants at Decisive Zone guide you draft a comprehensive business plan, get approvals for food license, trade license and ultimately help you in start your restaurant in Dubai.    


Contact us now at+971 4 581 3618 or [email protected] to book a free consultation with our business setup consultants.The UAE’s fast-food sector is expected to grow to $4.51 billion in 2022. Be a part of this surging mark.

About the author

Gaurav Rajyana | Operations Manager

Gaurav’s years of experience in the industry makes him one of the top experts in business operations and compliance. He makes sure that all client’s processes are seamless and on schedule.

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