Enquire Now

Step by step process to get a restaurant license in Dubai

Entrepreneurs with a culinary interest will find themselves in good company in Dubai. The vibrant city is currently home to the second-highest number of restaurants (2,935 food and beverage outlets) per million residents, and these eateries are making good bank.

The latest reports estimate that the UAE restaurant industry’s earnings will surge to $29.3 billion by 2020. Don’t you want to be a part of this surging market? If so here is a guide to obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai.


How to get a restaurant license in Dubai?

In order to capitalise 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 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 do 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. So, 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. It is a comprehensive document that points out the requirements which a food establishment must follow. It is an effort by the government to ensure the world-class food safety system for the residents and millions of people who visit the emirate.

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. Remember 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, and 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 provide 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 opening 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 can guide you in drafting a comprehensive business plan, getting approvals for food license, trade license and ultimately help you in opening a restaurant in Dubai.    


Contact us now to book a free consultation with our business setup consultants.

About the author:
Bob Natividad | Operations Manager

Bob Natividad | Operations Manager

Bob’s years of experience in the industry makes him one of the top experts in business operations and compliance.
Share this article
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Ask us a question

Related topics

Close Menu

Enquire now