With the UAE coffee shop market booming, there’s never been a better time to open your own coffee shop. According to the Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector in the Department of Economic Development, DED Dubai, two restaurants and one coffee shop open daily in Dubai. During the first three months of 2019 alone, nearly 500 outlets (operational restaurants and cafes) have been opened in the emirate.
It’s no surprise that café culture is flourishing in the UAE. Firstly, coffee culture is a savoring tradition in the UAE. It is a symbol of hospitality at palaces, homes, social gatherings and celebrations. Secondly, there are continuous government expenditures on domestic construction and development projects so due to entry of new hotels, shopping malls, theme parks and other infrastructure projects, entrepreneurs are setting up coffee shops there.
Also, upcoming Expo 2020 and the economic diversification plans are overall benefitting food and beverage industry in the UAE.
These statistics instill that entrepreneurs in the UAE have a great business opportunity to capitalize on i.e. to open a cafeteria in Dubai.
Our following guide explains the 8 steps on how to secure cafeteria license in Dubai.
Step 1: Secure Food and Trade License
The first step in starting your café business in Dubai is securing food and trade licenses. You can acquire food license through Food and Safety department while trade license is acquired from DED and Department of Tourism and commerce Marketing.
If you plan to offer something extra in your menu there is a number of special licenses you can apply for in Dubai such as a delivery permit, liquor permit, pork permit, Ramadan permit and more.
Step 2: Get Approval on Construction Plans
Be thorough with the requirements of food and safety department and get approval on construction plans.
- Food consignment release license
- Pork permit for handling and serving pork products
- Vehicle permit for transporting food products
Step 3: Select your Best Location
Location is everything when you are starting a restaurant or cafeteria business in Dubai. Apart from your menu, location will spot the difference between your cafe success and your doom.
Go for an accessible area for your cafeteria with plenty of parking space and high footfall. Visibility is the key. Take time to choose the right location for your cafeteria. Check whether the location is near commercial and residential places. Does it attract crowds, does it suit your budget and does it provide your business the potential for growth? These factors are crucial which need to be taken under serious consideration when selecting your business space.
The best option for your café location would be to go for business setup in Dubai mainland.
Also Read: How to open a restaurant in Dubai
Step 4: Sign a tenancy contract with the landlord
Negotiating for a realistic rent and occupancy cost matters a lot. Signing a tenancy contract with your landlord serves as a supporting document to secure the cafeteria license in Dubai.
Step 5: Select a local sponsor
Setting up your cafeteria in Dubai mainland or onshore requires a local sponsor (UAE National) who acts as sleeping partner for your company. Sign an agreement with your local partner at notary public court.
According to UAE Companies law and Civil law, an LLC company owner is required to nominate the local sponsor with 51% minimum of equity sharing.
For a smooth start of your cafeteria business, read more on Dubai Company formation Guide.
Step 6: Submit All Documents to Department of Economic Development
The last step for you application for obtaining cafeteria license in Dubai is submission of required documents to DED Dubai. After getting the required approvals, hold back for a while and let DED and Dubai Municipality work on getting you a license within a week.
Step 7: No Objection Certificate
Apply for a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) on food product establishment trade license from the Food Safety Department in Dubai.
Step 8: Register with Ministry of Labor and Immigration
Once you have acquired your license, you can register it with the Ministry of Labor and the Immigration Department in order to apply for visas for workers who are required to run your cafeteria.
Documents Required to Obtain a Cafeteria License in Dubai
For blueprints of the restaurant:
- food processing and storage space
- sanitary spaces such as restrooms
- windows and ventilation system
- location of the equipment used to process the food
- entry and exit passages
- location of the washing machines
For food license approval from the Food & Safety Department:
- the initial approval issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED)
- the layout of the premises
- approval from the Planning Department, if the restaurant is planned to be located outside a shopping center
For trade license approval from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing:
- signed license application (signed by the company managers or their legal representatives)
- Memorandum of Association (MOA)
- attested company name approval letter from the DED
- Management partners passport copy