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Dubai Food Business Start-Up Guide

Dubai attracts around 4.7 million tourists each year, is a fantastic place to launch a restaurant. Dubai is quickly becoming one of the top worldwide food destinations, and if done correctly, opening a restaurant in Dubai may be incredibly profitable.

Before opening a restaurant in Dubai, you must meet certain business standards, just as you would in any other city. This article will walk you through the full process of opening a restaurant in the United Arab Emirates Persian Gulf Coast.

How To Open A Restaurant In Dubai

Every eatery in Dubai, whether it’s a fine dining restaurant, cafe, or bakery, must follow a strict food code. This food code is intended to make it easier for the person in charge of running the restaurant to follow the rules.

When considering opening a restaurant, there are several factors to consider, which we have compiled into a detailed list. This list will assist you in opening the restaurant of your dreams in Dubai’s opulent city.

1. Factors to Think About Before Opening A Restaurant

Because starting a restaurant needs a significant financial investment, you should make a list of those costs before getting started to avoid squandering money on unneeded items or going overboard and spending more than is necessary.

Any restaurant owner must have a rough concept of the costs that will be incurred ahead of time. Before operating a restaurant, consider the following costs:

  • License
  • Rent or expense of buying a new property
  • Permissions
  • Staff training program
  • Software for daily operations
  • Insurance
  • Working capital
  • Cost of setting up the restaurant – equipment, tables, chairs, etc.

These are some of the early expenses you’ll need to consider while starting a restaurant.

2. Obtaining a license for the establishment of a restaurant in Dubai

Even before you decide to secure a time slot in your preferred location, you must first obtain all of the essential permits to start a restaurant.

To build a restaurant in Dubai, you will need to obtain one of two types of licenses:

  • Trade license
  • Food license

(i) Trade License

The Trade License is issued by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. You must specify the type of restaurant you intend to open, as this information must be included in the license.

Depending on numerous circumstances, such as the sort of restaurant you own and operate, a Trade License could cost you AED30,000 to AED40,000.

The following are the steps to obtaining a Trade License to start a restaurant in Dubai:

  • Determine the nature of the enterprise – commercial, professional, or industrial
  • Identify the corporate activities that the company is engaged in (maximum of 10 activities per license)
  • Designate a legal status for your enterprise in the UAE
  • Select and register a trading name for your company
  • Submit an application for initial approval
  • Lease a corporate office
  • Prepare all the pertinent documents
  • Submit a further application to the DED for the final approval

(ii) Food License

In Dubai, the Food Safety Department is in charge of issuing the food license. You’ll need this license after you’ve obtained your Trade License in order to get approval for your restaurant’s development plan.

To obtain a food license, the following documents must be presented to the food safety department:

(a) A copy of the trade license or principal authorization from the issuing authority

(b) If relevant, the interior design arrangement of the premises. This is essentially your restaurant’s blueprint. The following items must be included in this restaurant blueprint:

  • The entry and exit passages
  • Space for processing food
  • Area for storing food
  • The windows and ventilation system
  • Location of food equipment that will be used to prepare the food
  • Dishwashers, and other supportive equipment

Apart from these, the restaurant is also required to obtain the following licenses:

  • Food consignment release license
  • Pork permit for handling and serving pork products
  • Vehicle permit for transporting food products
  • Liquor License (if you are planning to serve liquor at your restaurant)

3. Establishing Your Restaurant's Concept and Unique Selling Proposition

When it comes to launching a restaurant, you must have a distinct concept in mind, something that will set you apart from your competitors. This will provide you an advantage in the competitive restaurant market in Dubai.

The service style of your restaurant, the food you provide, and the environment of your restaurant are all part of your restaurant concept.

Another thing to think about is identifying your restaurant’s unique selling proposition. It will help to attract a large number of clients if you have an uncommon theme or present an inventive menu item. As a result, try something you’ve never tried before!

4. Choosing a Location

The fact that Dubai is home to over 200 nationalities broadens the possibility for restaurant owners, allowing them to serve a variety of clientele based on the type of restaurant they operate. Before you pick a location, make sure you do some study on it and its demographics to check if it has enough foot traffic to support your restaurant.

The location of your restaurant is extremely important in determining whether or not it will be a hit or miss with Emiratis and visitors.

Consider the following factors while deciding on a location:

Visibility– It is critical to locate your restaurant in a prominent place. Make sure there’s a lot of foot traffic and that your restaurant’s sign is visible.

Accessibility– Having your business in an accessible area makes a tremendous difference. Because of the ease with which consumers may reach your restaurant, they are more inclined to return.

Customer Base– You must first determine your target audience before choosing a place that is appropriate for that demographic.

Affordability– If your rent is high, you may struggle to make a profit on certain foods. Based on the past pattern, do some research to see if the lease has a probability of soaring.

Proximity to Suppliers– Shipping charges might often exceed the cost of the raw supplies. You must determine where you will obtain all of the raw materials required for cooking, as well as how far your restaurant is from the source.

Some of the best locations to open your restaurant in Dubai are:

  • Jumeirah
  • Emirates Hills
  • Dubai Creek
  • Mall of the Emirates
  • Al Quoz

Depending on the type of restaurant you want to open, you can choose a location. For example, if you want to create a fine dining restaurant, Jumeirah Beach Road would be a great place to start because it is a wealthy neighborhood.

5. Designing The Menu

Before you open the doors to your restaurant, you must curate the menu and decide what will be on it. You must also properly construct your menu, selecting and pricing menu items to cover your Prime Cost, which comprises both the Cost of Goods Sold and the Labor Costs.

You should also carefully create your menu so that your consumers are enticed to order the high-profit goods. This can be accomplished by placing high-profit items in high-traffic areas and crafting enticing menu descriptions.

Your menu does not need to be totally developed at first, and your recipes do not need to be completely fleshed out. As you learn more about which foods sell well and which do not, you may progressively update the menu.

6. Designing The Restaurant Layout

Creating a restaurant plan can be intimidating, but it is a necessary step when opening a restaurant. The layout of your restaurant has a huge impact on its day-to-day operations. It will support your restaurant’s everyday operations by offering adequate space to move around freely, as well as assisting in making a positive impression on your clients by ensuring that all activities are completed quickly.

You’ll want to think about how you can structure your entire layout to achieve the objectives set forth in your menu and theme.

Use the given space wisely and strategically put all of the pieces. To ensure optimal usage of the area without obstructing everyday activities, it is critical to examine and properly place everything from the tables to the kitchen equipment.

You can customize and decorate your dining area once you’ve established the basic arrangement.

7. Investing In The Right Technology

You can’t ignore the role of technology in today’s tech-savvy environment. When opening a restaurant, it’s critical to invest in a reliable POS system that will make your life easier in the long term.

You are expected to be present everywhere as a restaurant owner, supervising multiple departments, but this is a physically demanding and practically impossible duty. If you want to keep an eye on everyday operations, you’ll need to use technology.

A POS system would allow you to accomplish a variety of daily chores, such as those listed below.

Billing: A competent POS system can handle billing efficiently. Billing is one of the most important aspects of any restaurant, therefore you can count on a POS system to eliminate any mistakes. It can also assist you in determining the customer’s preferred method of payment and developing offers based on that information.

Order Pushing: POS systems allow you to send orders directly to the kitchen, avoiding delays and misunderstandings.

Stock and Inventory Management: Using a POS, keep track of your inventory levels. You can find out how much raw material is needed or how much is currently available. Inventory management is critical for anyone just starting out in the restaurant industry since it allows you to manage your capital effectively and avoid losses.

Obtain Reliable Reports: Using a POS system, you may acquire real-time reports and examine them on the fly, eliminating the need to be present at all times.

Marketing: A POS system allows you to reach out to your consumers and help market your business to them by sending emails, SMS, and other forms of communication. A POS system can also be used to run loyalty programs.

All of these features will assist you in seamlessly managing the day-to-day activities at your restaurant, which is essential if you want to build a name for yourself in Dubai’s food and beverage market.

8. Hiring Qualified Employees

It is critical to hire the greatest personnel because having competent employees is a clear indicator of a reputable restaurant and the best service. Because the restaurant sector in the Gulf region has a high turnover rate, it’s critical to hire people who will stick around and help your restaurant thrive.

You should think about the various positions you want to hire people for before you start hiring.

  • Sous chef
  • Prep cooks
  • Manager
  • Servers
  • Bartenders (if you wish to serve alcohol)
  • Host
  • Cleaning staff

These are some of the most fundamental staffing criteria for all restaurants that you’ll need to meet before you open your doors. You can begin with a small number of employees and add more as and when the demand arises.

Opening a restaurant may appear to be a difficult endeavor at first, but it may be rewarding if done correctly. Dubai is a fantastic place for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their businesses because it offers so many options. There is always a place for another outstanding eatery in the Gulf, as the restaurant sector continues to flourish and foodservice trends diversify.