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Do you want to Start a Small Cafeteria in Dubai? Follow Steps!

January 9, 2024by Kate Williams0

nowadays small and original businesses are very fashionable and have caught the attention of consumers. For this reason, many entrepreneurs have decided to invest in small but attractive businesses. It should recall that one of the most common is the cafeteria, if you are an entrepreneur and you have an interest in opening a business in Dubai this article on how to start your small cafeteria in Dubai is for you.

In this article, we will explain to you how to start a small cafeteria in Dubai.

1.  Are cafeterias considered good business in Dubai?

We know that one of the most stable businesses with a high percentage of profit is the food business because it is a basic human need. Establishments such as restaurants, cafeterias, and fast-food places that have good management, have very little chance of failure and in the case of the United Arab Emirates, it is the same. Here the income percentages for food businesses are quite favorable.

For this reason, many traders and entrepreneurs from different parts of the world come to UAE territory in search of a good investment opportunity and opt for restaurants or cafeterias as a business option. Please note that like any business opportunity in the United Arab Emirates, establishing your own cafeteria requires the fulfillment of a series of processes. Besides, you must have all the necessary documentation to make the business legal and Here you will find the steps to start a business in the UAE.

2.  How can you start your small cafeteria in Dubai?

If you are a business person and you are interested in starting your small cafeteria in Dubai you will be interested to know that despite the fact that there are many of them, the market is still active, which means, that both supply and demand are balanced. And taking into account the population growth in the UAE territory, the demand will continue to increase. In other words, it is a lucrative option.

This means that if you have a unique concept, you will get attention and attract an audience to the business. In fact, the best places to start your small cafeteria in Dubai are the tourist places that are located in Dubai although these might involve more money. However, residential areas with the recurring public are also a good place to set up.

So, if we managed to catch your attention and you want to know how to start your small cafeteria in Dubai, the first thing you should keep in mind is that you need to obtain the corresponding licenses.

start your small cafeteria in Dubai?

3. The process to start your own cafeteria in Dubai

3.1. Choose the name of the cafeteria:

To start your own cafeteria in Dubai the first thing you should do to avoid making mistakes during the application and avoid delays is to be clear about the description of the business activity you are going to perform. Such as the type of products you are going to sell if it will be gourmet and even if you will make home deliveries.

In addition, it is also important that you establish the name of the place. As in most countries, the UAE has certain rules when establishing the name of a business or product. So it is recommended to seek the help of experts who can guide you down the best path. In Connect Services Middle East we provide you with the necessary consultancy so you can establish your business in Dubai quickly and easily.

3.2. Obtain the licenses:

Once you have the basis to start your small cafeteria in Dubai you must obtain the licenses required by the State for the company to be legal. To illustrate, the first license is the trade license, which you must apply to Dubai’s DED, you must fill out some forms and meet a series of requirements for the DED to grant you the license.

Besides, the second is the food license which must comply with the food code. Also, you must apply for it at the Dubai Municipality Food Safety Department.

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3.3. Select the sponsor:

After you have complied with the licenses you must get a local sponsor to comply with the trade rules in the UAE.

3.4. Get approval for construction plans:

You should know that it is necessary to submit construction plans for the cafeteria showing storage areas, food processing areas, ventilation, and washing area, as well as all windows, entrances, and exits of the establishment. These in turn must comply with the guidelines of the Food Safety Department.

3.5. Choosing the perfect location for your cafeteria:

As mentioned above, the space where you decide to start your cafeteria in Dubai could influence its success, so we recommend that to make your choice you take into account the concept of the cafeteria and the type of audience you want to attract. Also, if you decide to rent a place you must sign the lease and obtain the Ejari of the place.

3.6. Application for the NOC Certificate:

Then, to continue you must apply for the No Objection Certificate.

3.7. Submit the documents:

Finally, submit all the documents to the DED so that they approve your trade license and you can start with the activities of your cafeteria in Dubai and also Learn how to renew your business license in Dubai

4. These are the documents you will need to set up your cafeteria in Dubai

As there are several types of documents, we have categorized them by process.

4.1 Documents for food license approval:

Approval was issued by the Department of Economic Development.

The layout design of the cafeteria facilities.

In case the cafeteria is located outside of a commercial center, you will need approval from the Planning Department.

4.2. Information and documentation for the store plan:

Firstly, the detail of the food processing and storage spaces.

Secondly, ventilation system plans.

Thirdly, the location of restrooms.

Also, washing area space.

And the location of the equipment to be used to prepare the food.

Finally, detail of entrances, exits, emergency exits, and windows.

4.3. Documents for business license approval:

A letter of approval certified by the Department of Economic Development of the business name.

The application for the license, which must be signed by the representatives of the company.

You must submit a Memorandum of Association.

Copy of the passports of the shareholders or representatives of the company.

5.  Food safety to start your small cafeteria in Dubai

Although the food sector is one of the most stable and safe to start a business, there are several requirements that you must meet for your cafeteria to be approved. Among the most important is Food Safety, with which you can ensure safety and health to consumers. The following are some requirements:

The license for the delivery or shipment of food.

A permit that the vehicles must have to transport the merchandise.

The premises must be at least 50 meters away from a place of waste.

If you want to serve pork products, you must obtain a pork handling permit.

You must keep clean the surroundings of the cafeteria.

6.  Location requirements to start your cafeteria in Dubai

As mentioned above the location of the cafeteria influences the development of the business. Even there are some requirements that you must follow for the Department of Economic Development to approve your cafeteria. These are:

The establishment where the cafeteria will be located must have the necessary space to adequately store the food and all the equipment to prepare the food.

The premises must have a space and system for the elimination of waste, dirt, and smoke.

The facility must have a plan to prevent access by pests.

The premises, as a whole, with floors, walls and ceiling must be washable.

The facility should have sufficient space so that restrooms are not near the kitchen or storage area.

You must install smoke detectors, a fire alarm system, and an adequate number of fire extinguishers depending on the space.

There should be separate areas for the kitchen, washing area, meat handling area, vegetable handling area, and utensil area.

7.  What if you want to add shareholders to your cafeteria or get a professional license?

Usually, when an entrepreneur wants to add shareholders to his company the structure he chooses is the LLC which has as the main requirement to get a sponsor, who has UAE nationality, to be a partner of the company. On the other hand, there is the option of the business license for an individual shareholder, to obtain it the following requirements must be met:

At least five names must be proposed.

You must submit a copy of the shareholder’s passport.

For UAE residents, a copy of the ID.

The sponsor must provide a Letter of No Objection on company letterhead, signature, and stamp.

The floor plan of the facility.

also, you should See the types of business licenses in Dubai.

8.  What activities can you perform after starting your own cafeteria in Dubai?

Once the DED approves your cafeteria in Dubai you will be able to carry out activities inherent to the license such as:

Prepare food such as cookies, cakes, pastries, pasta, sandwiches, brownies, and even sausages, of course, this will depend on the type of concept that the cafeteria has.

Selling snacks, coffee, tea, or drinks of any kind, we advise you to consult with an expert on the limitations of your license.

Also, you can sell ready-made and packaged products, such as chocolates, candies, snacks, and cookies.

It is worth mentioning that the best thing to do is to look for specialized advice that can guide you and show you the activities that fit perfectly with the license to start your cafeteria in Dubai.

start your small cafeteria in UAE

9.  How much does it cost to start a small cafeteria in Dubai?

Like any business, starting a small cafeteria in Dubai also requires good capital to cover everything that starting a business means, such as renting or buying the premises, equipment, planning, paperwork for approvals, furniture, supplies, staff, and more.

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Then it is necessary to have a well-structured budget with every expense, whether it is certifications, rent, or any purchase for the operation of the cafeteria. It is worth bearing in mind that prices can vary by many factors, below we will mention some of the costs that may be incurred at the time you decide to start a small cafeteria in Dubai:

Fees for business approval.

Notarization fees for the Memorandum of Association.

Memorandum of Association.

Business license, Ejari, immigration card, sponsorship card, and business name reservation fees.

Also, license renewal fees (where applicable).

It is important for investors to keep in mind that the total start-up costs for a small cafeteria in Dubai will depend on the plan and concept they have for the cafeteria. At Connect Services Middle East we can help you through the process of managing budgets, obtaining licenses and more, so that you can start your small cafeteria in Dubai faster and without mistakes.

10. Find professional consultancy with Connect Services Middle East

If you are interested in the article and want to start a small cafeteria in Dubai, contact us, we will provide you with the help you need to start your business in Dubai. At Connect Services Middle East we can help you to manage your Visa, get your licenses, prepare you to set up your business, if you want to set up offshore companies or free zone companies we can explain you and walk you through the process, all of this guaranteeing an efficient and successful outcome and also Learn about Offshore Companies in UAE

Would you like to contact Connect Middle East to learn more about starting a small cafeteria in Dubai? You can contact us at any time if you would like to request our services by calling us at +97143799111. In addition, you can email us at or you can check our website for more information. Contact us for enquiry regarding Company Formation in Dubai     |     PRO Services in Dubai    |   Business Setup in Dubai 

Kate Williams

Kate is the Global Strategy Director at Connect Group. She is specialized in business setup in dubai , international business expansion and employee relocation. She studied in Southampton (United Kingdom) and moved to the UAE in 2014.

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