What is Cafeteria License in UAE?

03Mar, 22

What is Cafeteria License in UAE?

Without a doubt, the UAE has one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East. Investors from all over the world are looking for ways to enter the UAE market. The restaurant industry, in particular, has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. According to Euro monitor International, an additional 19,000 outlets are expected to open in Dubai by 2019, giving investors yet another reason to invest in the food and beverage sector there. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have seen a diverse range of customers from all over the world. The government is strongly supportive, offering attractive incentives for establishing a restaurant/cafeteria business in Dubai.

Entering the food industry is not an easy task, especially when there is a lot of competition. The simplest way to get started is to open a small cafeteria in Dubai. The most significant advantage is that Dubai has always been supportive of international players in the market, ensuring their success.

What is a Cafeteria License?

If you want to open a cafeteria in Dubai, you must first obtain a cafeteria licence. It is a food licence issued by the Dubai Economic Department that is required to have or your business will face legal action.

Here are the necessary details about the legal structure of a cafeteria licence:

Name of the License: Cafeteria License

Activity Group: Restaurants and Coffee Shops

Type of licence: Professional

License Types in Dubai

Before delving into the process of opening a cafeteria in Dubai, it's important to understand the various types of licenses available.

There are three licenses that can be obtained in total. Here's how it works

Commercial Permit

This type of licence is granted to a business or individual who will engage in trading activities.

Industrial Permit

It is necessary to obtain an Industrial License before engaging in manufacturing activities.

Professional Certification

  • This licence is given to service providers, artisans, and/or craftspeople.
  • The cafeteria licence falls under the category of professional licence.

How Do You Obtain a Cafeteria License in Dubai?

Obtaining food and trade licenses is an important step if you plan to open a restaurant or cafeteria in Dubai. The Food and Safety Department will issue a food licence, and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai will issue a trade licence. Obtaining a licence is a critical process; skipping necessary steps may expose your company to legal fines and closure. Let us now go over the procedures for obtaining a cafeteria licence in Dubai.

Process to Obtain a Cafeteria License in Dubai

  • The first step is to obtain from the appropriate authorities a trade licence and a food licence.
  • Choose a local sponsor who will act as a sleeping partner for your company.
  • Obtain approval for construction plans that must be completed in accordance with the Food and Safety Department's specifications.
  • If you are renting a space for your cafeteria, find a suitable location and sign a tenancy agreement with the landlord.
  • At the notary public court, sign an agreement with your partner.
  • All documents must be submitted to the Department of Economic Development (DED) Apply to the Food Safety Department for a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) on a food product establishment trade licence.
  • After receiving approval from the DED and Dubai Municipality, they will issue you a licence within a week.
  • Only after you have obtained the licence can you register it with the Ministry of Labor and the Immigration Department in order to apply for visas for workers needed to operate your cafe.

Documents Required in Dubai to Obtain a Cafeteria License

For restaurant blueprints

  • The area designated for food processing and storage
  • Restrooms and other sanitary areas
  • The windows and ventilation system
  • The location of the food processing equipment the entry and exit passages
  • The location of the washers and dryers

For Food & Safety Department Approval of a Food Licence

  • The Department of Economic Development's initial approval (DED)
  • If the restaurant is to be located outside of a shopping centre,
  •  The Planning Department must approve the layout of the premises.

For approval of a trade licence from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

  • a licence application signed by the company's executives or legal representatives
  • a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA)
  • the DED's attested approval letter for the company name
  • management partners' passport copies

Food Safety Requirements for Establishing a Cafeteria in Dubai

The cafeteria must obtain licenses such as the following to ensure food safety

  • A licence for food consignment release
  • A pork permit for handling and serving pork products
  • A permit to transport food products in a vehicle

The government also imposes a special regulation on food import/export. Furthermore, the restaurant must be located at least 50 meters away from waste disposal facilities, as this could lead to food contamination. At all times, at least 10 meters around the restaurant should be kept clean. The cost of a cafeteria licence in Dubai ranges between AED 140,000 and AED 200,000. The DED can renew trade licenses in Dubai on a yearly basis.

Location Requirements for Opening a Cafeteria in Dubai

  • First and foremost, the location chosen for the cafeteria must be appropriate, with enough space to store all of the equipment needed to prepare the food.
  • There must be sufficient space for the disposal of dirt and the evacuation of smoke.
  • Pests must not be able to enter the building.
  • Toilets and storage must be kept separate from the kitchen.
  • Washable, non-absorbent, and fireproof walls, floor, and roof are required.
  • There should be a basin for washing utensils, another for cleaning vegetables, and another for meat.


Cafeterias are a difficult venture due to the high level of competition, but with proper planning and execution, opening and running a cafeteria in Dubai can be a highly profitable business. There are many investors looking to invest in this sector, so if you want to start a cafeteria business, now is the time. Contact Dhanguard if you need any assistance or advice on starting a cafeteria business in Dubai.