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How to start a catering business in Dubai, UAE? | Business Setup in Dubai

How to start a catering business in Dubai, UAE?

Dubai – the mighty cosmopolitan, is known for its large variety of cuisines. It is home to world-famous delicacies like Manousheh, Iranian Sangak, Oozie, Mahalabiya, and more. The list can go on and on. This makes opening a catering business in Dubai a highly lucrative entrepreneurial opportunity. 


Besides its food, the cosmopolitan is well-recognized for its weddings and events. As a result, the demand for good catering companies in Dubai that can offer a variety of delicacies is high. If the reports are to be believed, the UAE food service market will grow at a 6.8% CAGR from 2022 to 2027. So if you wish to start  a catering business in Dubai, the time is now! 


Factors to keep in mind before starting a catering business

Like any other industry, a catering business requires careful planning & organization. It’s not a one-man show. It takes the efforts of a cohesive team working seamlessly together to excel & grow in this line of business.


Furthermore, you will need to follow specific rules and regulations depending on the type of catering activity you choose. As a result, you must consider certain factors before you start your application process.


The following are some of them:


1. Target Audience

Who will you cater to? Catering companies need to ensure that the food they conjure appeals to their target audience. Also, the nature of the event (public, corporate, private, etc.) will alter the menu. Determining and narrowing down the audience is pertinent since it will help you shape many other things. For instance, your menu or the food you offer.


2. Accepting Orders

Once you start your catering business, how will you accept orders? Will they be over telephones, walk-in, or online? If you decide to take orders online like an online food business in Dubai, you will also have to bear the additional costs of developing an app or a website. However, if you adopt the walk-in method, you will need a physical office space. Furthermore, you will need a food delivery license in Dubai if you want to offer delivery services.


3. What’s Your USP?

How will you differentiate yourself from other catering services in Dubai? What is your road map to position yourself uniquely in the market to attract more customers? You may need to apply for extra permits for certain activities.


What is the step-by-step process to get a Catering Business License in Dubai?

The process to obtain a catering business license in Dubai is similar to that of other food businesses, with a few exceptions. The following is a general overview of the process:


Documents required

Every business setup requires you to submit authentic, relevant documents to the concerned authorities. Among the many documents you will have to submit: 


·        Passport size photographs 

·        Stakeholder’s passport copies

·        Entry Visa or stamp page copies


You will have to submit additional documents to get a clearance. Experts at Bizgate can help you with a detailed list of documents. They will also ensure that your documentation is correct to avoid any mishaps or delays in the process.


Catering business costs

The cost of a catering license in Dubai can be a one-time investment with lucrative profits if you have the right business plan for growth. It is important to note that several factors determine the cost of a catering business license and setup. These costs include license fees, location, and others. As a result, revealing the exact cost is impossible. However, as an estimate, a catering license can cost you anywhere from AED 12,000- AED 15,000 (T & C Apply).


Business setup process

1. Narrow down your business activity

The catering business has several sub-sectors. As a result, deciding what you want to offer to your clients is essential.


2. Select a location

Decide where you will be carrying out your catering activities from. Depending on your location choice, you will have to apply to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) or the respective free zone authority.


3. Decide your company name

The UAE is very strict with its naming rules. Although different business activities have specific naming rules, some of them apply to all. For starters, your business name should reflect the activity. Also, you cannot use foul words or the name of god.

Bizgate experts can assist you in the naming process, ensuring the name you choose abides with the law and is available for registration.


4. Choose a company structure

Once you have selected a company name, choose an appropriate company structure. Your company structure will determine the amount of control you have over the business with the responsibilities.


5. Apply for the trade license

Once you have registered your name and decided on the company structure, you can apply for a catering license in Dubai. You will primarily need a professional license for this business activity. Also, require a license if you need to import a few items for your business.


Remember, you have to present your business idea to the authorities. Your business plan must include the floor plan, entrance and exit details, windows and ventilation, and storage areas. Furthermore, it should have information on the equipment you will use for processing and cleaning. In short, keep your blueprint and a detailed business plan ready with other relevant documents for the application. You must also ensure that you meet all the necessary regulations in the UAE’s ‘Food Code.’


Finally, you also need a permit from the food control department. You have to submit documents like employee health cards, trade license copy, No objection certificate (NOC), lab and test reports, and more.


6. Rent a Kitchen

You will need a dedicated space for cooking food and storing items. For this, you have to rent or lease a space. Consider the business size, audience, item requirements, equipment, and more. You need to sign into a tenancy agreement and register with Ejari.


7. Open a Bank Account

Like other businesses, you will need a corporate bank account to receive payments. Experts at Bizgate Business Setup can make creating a business account easier. Additionally, they will handle the paperwork and other issues on your behalf.


Please note that you also need to apply for visas for your family and yourself. Furthermore, if you are recruiting workers from outside the nation, you might need to sponsor their visas as an employer.


Start your catering business with Bizgate

Although getting a catering license in Dubai is relatively straightforward, getting professional help won’t hurt. Experts from Bizgate are fully knowledgeable about opening a business in Dubai and securing the necessary licenses. They will handle all the requirements, permissions, and paperwork on your behalf. All you need to do is contact them.


For more information, call or whatsapp us at +971 56 220 1709. You can also drop an email at and get answers to all your queries




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