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Opening a restaurant in Dubai free zone and across the UAE | Business Setup in Dubai

Opening a restaurant in Dubai free zone and across the UAE

Dubai is the ultimate hub for all things business setup. Not only is the city the go-to location for tourists around the globe, but also home to over 200 nationalities. Not to mention, the city is one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East.


This makes it the most ideal location to start a restaurant business in the UAE. Starting a restaurant in Dubai comes with its own set of rules and regulations. However, starting this business in free zone is a convenient and quick process. Furthermore, you will need to consider various factors before you obtain your restaurant license in Dubai.


Why start a restaurant in a free zone?

There is a common misconception that investors cannot open a restaurant in free zones. Although it isn’t possible in industrial areas, it is allowed in certain free zones that are also residential units.


There are three free zones that would allow you to obtain a restaurant license in the UAE. These jurisdictions that enable you to acquire a trade license for restaurants in the country include Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA), and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).


There is one main difference between mainland and free zone for starting this business. When it comes to mainland, you will need to obtain permission from the Department of Economic Development (DED). This means that the company can start its business anywhere on mainland.


On the other hand, free zone companies would only be able to conduct their business in the premises of the free zone. These premises being the jurisdiction that the company opened the company with.


Steps involved in starting a restaurant business in Dubai

Setting up a business in free zone is a quick and convenient process. It requires minimum paperwork and the process is as follows:


·        Selecting the preferred jurisdiction

The first step in starting your restaurant business is to select your preferred jurisdiction. As mentioned earlier, there are three free zones that permit you to open a restaurant. You can pick one depending on which available activities are the most suitable for your business.


·        Acquiring food & trading license as well as permits

The next step is to start the process and obtain your business license. You will be required to acquire your license through the free zone authority. Once this is complete, you need to get your restaurant plans approved by the food safety department and acquire your food license.


In order to ensure that your license remains valid, you must continue to adhere to the UAE food code. There may also be additional permits required such as liquor permit, pork permit as well as delivery permit.


·        Submit application forms and required documents

The next step is to submit your application form. During this process you will also have to submit a copy of your trade license along with information such as restaurant plans and storage areas.


·        Open a bank account

A free zone bank account would enable the investor to track their company’s expenses, calculate tax liabilities effortlessly, and regulate cash flow more effectively. It is important to find a bank that offers the solutions most suitable for your company. This is so that you would not need any additional assistance and your bank can be a one-stop solution for all your business’ financial needs.


Documents required to start a restaurant business

·         Copy of your trade license

·         Blueprint/layout of the restaurant (only applicable for certain free zones)

·         Additional permits that may have been acquired such as liquor permit

·         Passport copy of the investor

·         Visa copy of the investor

·         2 colored passport sized photographs

·         Business plan


There may be a requirement of additional documents depending on the free zone that you opt for.


Start your restaurant in free zone with Bizgate

If you want to obtain your trade license for a restaurant in Dubai, look no further. Bizgate will help you get started with your restaurant and ensure that the entire process runs smoothly.


Our goal is to help entrepreneurs build a foundation in the UAE’s thriving economy, from start to finish.


Our business expert advisors will guide you through the entire process — from registering your business, under cost of opening a restaurant in Dubai, and helping you understand the entire process.



To get in touch with our business expert advisors, call us or WhatsApp at +971 56 220 1709. 

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