Restaurant License Cost in Dubai [2024 Guide]

Opening a restaurant in Dubai is an exciting venture, but it requires navigating through various regulatory requirements, including obtaining the necessary licenses. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on the costs associated with acquiring a restaurant license in Dubai. We will explore the different types of licenses available, the detailed costs involved, the steps needed to secure a license, potential hidden fees, and tips for minimizing expenses.

By the end of this article, prospective restaurant owners will have a clear understanding of the financial commitments required to legally operate a restaurant in this vibrant city.

Cost of a restaurant license in Dubai

The initial cost for obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai generally ranges between AED 10,000 to AED 12,000. This fee includes the cost of initial approvals, trade name registration, and the actual license issuance. It’s important to note that this is a rough estimate and the final cost may vary depending on specific requirements and the type of restaurant you plan to open.

Additional costs to consider

Beyond the basic licensing fees, several additional costs must be accounted for. These can include expenses for health and safety inspections, municipality approvals, and fees for obtaining a food license from the Dubai Municipality. Depending on the restaurant’s size and location, these additional costs can add significantly to the total expenditure.

Variations in cost based on restaurant size and scale

The cost of a restaurant license in Dubai can also vary greatly depending on the size and scale of your establishment. A small café or fast-food outlet might incur lower fees compared to a large fine-dining restaurant. Factors such as seating capacity, location (e.g., within a mall, hotel, or standalone building), and the type of cuisine offered can influence the overall cost.

In the next section, we will delve into the different types of restaurant licenses available in Dubai and the specific costs associated with each type.

Types of restaurant licenses in Dubai

In Dubai, there are several types of restaurant licenses available, each tailored to different kinds of food establishments. This section will outline the various license types, their specific requirements, and the associated costs to help you determine which license is best suited for your business.

Cafe license

A cafe license is ideal for small to medium-sized establishments that primarily serve beverages, light snacks, and baked goods. The cost for a cafe license typically ranges from AED 10,000 to AED 15,000. This license requires compliance with specific health and safety standards, as well as approvals from relevant municipal authorities.

Fine dining license

A fine dining license is designed for high-end restaurants offering a full-service dining experience with a diverse menu. The cost for this type of license can be significantly higher, ranging from AED 20,000 to AED 50,000 or more, depending on the location and scale of the restaurant. Additional requirements include stringent health inspections and higher standards for kitchen facilities and staff qualifications.

Fast food license

Fast food outlets, which focus on quick service and take-away options, require a fast food license. The cost for this license is generally lower, ranging from AED 10,000 to AED 20,000. These establishments must meet basic health and safety regulations and obtain approval from the Dubai Municipality.

Specialty restaurant license

For restaurants that specialize in specific cuisines or unique dining experiences, a specialty restaurant license is required. The cost for this license varies widely, typically ranging from AED 15,000 to AED 30,000. The specific requirements and costs depend on the type of cuisine and the unique features of the restaurant.

Factors influencing the choice of license

The choice of restaurant license depends on several factors, including the type of cuisine, the dining experience you wish to offer, the location of your restaurant, and your target market. It is crucial to carefully assess these factors to select the most appropriate license for your business needs.

In the next section, we will discuss the detailed steps required to obtain a restaurant license in Dubai, including the necessary documents and approvals.

Steps to obtain a restaurant license

Obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai involves a series of well-defined steps, each requiring specific documentation and approvals. This section will guide you through the process to ensure a smooth and efficient licensing experience.

Initial approvals

The first step in obtaining a restaurant license is securing initial approvals from the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). This includes:

  • Reserving a trade name for your restaurant
  • Obtaining initial approval for your business activities
  • Submitting a detailed business plan

These approvals ensure that your restaurant concept aligns with local regulations and standards.

Location and tenancy contract

Securing an appropriate location for your restaurant is crucial. You will need to:

  • Select a suitable location that complies with zoning regulations
  • Sign a tenancy contract with the landlord
  • Obtain Ejari registration for the tenancy contract

The location must meet specific criteria set by the Dubai Municipality, including health and safety standards.

Health and safety inspections

Before issuing the final license, your restaurant must pass several health and safety inspections. This includes:

  • Ensuring that the kitchen and dining areas comply with hygiene standards
  • Installing appropriate ventilation and fire safety systems
  • Submitting a floor plan for approval by the Dubai Municipality

These inspections are critical to ensure that your restaurant operates safely and hygienically.

Food license from Dubai Municipality

In addition to the restaurant license, you must obtain a food license from the Dubai Municipality. This involves:

  • Submitting the approved floor plan
  • Providing details of your food handling and storage procedures
  • Passing the food safety inspection

The food license is essential for legally serving food to customers.

Final license issuance

Once all the required approvals and inspections are completed, you can apply for the final issuance of your restaurant license. This includes:

  • Submitting all the approved documents to the DED
  • Paying the final licensing fee
  • Receiving the official restaurant license

With the final license in hand, you are legally allowed to commence operations.

In the next section, we will explore the potential hidden costs and additional fees that may arise during the licensing process.

Hidden costs and additional fees

While the primary costs of obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai are straightforward, several hidden costs and additional fees can arise during the process. This section will outline these potential expenses to help you budget accurately and avoid unexpected financial burdens.

Trade name reservation fee

Reserving a trade name with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) involves a fee, typically ranging from AED 600 to AED 2,000, depending on the uniqueness and type of name chosen. This fee is often overlooked but is essential for securing your restaurant’s identity.

Local service agent fee

If you are a foreign investor, you may need to appoint a local service agent (LSA) to comply with UAE business regulations. The LSA fee can vary widely, typically between AED 5,000 and AED 15,000 annually, depending on the agreement with the agent.

Municipality fees

Dubai Municipality charges several fees for various approvals and inspections, including:

  • Health and safety inspections: AED 1,000 to AED 2,500
  • Food license issuance: AED 10,000 to AED 12,000
  • Approval of the restaurant floor plan: AED 500 to AED 1,000

These fees are necessary to ensure your restaurant meets all municipal regulations and standards.

Marketing and signage permits

Obtaining permits for marketing activities and installing signage can also incur additional costs. Fees for marketing permits can range from AED 2,000 to AED 5,000, while signage permits might cost between AED 1,000 and AED 3,000, depending on the size and type of signage.

Utilities and connection fees

Setting up utilities such as electricity, water, and gas involves connection fees, which can range from AED 5,000 to AED 20,000, depending on the location and requirements of your restaurant. It’s crucial to account for these costs in your budget to avoid any delays in opening your restaurant.

Interior fit-out and equipment costs

While not directly related to the licensing process, the cost of fitting out your restaurant and purchasing necessary equipment can be significant. These costs can vary widely based on the size, design, and concept of your restaurant, typically ranging from AED 100,000 to AED 500,000 or more.

In the next section, we will provide tips for reducing costs during the licensing process and offer strategies to help you manage your budget effectively.

Tips for reducing costs

Navigating the restaurant licensing process in Dubai can be expensive, but there are strategies to help minimize these costs. This section provides practical tips to help you reduce expenses and manage your budget more effectively.

Thorough planning and budgeting

Before starting the licensing process, create a detailed business plan and budget. This should include all potential costs, from licensing fees to interior fit-out expenses. Thorough planning can help identify areas where you can cut costs and avoid unexpected financial surprises.

Choose an appropriate location

Selecting the right location can significantly impact your expenses. Opt for a location that meets regulatory requirements but doesn’t incur excessive rental costs. Consider areas with lower rental rates that still attract your target market. Additionally, ensure the chosen location has the necessary infrastructure to avoid costly modifications.

Negotiate with suppliers and contractors

When sourcing materials and services for your restaurant, always negotiate for the best prices. Obtain multiple quotes from suppliers and contractors to compare costs. Building strong relationships with local vendors can also lead to better deals and discounts over time.

Utilize local expertise

Consult with local business advisors or experts who understand the Dubai restaurant market and regulatory landscape. Their insights can help you navigate the licensing process more efficiently and avoid common pitfalls that could lead to additional expenses.

Consider shared spaces

If you’re starting on a smaller scale, consider using shared kitchen spaces or co-working spaces for restaurants. These options can reduce initial setup costs and provide a lower-risk environment to test your restaurant concept before committing to a larger investment.

Apply for relevant incentives and grants

Dubai offers various incentives and grants for businesses in the food and beverage sector. Research and apply for any available financial support programs that can offset some of your initial costs. Staying informed about government initiatives can provide valuable financial relief.

Invest in quality from the start

While it might seem counterintuitive, investing in high-quality equipment and materials from the beginning can save money in the long run. Durable and efficient equipment reduces maintenance costs and the need for frequent replacements, ensuring smoother operations and cost savings over time.

In the next section, we will summarize the key points discussed and provide final thoughts on managing the costs of obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai for long-term success.


Obtaining a restaurant license in Dubai involves various costs and detailed planning. By understanding the different types of licenses, necessary steps, and potential hidden fees, you can manage expenses effectively. Thorough planning, strategic location selection, and seeking professional advice are key to minimizing costs and ensuring a successful restaurant launch.

With careful preparation, you can navigate the licensing process and build a thriving business in Dubai’s vibrant food scene.