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A diverse population of more than 200 nationalities and an intriguing fusion of many cuisine traditions are two of the main aspects that encourage business owners from around the world to create a cafeteria or restaurant in Abu Dhabi. Starting a food business can be highly successful. Catering to foodies from different groups, including locals, residents, and tourists, can help you generate a respectable profit. A stepping stone to long-term success and expansion in the food industry is running a profitable restaurant business in Abu Dhabi, a thriving tourist destination. Having said that, there are several procedures you must follow before opening a cafeteria or any other type of food business in the city.

Why it’s a good idea to start a cafeteria or restaurant in Abu Dhabi?

It’s simple to understand why Abu Dhabi and the UAE exciting new locations for aspirant restaurateurs are, especially considering the global “foodie” movement. Abu Dhabi is an excellent location to open a restaurant business because it draws about 4.7 million tourists annually. Abu Dhabi is swiftly emerging as one of the top locations for international food, and if done properly, starting a restaurant there may be highly successful.

Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East are all represented in the consumer base, which is thriving and diverse.

  • The tourism sector is rapidly growing.
  • A resolute government commitment to boosting GDP and the economy.
  • Incentives for starting a cafeteria or restaurant in the food and beverage industry in Abu Dhabi.

However, there are several obstacles you must overcome before you can formally operate a restaurant in Abu Dhabi or the UAE and claim your piece of the action. These include obtaining a restaurant license in Abu Dhabi or obtaining a cafeteria license if you’re opening one. A restaurant business license or the cost of cafeteria business setup, as appropriate, will also need to be considered.

Different types of restaurant licenses available in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

1. License for restaurants and coffee shops

In Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, a professional licence is required to open restaurants and coffee shops. Restaurants that have the necessary facilities to prepare and serve meals are permitted here. Additionally, it is acceptable for the public to utilise beverages (liquid refreshments) for immediate consumption.

2. License for a small shop and eatery

A business licence is required to open small eateries and coffee shops. Restaurants are permitted to make and serve food and snacks with this licence. In addition, this license can be used to sell consumer items like dairy, bread, and other products, as well as freshly canned and preserved food.

3. License for a floating restaurant

To open restaurants and coffee shops for tourism-related activities, a floating restaurant licence is a commercial licence that is required. Here, the ships, boats, and yachts with onboard dining facilities are taken into consideration.

How to Start a Cafe in Abu Dhabi

To start a cafe in Abu Dhabi, you need to do the following.

Step 1. Decide on a Company Name

Choosing a name for your cafeteria is one of the initial stages. Abu Dhabi’s regulations are quite lax, but there are a few things to be aware of. The name cannot be the same as an Abu Dhabi company that already exists. Second, no profanity or blasphemy may be used in the title. No initials are allowed; if you plan to use your name in the industry, it must be your entire name (first and last).

Step 2. Decide on a Location

Any business’ site choice is extremely important. Malls and tourist destinations are ideal places because of the high foot traffic levels. Choosing to base the company in one of Abu Dhabi’s free zones is another factor to consider. There are many benefits to opening a cafeteria in a free zone, such as tax exemption, logistical support, and the lack of a necessity for UAE national owners. However, only business-related activities are permitted in that area.

Step3. Obtaining Permits

A food business must have the appropriate licences to operate in Abu Dhabi.

  • A permit from the Food & Safety Department to sell food.
  • An authorization to conduct business from the Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Commerce Marketing

Other unique licenses can be needed, depending on how you operate your restaurant business, like.

  • Delivery Approval
  • Liquor permit
  • Permit for Ramadan

Step 4. Finish the Visa Procedures

Additionally, obtaining a visa is necessary to work and reside in Abu Dhabi. You must get in touch with the relevant immigration department to apply. However, you must apply for a resident visa if your cafeteria business is in a free zone.

Step 5. Establish a Bank Account

It’s also critical to open a business bank account, which is open to anyone having a UAE-registered company. Additionally, banks in the UAE have requirements that must be met before a business account may be opened.

  • Utility bills
  • Emirates ID
  • CV
  • Bank statements over the past six months,
  • A thorough business plan.
  • The need for a minimum balance.

Documents needed to set up a cafeteria in Abu Dhabi

You will discover that you require a commercial licence, which in turn imposes additional obligations, such as

  • The Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC) registers and examines lease agreements,
  • The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, created by ADDC (Abu Dhabi Distribution Company) and Civil Defence.
  • Prior to employing a sign company, you must approve the layout and style of your sign.
  • An engineer is necessary to help with all engineering needs, including design, fire-fighting requirements, electrical design, and load calculations for ADDC, if you are remodelling or even building a property.

Cost of a cafeteria license in Abu Dhabi

The cost of an Abu Dhabi cafeteria license is influenced by several factors. Before launching your cafeteria, create a budget to control your expenses. Included expenses should be cafeteria costs, employee costs, equipment costs, license costs, and other costs. All investments and expenses must have estimates.

Advantages of opening a cafeteria in Abu Dhabi

There are several good advantages to locate your cafeteria business in Abu Dhabi. The local economy is growing quickly and is anticipated to continue growing in the next years. It attracts a lot of tourists as well. Additionally, Abu Dhabi boasts a thriving gastronomy scene, with business expanding quickly as locals look to travel and experience other cultures. Here are a few more advantages.

Easy procedure

If all required paperwork is available, company incorporation in Abu Dhabi Mainland can be accomplished in 3–4 working days.

First Class facilities

The UAE’s favourable infrastructure and availability of office premises with flexible lease periods draw businesses to.

Simple hiring and unlimited work visas

There are no limitations on businesses seeking for work visas from the Ministry of Labour. The number of work visas you can get depends on the size of your office and the licensing activity you choose. If your workplace is bigger, you can get more visas. A spouse, parents, children, and a maid may be sponsored by the holder of an investment or employment visa.

Minimum capital needs

A bank guarantee is not necessary, and AED 10,000* is the minimal amount of capital needed. It is not necessary to deposit the share capital at a bank. Furthermore, UAE businesses are allowed to repatriate 100% of their money.

*Please note the amount are subject to change

What Shuraa can do for you Establish a Restaurant in Abu Dhabi?

Due to the huge number of tourists and busy inhabitants who don’t have time to cook for themselves or who want to sample various cuisines from different nations, restaurant businesses in Abu Dhabi are among the most profitable enterprises to establish. Abu Dhabi is also a cosmopolitan city where people are always eager to try new foods, which helps restaurants attract and keep clients every day.

If you are a visionary entrepreneur who is passionate about the hospitality industry, I would advise you to open a cafeteria or restaurant in Abu Dhabi as both are among the top industries due to the busy daily schedules of Abu Dhabi residents and visitors who frequently cook or visit their own kitchens. Call our business setup consultants at +971 4 4081900 right away to learn how they can help you realize your full company potential. Additionally, you can reach us by WhatsApp at +971 50 7775554 and email at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Start a Restaurant in Abu Dhabi?

To start a restaurant in Abu Dhabi, you need to

  • Choose a company name that is easily remembered.
  • Pick a good location for your restaurant.
  • Obtain initial approval from the Food Control Authority by submitting the required documents and meeting the food and safety requirements.
  • Reserve a trading name and apply for initial approval from the DED.
  • Obtain your trade license.
  • Complete the visa processes.
  • Open a bank account for your restaurant in Abu Dhabi.
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