Cloud kitchens in Dubai: Everything you need to know


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The UAE has long been home to a vast and thriving food industry, expected to be worth an incredible AED 145bn by the end of this year.

From simple takeaway fare to fine dining cuisine from every corner of the globe, there are few areas of the market not catered for here – especially in Dubai.

But while the market is well established, it is still seeing areas of incredible growth, presenting fantastic opportunities for entrepreneurs with a flair for food. And one such area of growth making noise of late is in the use of cloud kitchens.

Also often referred to as ghost kitchens or dark kitchens, cloud kitchens are essentially delivery-only restaurants. They offer restaurants, cafés, and other food retailers a space to prepare food with no dining facilities.

Cloud kitchens are used by many reputable names in the industry as well as directly by food delivery agencies and apps.

With the use of food ordering apps on the rise in Dubai, with nearly two-thirds of UAE residents now ordering food in this way, there’s never been a better time to get involved in this thriving market.

And when you get started with Set Hub, applying for your UAE trade license in Dubai can be incredibly straightforward.

What are the benefits of starting a cloud kitchen in Dubai?

Online food ordering has increased significantly over the past year and shows no sign of slowing any time soon. With a service this popular, demand is yet to be met, leaving plenty of opportunity to new players in the market.

Cloud kitchens also offer significantly lower startup costs than traditional bricks and mortar restaurants. They require much less space, fewer staff, and minimal extras such as signage and promotion. There is also no need to find a location with heavy footfall, drastically lowering the cost of premises.

And then, of course, there are the many benefits of starting a business of any kind in the UAE. These include the country’s 0% tax rate on corporate and personal income, minimal barriers to entry, and its time-tested and supportive company incorporation process.

Deliveroo cloud kitchen Dubai – benefits

Dubai is home to Deliveroo’s largest dark kitchen in the world. It provides 12 full stocked and operational kitchens to restaurants and food providers in the area.

For those wishing to prepare and deliver food, Deliveroo’s dark kitchen in Dubai offers a ready-made way to get started.

Smaller restaurants and those looking to expand get quick and affordable access to enterprise grade facilities. And, as delivery and promotion are handled through the Deliveroo app, the overheads are incredibly low.

Steps to start a cloud kitchen in Dubai

Before starting any business in Dubai, you’ll need to choose your company name. When doing this, you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions.

In short, you should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e., Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting. You must also check that your chosen name is available to register.

Next, you’ll need a trade license to operate in the UAE. You should make this application to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). Set Hub can handle this process for you.

When making your application, you are usually only required to provide a few details and some basic documentation, including:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two colour passport size photos


The Cloud Kitchen Dubai License

To operate a cloud kitchen in Dubai, you’ll also need further approvals and certifications on top of your trade license.

This portion of the application process is made to the Dubai Food Safety Department. As part of this process, you will need to provide details of your food preparation area. This includes a floorplan with clearly marked entrances and exits, food storage areas, all windows and ventilation, all food processing equipment and all washing equipment.

Finally, any business wishing to prepare and sell food in the UAE must adhere to the ‘Food Code’. This covers everything from where food can be made and stored, ventilation, cleaning facilities and much more.

Additional applications

As well as your catering license, you’re also required to hold a residency visa to work in the UAE. The process consists of several steps including biometric scanning, a medical and a chest x-ray.

As the holder of a UAE business license, you can also sponsor others for their visas too. This could be a spouse, parent or child, or a domestic worker such as a housekeeper.

Finally, you will need a corporate bank account to trade out here. Once again, Set Hubcan handle all applications for you, liaising with relevant authorities on your behalf.

Cloud kitchen Dubai costs

The cost of opening and operating a cloud kitchen in Dubai will depend on many factors. Most notably, the size and location of your premises.

For a personalised breakdown of the costs involved in starting your business, talk to the experts at Set Hub.

Are you ready to start your cloud kitchen in Dubai?

Hopefully, this guide has made clear that if you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a cloud kitchen in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly complex.

That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Set Hub when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.

As well as handling your license application, Set Hub can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.

We also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visa applications that are required to trade in the UAE.

In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.