Cloud Kitchens in Dubai: Everything You Need to Know


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Dubai, the culinary melting pot of the UAE, has long been a hub for diverse gastronomic experiences. The local food industry, currently valued at an astonishing AED 145 billion, is not only thriving but also evolving at an unprecedented pace.

From casual takeout options to haute cuisine representing every corner of the world, Dubai’s food market is a vibrant testament to its cosmopolitan nature. Amidst the well-established culinary landscape, there exists a dynamic realm experiencing remarkable growth—ushering in unparalleled opportunities for visionary entrepreneurs. One such innovative trend taking the spotlight is the advent of cloud kitchens.


Also known as ghost kitchens or dark kitchens, cloud kitchens are culinary laboratories exclusively designed for delivery-only restaurants. These kitchens provide a streamlined space for restaurants, cafes, and food retailers to craft delectable dishes without the need for on-site dining facilities.

Noteworthy players in the food industry, as well as direct collaborations with food delivery agencies and apps, are leveraging the potential of cloud kitchens. With the surge in the use of food ordering apps in Dubai, where nearly two-thirds of UAE residents opt for this convenient method, the stage is set for a paradigm shift in the gastronomic landscape.

As the culinary scene in Dubai continues to evolve, the rise of cloud kitchens stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to innovation and convenience. Joining this culinary revolution could be your gateway to success in a market that is not just thriving but reshaping the very future of dining experiences in Dubai.


Online Food Ordering Surge and Market Opportunities

The surge in online food ordering, a trend that has skyrocketed over the past year, continues to dominate the culinary landscape in Dubai. This rising demand presents a golden opportunity for new entrants in the food industry, with ample room for growth and innovation. The popularity of this service shows no signs of slowing down, underscoring the vast untapped potential waiting to be explored.

Lower Startup Costs and Overheads

Cloud kitchens redefine the economics of culinary entrepreneurship by significantly slashing startup costs compared to traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants. Operating within a more compact space, requiring fewer staff, and minimising additional expenses such as signage and extensive promotions, cloud kitchens present a financially strategic approach. Furthermore, the absence of the need for high-visibility locations drastically reduces premises-related costs, allowing for a leaner and more profitable operation.

Tax and Business Incentives in the UAE

Embarking on a culinary venture in Dubai comes with the added advantage of the UAE’s business-friendly environment. The country’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship is reflected in its low tax rates. This favourable tax landscape, coupled with minimal barriers to entry, sets the stage for a business-friendly ecosystem where your entrepreneurial dreams can flourish. The UAE’s time-tested and supportive company incorporation process further streamlines the journey, making it a welcoming destination for those looking to establish and grow their cloud kitchen ventures.


When it comes to cloud kitchens in Dubai, Deliveroo emerges as a pivotal player, orchestrating a paradigm shift in how restaurants approach food preparation and delivery. A testament to this influence is Deliveroo’s grandiose presence, boasting the title of home to the largest dark kitchen in the world, situated right in the heart of Dubai. This colossal facility features a staggering 12 fully stocked and operational kitchens, offering an unprecedented scale of support to restaurants and food providers in the region.

The Role of Deliveroo in Cloud Kitchen Expansion
For culinary entrepreneurs aspiring to carve their niche in the food delivery landscape, Deliveroo’s dark kitchen in Dubai serves as a turnkey solution. The facility provides a streamlined and fully equipped space for the preparation and delivery of culinary delights. This ready-made approach significantly accelerates the onboarding process, allowing restaurants to hit the ground running without the logistical hassles typically associated with setting up a new kitchen.

Benefits for Restaurants Partnering with Deliveroo

Partnership with Deliveroo extends a multitude of advantages, especially for smaller restaurants seeking entry into the cloud kitchen model or looking to expand their operations. Deliveroo’s dark kitchen in Dubai offers quick and affordable access to enterprise-grade facilities, eliminating the need for significant upfront investments. Moreover, the seamless integration with the Deliveroo app takes care of delivery logistics and promotional activities, resulting in remarkably low overhead costs for participating restaurants. This symbiotic relationship empowers culinary ventures to focus on their core competency—crafting exceptional dishes—while Deliveroo handles the intricacies of delivery and promotion.


Step 1: Abiding by Naming Conventions

To start your cloud kitchen journey, choose a name that mirrors your culinary dreams while respecting naming rules. Steer clear of offensive language and established organisations’ names. If using your name, opt for the full version. Before finalising, ensure your chosen name is available for registration, setting the stage for your culinary identity.

Step 2: Acquiring a Trade License from the DED

Your cloud kitchen needs a trade license from the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). Simplify the process with help from Set Hub. The application involves basic details, a completed form, a passport copy, and two colour passport-size photos. This license not only legalises your venture but opens doors to Dubai’s diverse culinary landscape.

Step 3: Securing Food Safety Department Approvals

Ensure the safety and quality of your offerings by getting approvals from the Food Safety Department. Compliance instils customer confidence, establishing your cloud kitchen as a trusted culinary destination in Dubai.

Step 4: Complying with the UAE ‘Food Code’

Align with UAE’s culinary regulations by adhering to the ‘Food Code.’ These guidelines set the standards for maintaining top-notch quality and safety. Compliance not only cares for your customers but also protects your cloud kitchen’s reputation.

Step 5: Applying for Residency and Work Visas

Consider the practicalities of residing and working in Dubai as you build your cloud kitchen. Apply for residency and work visas, navigating bureaucracy to secure the needed permits. This ensures a smooth integration into Dubai’s vibrant business environment.


Establishing a cloud kitchen in Dubai requires navigating through a comprehensive licensing process. From selecting an appropriate business structure to securing trade and food licenses, this overview will delve into the intricacies of the licensing requirements and step-by-step processes essential for the successful establishment of a cloud kitchen in the vibrant city of Dubai.

  1. Business Structure & Location

Choose a business structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, or free zone company) and secure a commercial space, as cloud kitchens are not permitted in residential areas. For foreign nationals, setting up an LLC or free zone company is necessary.

  1. Trade License & Business Registration

Gather required documents, including passport and visa copies, lease agreement, and Ejari certificate. Apply for a trade license based on your business type, such as a Food Trading License, and register your business with the Department of Economic Development (DED).

  1. Food License

Use previously submitted documents for the trade license to apply for a food license from the Dubai Municipality. Comply with Dubai’s food code, pass a food safety inspection, and ensure your kitchen meets regulatory requirements. Staff training in food safety procedures is essential.

  1. Insurance & Corporate Bank Account

Obtain property, liability, product liability, and workers’ compensation insurance. Open a corporate bank account to separate personal and business finances, facilitating financial management.

  1. Hiring Staff:

Determine the positions required, ensure proper visas and work permits for staff, conduct background checks, provide training on food safety procedures, and set up payroll.

  1. Choose a Delivery Service:

Decide on packaging (disposable or reusable containers) and choose a delivery method—use in-house delivery staff, partner with a delivery service like Deliveroo, or allow customers to pick up orders.

Health and Safety Regulations for Cloud Kitchens

In Dubai, adherence to rigorous health and safety regulations is a fundamental requirement for operating a cloud kitchen. These regulations are designed to ensure the well-being of consumers, maintain the highest standards of food hygiene, and create a secure working environment for kitchen staff.

  • Food Safety Inspection – Before obtaining a food license from the Dubai Municipality, cloud kitchens must undergo a thorough food safety inspection. This inspection evaluates various aspects of the kitchen operation, including food handling, storage practices, and overall cleanliness. Meeting these standards is essential for the issuance of a food license.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Cloud kitchens must align with Dubai’s food code, which outlines specific requirements for food establishments. This includes guidelines on food preparation areas, equipment standards, and storage facilities. Adhering to these regulations is crucial to ensure the safety and quality of the food produced in the cloud kitchen.
  • Staff Training – Owners and staff members of cloud kitchens are required to undergo training in food safety procedures. This training is aimed at instilling knowledge about proper food handling, hygiene practices, and the prevention of contamination. Well-trained staff contributes significantly to maintaining a safe and sanitary food preparation environment.
  • Proper Equipment and Storage Facilities – Meeting health and safety standards involves having the right equipment and storage facilities. This includes ensuring that all food processing equipment is in good condition, storage areas are organised, and food preparation areas are designed to prevent cross-contamination. Compliance in these areas is closely monitored during inspections.
  • Continuous Compliance Monitoring – Health and safety regulations are not just a one-time requirement but an ongoing commitment. Regular inspections and monitoring by health authorities ensure continuous compliance. Cloud kitchen operators must stay updated on any changes in regulations and promptly address any concerns raised during inspections.


Breakdown of Initial Licensing and Setup Costs

The cost associated with launching and sustaining a cloud kitchen in Dubai, UAE is contingent upon various factors, with the size and location of the premises standing out as primary determinants.

Trade License – Acquiring a trade license is a foundational step, and the cost will vary based on the type of license required for your cloud kitchen. This includes licenses such as a Food Trading License or, if applicable, a Liquor License for those offering alcoholic beverages.

Business Structure Setup – Depending on whether you opt for a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a free zone company, there will be associated setup costs. Foreign nationals aiming for 100% ownership might prefer a free zone company, while an LLC requires a local sponsor owning 51%.

Commercial Space Rental – Securing a commercial space is a significant expense. Costs will fluctuate based on the size, location, and amenities of the chosen space. Considerations include proximity to the target market and the availability of parking facilities.

Food License and Compliance – The process of obtaining a food license involves fees, inspections, and compliance with Dubai’s food code. Costs will encompass documentation, inspection fees, and ensuring the kitchen meets regulatory requirements.

Insurance – Various insurance types, including property, liability, product liability, and workers’ compensation insurance, are essential for mitigating risks. Costs will vary based on coverage and insurance providers.

Corporate Bank Account – Opening a corporate bank account is a crucial step to separate personal and business finances. Banks may have varying requirements and associated costs.

Ongoing Operational Expenses

  • Staffing – Salaries, work permits, and visas for your kitchen staff contribute to ongoing expenses. Properly trained staff is essential for maintaining quality and safety standards.
  • Utilities – Monthly utility costs, including electricity, water, and gas, are standard operational expenses that should be factored into your budgets.
  • Rent – Continual rental payments for the commercial space form a significant part of operational expenses. Negotiate lease terms wisely to manage costs effectively.
  • Ingredients and Supplies – Regular procurement of high-quality ingredients and supplies is crucial for the success of a cloud kitchen. Costs will depend on menu offerings and order volume.
  • Marketing and Delivery Services – Budget for marketing efforts to promote your cloud kitchen, as well as any fees associated with partnering with delivery services or maintaining an in-house delivery team.
  • Maintenance and Repairs – Allocate funds for the regular maintenance of kitchen equipment and any unforeseen repairs that may arise.


In addition to obtaining the necessary licenses for your cloud kitchen in Dubai, several crucial applications and considerations play a vital role in ensuring a smooth and legally compliant business operation. Here’s a closer look at these aspects:

1. Visa Application Process for Business Owners

As part of the regulatory requirements, business owners in the UAE must secure a residency visa to work and oversee their cloud kitchen operations. The visa application process involves several steps, including biometric scanning, a medical examination, and a chest x-ray. Engaging with the visa application process promptly and efficiently is essential for establishing your legal presence in the country.

2. Sponsoring Dependents and Employees

As the holder of a UAE business license, you have the privilege of sponsoring visas for dependents and employees. This sponsorship extends to family members such as spouses, parents, and children, as well as domestic workers like housekeepers. Navigating the sponsorship process necessitates adherence to specific guidelines and documentation requirements. Ensuring that your sponsored individuals maintain compliant visa status contributes to the overall stability of your business operations.

3. Setting Up a Corporate Bank Account

A corporate bank account is a fundamental requirement for conducting business operations in Dubai. This account serves to separate personal and business finances, providing clarity in financial transactions. The process of setting up a corporate bank account involves liaising with relevant authorities. Expert assistance, such as that provided by Set Hub, can streamline this application process, ensuring that your cloud kitchen’s financial matters are handled efficiently and in accordance with regulatory standards.


Set Hub specialises in company formation and registration services, providing aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs with the knowledge and support needed to bring their business dreams to life. Our team of experts understand the intricacies of the process, ensuring that your license application is complete, error-free, and submitted accurately to expedite the setup of your cloud kitchen.

Visa and Banking Assistance

Beyond company formation, Set Hub offers comprehensive assistance in visa and banking matters. Navigating the intricacies of residency visa applications, sponsorship processes, and corporate bank account setups can be complex, but Set Hub’s professionals streamline these processes. We provide guidance on financial institutions and handle the necessary administrative steps, allowing you to focus on the core aspects of your business.

Post-Setup Support and Services

Set Hub goes beyond the initial setup phase by offering post-setup support and services. Whether you need assistance with ongoing compliance, administrative tasks, or additional services, our team is dedicated to ensuring a smooth and hassle-free operation for your cloud kitchen. With Set Hub, you can trust that your company’s administrative aspects are in capable hands.

Why Choose Set Hub

  • Set Hub’s team comprises company registration professionals with a deep understanding of the UAE business landscape.
  • From handling license applications to advising on financial institutions, Set Hub offers end-to-end support.
  • Set Hub simplifies the complex processes of visas, work permits, and immigration, facilitating your business operations.

In Conclusion

Establishing a cloud kitchen in Dubai offers a myriad of advantages that underscore the city’s dynamic and thriving business landscape. The strategic location, diverse consumer base, and burgeoning food industry present an opportune environment for culinary entrepreneurs. 

The streamlined process facilitated by Set Hub significantly eases the complexities of company formation, ensuring that aspiring cloud kitchen owners can navigate the regulatory landscape with confidence. Aspiring entrepreneurs can not only tap into a vibrant market but also benefit from a seamless and efficient setup process, positioning their cloud kitchen for success in one of the world’s most dynamic business hubs.

If you have any further questions or require assistance throughout your Cloud Kitchen business setup process in Dubai, the dedicated consultants at Set Hub are ready to assist you. Feel free to reach out to us through the following channels:

Phone: Call us at 800-SETHUB (738482) or +97142222565 to speak directly with our experts.

Email: Drop us an email at [email protected] for inquiries or additional information.

Visit Us: If you prefer face-to-face consultations, you can visit our office at Set Hub to discuss your business needs.

Schedule a Consultation

To ensure personalised guidance and tailored solutions for your specific Cloud Kitchen business requirements, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with our seasoned business setup consultants. During this consultation, we can address your queries, provide insights, and guide you through the steps of establishing your business in Dubai. Our experts are committed to ensuring a seamless and successful setup for your Cloud Kitchen venture.