With the globalisation of the UAE, new business ideas are popping up everywhere that were previously only big hits in the Western world. Yes, that includes food trucks in Dubai.
In fact, there are food truck parks in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi featuring, well, only food trucks. According to statistics, there are now hundreds of food trucks operating in Dubai, serving everything from traditional Emirati cuisine to international dishes.
This means that entrepreneurs looking to learn all about food truck Dubai regulations and rules can enter this already thriving market. The warm climate and diverse population make Dubai an ideal location for food trucks, and the city has seen a boom in these businesses in recent years.
If you’re thinking of starting a food truck business in Dubai, check out this ultimate guide for all the information you need to get started.
Why a Food Truck Business in Dubai Is a Great Idea
Before we dive into the specifics of setting up a food truck business in Dubai, let’s explore some of the various reasons why a food truck business is a great idea here.
First and foremost, the city is known for its thriving food culture, and there is a demand for all types of cuisines. This is, in a large part, due to the international demographics that make up Dubai.
With tourists and locals from all over the world, you can serve just about any type of food at a food truck and see success. However, the wackier and wilder you get with your food truck theme, the better (we’ll get into that later on).
Second, the cost of starting and running a food truck business in Dubai is relatively low compared to other businesses. While you will need to get the proper business and trade licenses, the overhead costs are fairly low outside of purchasing or renting a food truck.
Third, there are many events and festivals held in Dubai that provide food truck businesses with an opportunity to generate income.
Finally, food trucks are a convenient option for people who do not have time to sit down for a meal at a restaurant. They can simply grab a quick bite from a food truck while they are on the go.
With so many business people residing in Dubai, this makes food trucks particularly attractive and lucrative. All of these factors combine to make a food truck business in Dubai a great option for entrepreneurs eager to break into the market with an idea that’s sure to be successful.
How to Start a Food Truck in Dubai
So you want to start a food truck in Dubai? You’re not alone (as we’ve established!). The scene here is booming, with new trucks popping up all over the city. If you’re feeling inspired to join them and start a business in Dubai, here’s what you need to know.
Choose a Trade Name
Before you can even start thinking about a business plan or getting certified to run a food truck in Dubai, you’ll need to choose a name for your new business.
Think long and hard about this as it’s going to be what you use to market your food trucks. Try choosing a business name that is unique and will help set you apart from your competition.
Names that are easy to spell and remember are also a great option as it’ll be easier for people to type into social media platforms when they (hopefully) start searching for you online.
Submit a Business Plan to the Dubai Economic Department (DED)
Now, you’re ready to submit your business plan! You’ll submit this to the Dubai Economic Department (DED). This should include your:
- Proposed menu
- Information about your team
- Detailed financial information
- Marketing strategy
All in all, this is actually a pretty important step. If you’re not sure how to effectively write a business plan in Dubai, we suggest contracting the services of a business setup specialist who can help you write an outstanding business plan.
Get HACCP Approval to Run a Food Business
Now that you’ve submitted your business plan, you’ll move on to getting HACCP approval from the municipality. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and they basically certify that both your kitchen and your food truck are safe to operate and sell food from.
Here’s what you need to do in order to get HACCP approval in Dubai:
- Get in touch with the Dubai Municipality and request the application forms for a HACCP certificate
- Fill out the forms and submit them along with any required documents, such as a menu, business plan, and proof of insurance
- Once your application has been reviewed, you will be contacted for an inspection of your food truck
That’s really all there is to it! Once your food truck has passed inspection, you will be issued a HACCP certificate, which will allow you to operate your business legally in Dubai.
Browse Good Food Truck Locations in Dubai
With the proper approvals in place, you’ll want to start thinking about where you’ll park and run your food truck.
The best places for food trucks are in high-traffic areas where there are a lot of people on foot, such as near shopping malls, office buildings, or tourist attractions. However, you might also look into getting a spot at a popular food truck park in Dubai as well.
Once you’ve found a few potential locations, it’s important to research the competition and see what types of foods are already being offered in the area.
Find a Food Truck for Sale
Now it’s time to find a food truck for sale. Find one that is in good condition and has all the features that you want. If you’re not sure what kind of truck to get, there are many websites that will help you decide.
Ultimately, what’s important is to get a truck that is big enough to hold all the equipment you need, but not too big that it is difficult to manoeuvre. Too big or too small can both be a hassle that will make or break your new food truck business.
Look for the Right Kitchen Equipment And Raw Materials
Before you can serve up your culinary creations, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do. If you’re planning to start a food truck in Dubai, here’s what you need to know about setting up your kitchen now that you have the approvals to run your business.
One of the most important things to sort out is your kitchen equipment first. You’ll need everything from cooktops and ovens to fryers and refrigerators.
And don’t forget the all-important food truck generator! This will power all your kitchen equipment and ensures that you can keep cooking even if there’s a power outage.
You’ll also need to source raw materials for your dishes. This means stocking up on fresh ingredients like vegetables, fruits, meat, and seafood. Depending on your menu, you may also need dry goods like grains, spices, and oils.
Our advice is to find trusted providers you can work with on a regular basis and build a great working relationship with them over time.
Find Staff Required For Your Food Truck
Depending on the size and complexity of your food truck menu, you may need one or two chefs and a couple of kitchen assistants. You’ll also need at least one person to tend to the customers if that’s not going to be you.
Once you’ve assembled your team, it’s time to start thinking about your menu.
What kind of cuisine do you want to serve? Are you going to specialize in a certain type of dish? Keep in mind that customers will be looking for fresh, delicious food that’s reasonably priced. With that in mind, build a menu that will tantalize taste buds and leave diners wanting more.
Get Your Dubai Food Truck License
Yay! With the right approvals, you’re now ready to apply for your official business license. The license will allow you to operate your truck on any public roads in the United Arab Emirates. Let’s recap that process for you.
What’s the Food Truck License Application Process in Dubai?
One of the first things you need to do when starting up a food truck business in Dubai is to choose an amazing company name. We went over this above, but if you need more help, think about its location and theme (geeky or tourist-friendly) before settling upon something.
You can’t just pick a name at random and hope for the best. You must abide by strict naming conventions, which means you should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language in your company names.
Check whether there are laws against using certain words within product branding or packaging design as well. And, as always, be sure to be respectful of the local culture to avoid offending anybody.
Next, you will need to submit a detailed business plan that is approved by both the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) and your local municipality.
You’ll also need to get a hygiene and safety certification known as HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point). You can only open your restaurant if you have one of these certificates for the central kitchen, or food truck.
To prepare food on-site you need an already certified kitchen for your use or find a caterer who can outsource it. You’ll also have to get approvals from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) as well as Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA).
Now you’re ready to submit your application. In order to apply for a trade license from the Department of Economic Development, you will need:
- Completed application form
- Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
- Two colour passport size photos
- Proof of approvals and certifications
How long does it take to register a food truck in Dubai? With the right business guidance, you could be licensed in less than a month.
A company formation expert will make it easy for you and help avoid potential pitfalls that come up along the way when starting out as an entrepreneur. And, they’ll be able to help you with any visa requirements you might have depending on your situation.
How Much Does a Dubai Food Truck License Cost?
The cost to start a food truck business in Dubai can vary depending on your location, the type of cuisine that you plan on serving and design plans for the actual vehicle.
You might be thinking that this is a lot of money to put into starting your own business but it’s really not when you take the time needed for planning and research.
A good rule-of-thumb would be to plan on making an investment of about 130,000 to 140,000 AED. This includes the cost of the food truck, which is usually about 35,000, and other rental fees and costs.
Benefits of a Food Truck Business in Dubai
Finally, if you’re convinced of the general benefits of running a food truck business in Dubai but aren’t quite sure it’s a good business investment, let’s explore a few of the main benefits of this type of business in the UAE.
A food truck business in Dubai can offer you a lot of freedom that you wouldn’t have with a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant.
For one, you can move your truck to wherever the crowds are, whether that’s by the beach on a hot day or near a popular nightclub on a busy weekend night. This flexibility can help you attract more customers and boost your sales.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about the high costs of rent and utilities that come with a physical location.
Minimal Capital Required
One of the best things about starting a food truck business in Dubai is that it requires minimal capital. This makes it an ideal option for entrepreneurs who are just starting out or for those who want to test the waters before investing in a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
If that’s your end goal, remember that plenty of entrepreneurs start out running a food truck to gauge interest and then eventually scale into opening restaurants with an expanded menu.
Create Food Truck Business in Dubai with DUQE
If a food truck in Dubai sounds like a great investment to you as an entrepreneur then we’d suggest setting up your business in one of Dubai’s free zones.
A free zone in Dubai is an area where businesses can operate with 100% foreign ownership. There are a number of benefits to setting up a business in a free zone, including no personal or corporate income taxes, no restriction on currency repatriation, and no customs duties.
Not sure how to start the process of registering your business in a free zone? We can help. Our mission is to make it easy to set up a business in Dubai and to provide everything it needs to thrive.
Speak with one of our business specialists to learn more about how we can help. Get in touch today.