How To Start A QSR With Minimal Investment In The UAE

A guide on starting a Quick Service Restaurant on a budget in UAE

In the UAE, the restaurant industry is estimated to be worth USD 7.6 billion in 2022. The QSR segment contributes to more than half of the revenue and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.0%. It is one of the most lucrative restaurant formats among all as it offers a higher return on investment, making it much sought-after. 

If you are interested in starting a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) in the UAE but holding back your aspirations due to limited financial resources, worry no more. This blog will tell you how to start a QSR in the UAE with minimal investment..

Factors To Consider To Start A QSR With Minimal Investment In The UAE

If you plan to start a QSR in the UAE, you must abide by the strict Emirate regulations. So, here is a step-by-step guide to help you start a QSR in the UAE.

Create A Business Plan

In a strictly regulated country like the UAE, drafting a thorough and clear business plan is the foremost requirement. The business plan should precisely capture your business objectives, industry-related factors, and financial viability. Investors would be inclined to invest in your restaurant if you have a sound workable business plan.

Choose The Appropriate Location

If you are a restaurateur, you would know the significance of location selection for a restaurant business. So, you must conduct thorough research on the locality in terms of its demographics. Consider these key factors in your research – the location’s visibility, accessibility, customer base, affordability of the place, and proximity to suppliers.

Tip: To cut down on investment requirements, you can consider setting up the restaurant in a free zone, which requires relatively less paperwork and time compared to the Mainland. Further, a free zone has other benefits, such as 100% foreign ownership, export duty exemption, tax benefits, easy company registration, and the most updated infrastructure.

Obtain The Permits

A trade license is a must for starting a restaurant business in the UAE. In the free zone setups, you can obtain the license directly from the relevant managing authorities, which is equivalent to the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the Mainland.

Once that is done, you must get the restaurant plan approved by the food control department, and then apply for the food license from the Department of Food and Safety. You would also need approvals from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and various other authorities based on your business requirements.

Hire Dependable Staff

Other than the basics, you need a great team behind the counter and in the kitchen for your restaurant to run efficiently. The chef is the most critical person in the team as they are responsible for cooking the dishes, designing the menu, and leading the rest of the kitchen staff.

Also read: How to hire an excellent chef for your restaurant

In a QSR, you need at least two chefs who have a fair knowledge of all kitchen departments. You also require 3-4 kitchen employees to cover food delivery and manage the counter. However, you can also consider a third-party delivery partner to manage food delivery on a per-order basis. A restaurant management platform like Posist could help with seamless integration of your operations with third-party delivery aggregators in your region. 

Purchase Kitchen Equipment

You need to purchase kitchen equipment, which is a substantial expense for any restaurant. However, you can manage the capital investment by purchasing some old and used kitchen equipment. After all, it isn’t necessary to have everything new in the kitchen.

While burners and gas pipelines should be new to avoid any additional repair cost and risks of gas leakage, items like refrigerators, cupboards, and storage racks can be reused. Other items like fry pans, cutting boards, knives, and utensils can either be new or used depending on your budget.

Promote And Market The Restaurant

It will help if you spend your resources on marketing your restaurant. One of the cheapest marketing techniques is using fliers announcing the opening or discounts. Also, spend some money on designing the menu and logo. Besides, you should use social media platforms to promote your business in creative ways.

Invest In Technology

An efficient restaurant management software specially designed for QSR can be a valuable investment for your business. Once done, you can focus on the kitchen and cooking while the software takes care of the day-to-day activities. Some of the major benefits of credible restaurant software are:

  • Integrated online ordering system that accepts orders from multiple platforms
  • Generate real-time reports anywhere and anytime from your mobile
  • Keep track of the stock and inventory using daily stock reports
  • Boost sales by creating customized offers and discounts using CRM data

The QSR segment in the UAE is growing rapidly because investment requirements are relatively low compared to the other formats. However, you can follow the steps mentioned above and implement them effectively. These steps will help you get started with your QSR business.

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Daniel McCarthy is a seasoned restaurant consultant and serves as the Communication Manager at Restroworks, a prominent F&B SaaS company. Drawing from his vast knowledge of leveraging innovative technological solutions, Daniel excels at enhancing restaurant operations and revenue, thereby contributing to the ongoing transformation of the industry.


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