Starting a Waffle Restaurant in Dubai? 9 Things You Absolutely Must Know

The UAE has been famous for retaining the original tastes and trends of the Middle East in its food habits. However, consumers are now rapidly developing a taste for baked food. Going by the recent statistics, the bakery sector in the Middle East is maintaining its momentum and witnessing a 5-7% growth annually. The growing popularity of baked goods is leading to the proliferation of various waffle restaurants. With proper planning and resources, you can make your waffle business a booming success. In this article, we will guide you through the entire process of starting a waffle restaurant in Dubai.   

How to Start a Waffle Restaurant in Dubai

Dubai has a strict food code that each food establishment has to abide by. This food code is designed to assist the restaurateurs in operating as per the standard requirements of local authorities. We have prepared a comprehensive list that will serve as a helpful guide in opening a waffle restaurant in Dubai. 

1. Location

Choosing the right location is extremely important for sustaining a waffle business.  Conduct a location analysis on factors such as demographics, real estate prices, crowd density, target audience, expected footfall, average income, accessibility to market, and parking spaces. 

It is highly advisable to do a competitive analysis to understand how your competitors are doing in that location. Shortlist different localities and areas and compare the pros and cons of each before deciding on the final location to start your waffle restaurant in Dubai. For the waffle shops focusing on takeaway on account of less seating space, having a decent parking space will also be an essential criterion. Typically malls, university campuses, and marketplaces are an excellent choice for opening a waffle outlet. 

2. Licenses 

Acquiring proper licenses and certifications is mandatory before starting a waffle restaurant in Dubai. Having the necessary permits and licenses would save you from the legal hassles. The major permits required to start a waffle business in the UAE are Trade License and Food License. Make sure to have these in place before opening your business.

The waffle restaurant trend has taken over the food and beverage space

3. Restaurant Interior and Furniture

You can easily set up a waffle business with just a few tabletops and sitting stools. Make the service area pleasant and welcoming for the customers. You must also emphasize proper lighting fixtures and interior design based on your waffle restaurant’s theme. The cost of restaurant interior design and furniture can go as high or low as your budget allows.

4. Online Food Ordering

Considering that takeaways and online delivery are gaining popularity, your waffle outlet must have a presence on all major online food aggregator platforms. Partner with various online delivery platforms such as Deliveroo, UberEats, CarremNow, etc. Online ordering services usually charge a percentage out of each order as commission, however listing on these platforms is free. 

5. Designing The Menu

Waffle business operators must focus on designing the right menu to make it appear innovative and attractive to customers. As there are limited options in the dish that you are serving, you must try different ways of menu innovation to get an edge over other competitors. For example, ice-creams are considered one of the best sides, to go along with waffles. You can introduce a dedicated waffle ice-cream sandwich menu. 

Similarly, you can make a combo of pancakes, waffles, and bacon strips and serve them in an all-day breakfast menu. Consider offering a variety of shakes and beverages to cater to a bigger audience. Use the right menu pricing strategies that include your material costs, marketing costs, etc. Also, remember to understand customer psychology while designing your menu.

6. Kitchen Equipment 

Starting a waffle business does not require a substantial investment. You can initially purchase two commercial waffle irons for a small-sized waffle outlet. However, a significant issue with waffle irons is that the coating fades away very frequently, hence replacing the equipment or coating them at regular intervals is a must.

Other necessary kitchen equipment required for a waffle business are refrigerators, mixers, spatulas, plates, frying pan, bowls, spoons, etc. Procuring fresh and top-quality ingredients is a must for the waffle business. Choose the best vendors and source top quality raw materials to increase your sales. 

The Belgian Waffle Co. outlet

7. Staff

A small waffle business does not require much staff. You can easily start a waffle business with two head chefs, a server, a cashier, and two in-house delivery boys. Establishing your own delivery fleet is optional if most orders are received via third-party aggregators.

If you want to run a waffle business on a tight budget in the initial days, you can start your business with 2 or 3 employees who can prepare the waffles and serve them as well. Consider choosing a self-service model and use disposable plates and cutlery to further reduce  labor costs.

8. Marketing

With waffle businesses gaining vast popularity among customers, it is imperative for new businesses to market themselves well and gain a competitive edge. Strike a balance between both online and offline strategies while marketing a new waffle business. Consider leveraging social media to reach out to the widest possible audience without spending a hefty amount.

Create an engaging social media profile on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Run paid ads initially to reach out to the right audience. 

You can even run engaging contests to increase audience engagement and create a before-launch buzz. Engage with food bloggers and invite them to write a post about your waffle restaurant to reach the right audience. Get your restaurant menu and logo designed by a professional and opt for a menu board and standee positioned outside the outlet. 

9. POS Software

While opening a waffle business, it is vital to invest in an efficient POS system that will help ease the workload and turn out to be beneficial for your business in the long run. A robust POS system will streamline your billing operations, enable you to keep a clear track of the inventory, and reduce the overall food costs. Invest in a cloud-based POS that can run smoothly on a tablet, laptop, or mobile device as well. 

You can also automatically analyze your staff’s performance with staff management features of the POS software and keep track of their attendance, performance, and efficiencies. Investing in the right technology will help you scale your business and increase your sales.

Dubai has been an excellent marketplace that offers unique opportunities to budding entrepreneurs and chefs. As the bakery business in the UAE is on the rise, this is the right time for operators to start a waffle restaurant and serve their customers only the best sweet delights!

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