How to Start a Food Delivery Business

Akshay Vinayak

Akshay Vinayak

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The only thing bigger than the UAE’s buildings is its appetite. And nowhere is this more evident than in the world of food delivery.

UAE online food delivery revenues are expected to reach over USD 1.3bn this year, with the largest sector, restaurant-to-consumer delivery, accounting for USD 954m of that.

All of which makes for a large and demanding potential audience for anyone wishing to facilitate the management of transport and delivery orders through online platforms and smart apps. If that’s you, keep reading to find out:

Why Start a Food Delivery Business in Dubai, UAE?

In general, food businesses are among the most lucrative in the entire world, which also applies to the Emirates.

Market potential

There’s an array of cuisines and types of food lined up at restaurants in Dubai, whether they are a part of the luxurious malls or a busy sidewalk. In UAE, most consumers are willing to opt for food delivery instead of physically visiting a restaurant to satisfy their food cravings. This indicates that entering the food delivery business in Dubai may generate a lot of profits due to extremely high potential.

Low start-up costs

To reinforce the profitability of the food delivery business, it’s a particularly low investment start-up that doesn’t generate a large amount of costs at the start of the business cycle. Hence, scaling up with company profits will not be a problem. Food delivery app development would be the only significant cost, and marketing/advertising costs would be minimal since flyers and having contact details on delivery vehicles would provide the required recognition.


A business would not need to work long hours or dedicate a large portion of their time to maintain food delivery. After completing the licensing and registration process, the company would need to pay attention to maintaining their available technology, financial management and create a team that excels in customer service.

The Benefits of Starting a Food Delivery Service Business

Access to a large and growing market is one of the major benefits of starting up a food delivery business here in Dubai. With 2022’s USD 1.3bn market estimated to reach almost USD 1.5bn by 2026, the appetite for restaurant quality food at home is unlikely to subside any time soon.

Simplicity is another key advantage. There is no need to own a restaurant or a kitchen, you are simply there to connect potential customers with their favoured cuisine. This allows you to offer a wide scope of offerings through a single app.

This also allows for automation. Once you have developed the platform, it largely takes care of itself, save for maintenance and a degree of customer support. Most communication takes place between customers and restaurants, with your business taking a percentage of each transaction for providing the platform.

Steps to Get a Business License for a Food Delivery App

1. Select your business activity

The first step is to select your business activity. This will be a straightforward process when obtaining a food delivery license; but working with an expert such as Meydan Free Zone will always help to speed up the process.

2. Choose a trade name for your business

To comply with Dubai’s business naming rules, your company name must clearly describe what your company does. At the same time, it must not include any terms that could be considered offensive or potentially blasphemous.

Furthermore, your company name must not include any acronyms with your own name either. For example, Ahmad Ali Food Delivery would be fine, but AA Food Delivery would not be permitted.

3. Choose your business location

Choosing a business location is a major consideration when starting a Dubai food delivery business. Many companies choose to base themselves at the Meydan Free Zone because it offers a 0% tax rate and 100% foreign ownership.

We can advise you on setting up your free zone company here and provide the support you need to make your business a success.

4. Complete your application and pay fees

In order to receive your food delivery business license in Dubai you will need to complete your application form. At Meydan Free Zone, we can support you to ensure a simple and fast process.

5. Receive your license and open a business bank account

With Meydan Free Zone, receiving your license to run a food delivery business in Dubai takes just a few days.

Once your license has been approved, the final step is to open a business bank account so you can make and receive payments from clients in the UAE and abroad.

Meydan Pay is our simple digital banking solution for businesses working in our free zone. It gives you an IBAN and digital wallet which comes with all the features you need to start making and receiving payments.

Costs of Building an Online Food Delivery Smart App

There are two key costs when setting up a food delivery platform in Dubai. The first one is the trade license fee.

At Meydan Free Zone, you can pick up a license inclusive of three business activities for just AED 12,500. If you wish to include the cost of your visa, this price increases to AED 14,350. For a license package inclusive of six visas, the total cost is AED 23,600.

On top of the standard trade license fee, there are a few additional costs for food delivery permits. These are as follows:

  • New Permit: AED 1,000
  • Renewal of Permit: AED 1,000
  • Pro Services: AED 3,000

Then, of course, there is the cost of the delivery platform. This will depend on the size and scope of your operation as well as how you intend to build your app.

It may be cheaper if you are able to build and maintain your own platform. However, it is possible to buy pre-built platforms for around AED 2,000 to AED 5,000.

Documents Required to Start a Food Delivery App in Dubai

To launch your food delivery business in the UAE, you will be required to provide the following documents:

  • The initial approval to conduct the activity issued by the commercial licensing authorities in the emirate for new establishments, and a copy of the commercial license for existing establishments.
  • A copy of the valid passport of the owner and all partners.
  • A copy of the identity card of the owner and all partners.
  • An undertaking to abide by the conditions and requirements necessary to carry out the activity.

If you are setting up your business with individual shareholders, you will also need to provide:

  • Passport size photo (digital)
  • Residence visa copy

If setting up with corporate shareholders, you will need to provide:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Certificate of Incumbency or equivalent
  • Memorandum of Association

Conditions of the Dubai Food Delivery Permit

To hold a food delivery permit in Dubai, you must meet and abide with the following licensing conditions and obligations: 

  • You, the applicant, commit to providing the systems, electronic media and smart applications necessary to practise the food delivery activity and ensure they meet with Road Traffic Authority (RTA) stipulations regarding quality violations code, control systems, data provision, payment of fees as part of agreements concluded with RTA, installation of tracking devices, etc.
  • You must clearly define the activities to be managed through electronic media and smart applications – i.e., if you are licensed to deliver food, you cannot also deliver parcels, medicines, etc. without approval.
  • In the event of renting the transport means from another party or contracting with another party to undertake the delivery service, then that party must also be licensed for this purpose by the RTA.
  • You must sign and agree to these terms with the RTA.

Working with Meydan Free Zone

Meydan Free Zone is a thriving, centrally located economic district with one of the most prestigious business addresses in the region.

We offer our businesses a host of innovative investment and lifestyle benefits in a secure regulated environment that empowers productivity. When you set up here, you’ll benefit from:

A business presence in the heart of Dubai

You’re never far from the hustle and bustle of the city centre at Meydan Free Zone. Just 15 minutes from the Dubai International Airport and mere minutes from Downtown Dubai.

An empowering environment

Setting up your business in Meydan Free Zone gives you exclusive access to a networking community that inspires growth through innovation and collaboration. Dubai is home to countless startups, SMEs, and multinational corporations, making it the perfect city for you to start and grow your business.

A paperless experience

Don’t let red tape hold you back. Our intelligent and intuitive license application kit means you will work with easy-to-use forms that significantly reduce time and effort during the application process. The platform brings together all aspects of compliance and regulation for your businesses (such as UBO, ESR, AML) in a single interface.

Our expert team can assist across all processes involved in business setup in Dubai, from registering your company name to managing your license and visa applications.

To find out more, visit our website, or get in touch with us via or 800FZ1.

If you prefer, you can visit us at Meydan Free Zone Business Centre, Mezzanine Floor, Meydan Hotel, Meydan Rd, Nad Al Sheba 1, Dubai, UAE.

Start your business with Meydan Free Zone

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