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99486 18 May 2021

Restaurant Secrets Inc.: How much money do you need to open a restaurant in Dubai?

Leading UAE-based restaurant consultants, Restaurant Secrets Inc. breaks down the costs of opening three types of restaurants in Dubai within profitable budgets.

Restaurant investors can expect to spend an average Capex of USD 500,000 upwards for a full-service restaurant, a minimum of USD 100,000 for a dark kitchen model, and USD 250,000 onwards for a hole in the wall, focused concept.


DUBAI, UAE, MAY 16, 2021 "How much money will I need to open a restaurant in Dubai?" is the most frequently asked question Dubai-based FB firm Restaurant Secrets Inc. (RSI) receives, followed by the costs of a business plan and how to secure a great location.

The costs involved in opening a restaurant of course depend on the type, size and location of a project, and since the pandemic began, costs have shifted and so have commercials and profit channels of the F and B business.

"Looking at three main types of restaurants that are most relevant and in demand since the pandemic started, we share our insights based off hundreds of restaurants that RSI has helped set up in the UAE, right from feasibility studies to full execution," said Gabrielle F. Mather, CEOand Founder, Restaurant Secrets Inc.


Model 1: the FSR full service restaurant

This is the most popular type of FB business, modeled on a full experience of dining, service and delivery. This model needs the most resources to open and requires the most efforts in operations, financial control and location sourcing.

The average rents for a prime location from Downtown Dubai to Jumeirah can cost anywhere between USD 70 to USD 275 per square foot. With an average lease space of 1,500 to up 5,000 square feet needed to execute the full dining and delivery experience, the annual leases of such units could be anywhere between USD 70,000 to more than USD 1,000,000.

Design and build averages between USD 150 to up to USD 600 per square foot. The bigger the unit, the higher its operating cost is based on labour, maintenance, utilities, and seats needed to turnover rent.

Big units also have an advantage, in that they can turnover more seats, and FB is all about the average spend of person versus how many people are served daily. Building a strong concept, great product, maintaining industry standards in operational control are all important to see profitable returns, however, FSRs are ultimately less scale-able, with branches based on prime locations in different target market locations.

The average Capex is USD 500,000 onwards for a prime location, Instagramable interiors, great product and overall an excellent brand with marketing and staff budgets included.


Model 2: the dark kitchen, delivery unit

This is currently the fastest growing sector in FB with many dark kitchens offering affordable rental prices, with the average size of a dark kitchen being 19-21 square metres.

To rent a space with no equipment, costs range from USD 2,000 to 2,200 per month, while with kitchen equipment costs start at USD 4,700 onwards, depending on who you rent from and what area you are based in. In order to ensure profitability, the location would need to fall within a strong delivery radius thats highly populated.

If an outlet needs to purchase kitchen equipment the costs can range as low as USD 30,000 to up to USD 100,000 depending on what is required. Two of the benefits of creating a dark kitchen model is that you can run multiple brands out of one kitchen, and no service staff are required.

The most affordable Capex for a dark kitchen starts at USD 100,000.


Model 3: the hole in the wall, focused concept

With an average size of 1,000 square foot, the hole in the wall restaurant model has become very popular since the pandemic began. These types of venues thrive on word of mouth and intrigue of its quirky or simple roots. A small, focused menu is required and any cuisine can be used with correct price and portion planning.

Rents can be as low as USD 30 per square foot depending on location, and costs for staffing and interior design will be minimum due to low space.

In order to be successful, the hole in the wall venue needs a viable residential and commercial mix along with an excellent delivery plan. This model is very scale-able and can be considered for expansion, as well as franchising.

The average Capex of USD 250,000 onwards is required for a viable location, great product and packaging, online presence, as well as overall excellent brand with marketing and staff budgets included.


For more information about Restaurant Secrets Inc. call +971 56 216 1511 or e-mail for a free one-hour consultation. Visit or follow @restaurantsecretsinc on social media for further background.


Restaurant Secrets Inc.

Restaurant Secrets Inc. (RSI) is a team of expert Restaurant Consultantsand Business Incubators in the UAE that has served over 300 brands since its inception in 2001. The ISO 9001 certified firm provides full solution FB incubation in-house. Nothing is outsourced at RSI. This unique business set up ensures synergistic results as teams work together to develop all elements of a restaurant including concept development, menu engineering, feasibility studies, business plans, layouts interior design, branding marketing, talent requisition, franchise development, pre- and post-opening operational support and more. To name a few, some of RSIs most significant projects recently include Montauk Boutique Cafe, Colt, Roti Rollers, La Serre Bistroand Boulangerie, Clinton's Baking Street, So Tea, OPSO, Mittsand Trays, and The Loft at Dubai Opera.


Gabrielle F. Mather

CEOand Founder, Restaurant Secrets Inc.

Gabrielle Mather, a creative soul in the pursuit of excellence, has lived in the UK, Portugal, Singapore the UAE and all of the diverse experiences are illustrated in both her business and life. With a Business (Marketing) degree from the University of Hartford, she is also a BVQI - ISO certified Quality Auditor and trained in luxury product development at the University of London. She has been developing and incubating FB businesses since 2003. Gabrielle has been a fundamental part of developing over 300 FB Concepts both as a restaurant operator as well as consultant, she has 360 degrees hands on experience in BOH FOH experiences with particular expertise in concept creation, menu development, interior design and brand development.