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How to open a restaurant in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is home to a large and growing food service industry, estimated to be worth around USD 22.4bn and growing by almost 9% CAGR 2021-2026 . This market is as varied as it is vast with all manner of cuisine on offer from Middle Eastern delights to those catering to more Western tastes.

As a result, many entrepreneurs from the world overlook Saudi Arabia to launch their restaurant businesses. And with the help of a local expert, such as Creative Zone, setting up out here can be fast, affordable and straightforward, whether you’re looking to open a café, restaurant or food truck.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know to get started, including:

  • The benefits of opening a restaurant in Saudi Arabia
  • The cost to open a restaurant in Saudi Arabia
  • Steps to open a restaurant in Saudi Arabia
  • Documents required to open a restaurant in Saudi Arabia
  • Benefits of working with Creative Zone

The benefits of opening a restaurant in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is home to the largest economy in the Middle East. It is incredibly open to foreign investment and recently ranked 62 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index – ahead of others in the region such as Qatar and Oman.

Saudi’s tax system is a major pull to international entrepreneurs, with minimal levies on income and low sales tax.

The Kingdom is also a very safe and stable place to live for expatriates, with low crime rates and high standards of education and healthcare.

The cost to open a restaurant in Saudi Arabia

It is very difficult to give an idea of cost without first knowing the details of your potential venture. The cost of opening a restaurant of 50 tables will of course be much higher than starting up a mobile food truck.

That’s why the best way to get a full breakdown of the costs involved is to arrange a free consultation with Creative Zone.

Steps to open a restaurant in Saudi Arabia

It is possible to establish a restaurant business in Saudi Arabia and maintain 100% ownership as a foreign investor. However, you will first require your General Investment Entrepreneurial license as well as approval from the Saudi Ministry of Commerce. As part of this approval, you will need to prove that you have the funds and capability to invest in the country. You must be in Saudi Arabia to complete this process.

The first step is to book for a free consultation with Creative Zone. We will help you gain a complete understanding of the company formation process and the country’s business customs.

After your consultation, we will guide you through the following steps:

Trade name registration
You will need to choose and register your company name. There are a couple of additional factors to keep in mind here. Most importantly, your name cannot be too similar to any competitors, and it must not be offensive or blasphemous.

License and visa applications
At this stage, you can apply for your license to trade in Saudi Arabia. You will need to submit a completed application form as well as some official documentation.

You will also need a business visa to live, work, and reside in Saudi Arabia. Again, Creative Zone can manage this process for you.

As you will be preparing and selling food, you will need to abide by all relevant food codes plus health and safety standards. The exact requirements here will depend on the nature and size of your restaurant business.

Documents required to open a restaurant in Saudi Arabia

You will need to submit the following documents when applying for your Saudi Arabia restaurant license:

  • Proof of ID and address for directors and shareholders
  • Passport copies for shareholders and directors
  • Copy of trade name confirmation
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  • Articles of Association (AOA)
  • Bank reference letter

What are the benefits of working with Creative Zone?

All businesses require a license to trade in Saudi Arabia. Creative Zone can help you obtain this license – and much more.

While the steps required of overseas investors are not too complicated, a certain amount of prior knowledge is required. Specifically, it’s vital to ensure that your applications for your business/visa/ license are all completely free of mistakes.

This can be somewhat stressful, so as we have advised throughout this article, the fast-track to getting up and running is through working with a company formation specialist.

Here at Creative Zone, we offer you the best solutions to start your company in Saudi Arabia. You get fast, reliable and unbiased advice on your unique business setup requirements. We can help you choose the right kind of license for your business activity and take you through the entire process from start to finish.

You can let us deal with the hassle of registering a company while you focus on your business. And working with us means you get the best budget-friendly and cost-effective solution to help make your business dream a reality.

Over 10 years, Creative Zone has helped more than 36,000 entrepreneurs set up their businesses. Whether it be a mainland business setup, offshore company setup, free zone company setup, or issuing of trade licenses and any related activity for registering a company, Creative Zone is your one-stop-shop.

Our customer-first focus and our staff who speak 22 languages means you get a tailored package to suit your specific needs. We have worked with clients from around the world, setting them up in over 200 different business activities.

Let Creative Zone make your journey into business ownership quick and hassle-free.


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