Idea in a Nutshell

Looking to start a new restaurant to add to the 30,000+ restaurants in KSA? You need to get up to speed with restaurant regulations, like your Business License and Food Service License …

Restaurants are a booming business in the Kingdom. 

The ‘Saudi Arabia food service market is projected to grow from an estimated $ 11.6 billion in 2019 to $ 13.7 billion by 2025’. In 2015 (latest figures available), there were over 15,000 fast food outlets, 11,000+ full service restaurants, and upwards of 8,000 cafes ( 

With over 178 municipal councils in KSA, each foodservice business must satisfy stringent municipal regulations regarding venue safety, food hygiene, and business licensing. 

With over 178 municipal councils in KSA, each foodservice business must satisfy stringent municipal regulations regarding venue safety, food hygiene, and business licensing. 


New restaurant owners need to secure permission from both the Saudi Food and Drug Administration (site & food safety) as well as the Ministry of Commerce (business regulation).

Note that the requirements are the same for both men and women.

Use the information below as an indication of the stringency of regulation; but be sure to check with your local municipality exactly what applies to your unique circumstances.

As the owner of a new restaurant start-up, you must tackle regulation responsibility from the beginning. A good way to broaden your understanding of your municipal obligations is to speak to somebody who already owns a restaurant in your area; get some experienced insight into how your local system of municipal restaurant regulation operates in practice.

The following information is provided as a guide only.

Site Requirements

Your restaurant must be located on a commercial street or in a commercial centre.

Your site must be at least 25m away from shops that sell gas – and at least 30m away from petrol stations.

The area of your venue must not be less than 65m squared. If you are serving Mandi meat, the minimum area for your venue is 100m squared. 

Venue Requirements

Your restaurant must include a warehouse area. The minimum size for your warehouse area is 9m squared. 

The area of your prep/washing room must exceed 9m squared; it must be separated from the kitchen area.

The kitchen area must exceed 15m squared; it must be ventilated, and it must be separated from the dining area (if your restaurant has one).

The area of your dining area must exceed 30m squared. It must be furnished with an appropriate number of tables and chairs. Barriers dividing tables must not exceed 1.5m in height.

Your venue must have one toilet and one sink for every ten people. The minimum course area of the toilet is 1.2m squared. The toilet must be Arab. If there is more than one toilet, there must be a flush toilet. 

Separate toilets for women must be provided. 

Ventilation Requirements

Prep/washing rooms and toilets must be ventilated at a rate of at least 15 air changes per hour.

Rooms with cooking must be ventilated at a rate of at least 25 air changes per hour. Cooking rooms must have a hood installed to draw air directly from above.

The warehouse must be ventilated at a rate of at least 6 air changes per hour.

Electrical Requirements

Wiring must be of the appropriate type, colour and diameter, piped, and insulated.

The foundations of the building must be earthed, as must all circuitry. Earthing connections must be in accordance with Saudi standards.

Circuit breakers must be of the appropriate strength and protect against earth leakage in wet locations.

All electrical equipment – such as heaters, stoves, fridges, cabinets, ovens, air conditioners etc – must be safe to use and comply with international specifications.

Any heating devices powered over 1000Kw must feature a non-flammable enclosure.

Adequate lighting must be provided. Lamps must be fixed and feature a suitable enclosure. Lamps must be non-explosive. The use of wire-hung lamps is prohibited.

Protective barriers afforded to any electrical closure must be upheld.

All electrical installations and equipment must be installed by a qualified and authorised professional. Periodic maintenance to the appropriate regulated standards must be carried out.

General Requirements

 to employ workers who are either a) not covered by the employer’s sponsorship or b) originally employed doing another profession.

to employ workers in activities restricted to Saudis only.

a) to modify the area of your premises or b) to change the use of your premises from its originally-stated use – without obtaining permission from the municipality.

You must place your license in a prominent place so that it can be seen by all.

You must place health and safety directives from the General Directorate of Civil Defence so that they can be seen by all. Note that Civil Defence rule on all Fire Safety matters.

You must provide adequate parking as directed by your municipality.


Foreign Investment Requirements

To invest in a Saudi restaurant, foreigners need to obtain a Saudi partner/sponsor as well as a license from SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority).

Restaurant Food Truck Coffeeshop Pizzeria

Do you plan your own business?
Evaluate the cost now!​


Don’t Miss
The News

Share this article: