HomeFlavors of Opportunity: Launching Your Food Business in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to the world like never before, creating a fertile ground for the food and beverage industry. With Vision 2030, the Kingdom is diversifying its economy, moving away from oil dependency, and fostering a business-friendly environment. This transformation presents an unparalleled opportunity for entrepreneurs to establish and grow their food and beverage businesses in Saudi Arabia. 


Why Saudi Arabia is Perfect for Your Food Business 

Saudi Arabia’s strategic location, booming economy, and government incentives make it an ideal destination for food and beverage ventures. Here’s why you should consider launching your restaurant or food business in the Kingdom: 

Benefits of Starting a Food and Beverage Business in Saudi Arabia 

  • Favorable Business Environment: Saudi Arabia, driven by Vision 2030, provides an ideal environment for food and beverage businesses to thrive due to extensive infrastructure development and supportive government policies tailored to encourage entrepreneurship in the sector. 
  • Tax Advantages: Compared to neighboring countries, Saudi Arabia offers significant tax concessions specifically designed to benefit food and beverage businesses, reducing financial burdens and improving profitability. 
  • Growing Market: The Saudi food industry is experiencing rapid growth, with a projected increase in market size from $11.6 billion in 2019 to $13.7 billion by 2025. This growth presents lucrative opportunities for new food and beverage ventures to capture market share and expand operations. 
  • Security and Safety: Saudi Arabia boasts a secure operating environment with low crime rates, ensuring safety and stability for food and beverage establishments. This stability is crucial for business continuity and consumer confidence. 
  • Lucrative Consumer Base: With a large and growing population, Saudi Arabia offers a diverse and increasingly affluent consumer base eager to explore new culinary experiences. This demographic diversity creates a robust demand for a variety of food and beverage offerings, providing ample opportunities for business growth and profitability 

Steps to Obtain a Food and Beverage License in Saudi Arabia 

The food and beverage industry in Saudi Arabia presents great opportunities due to a flourishing market and favorable business conditions. Obtaining the necessary licenses is crucial for successfully establishing your venture within the regulatory landscape. Discover the essential steps and requirements for obtaining a food and beverage license in Saudi Arabia, empowering you to confidently enter this thriving industry. 

  1. Choose Your Business Structure

Foreign Investor –  As a foreign investor, you must obtain a license from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). This step involves submitting a detailed business plan and ensuring your investment aligns with Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification goals under Vision 2030. SAGIA will assess your application based on your business’s potential to contribute to the Saudi economy. 

Local Sponsor – Alternatively, you can choose to partner with a local Saudi sponsor. This involves registering your business through Commercial Registration (CR) with the Ministry of Commerce. A local sponsor can offer valuable insights and connections within the Saudi market, which can be beneficial for navigating regulatory requirements and establishing your business. 

  1. Register Your Business

Business Name – Registering your trade name is a crucial step. Your chosen name must comply with Saudi regulations, avoiding any prohibited terms or names already in use. The Ministry of Commerce provides an online portal for name registration, where you can check the availability of your desired name and ensure it adheres to the guidelines. 

Articles of Association (AoA) and Memorandum of Association (MOA) – Prepare your Articles of Association (AoA) and Memorandum of Association (MOA). These documents should outline your company’s structure, objectives, share distribution, and operational procedures. The AoA and MOA must be notarized and approved by the relevant authorities, establishing the legal framework for your business operations. 

  1. Apply for the Food License

Document Submission – Gather and submit all necessary documents to the relevant government authority. These typically include: 

  • Proof of Address: Verify the physical location of your business. 
  • IDs of Shareholders and Directors: Provide identification documents for all key individuals involved in the business. 
  • Passport Copies: Submit passport copies for each shareholder. 
  • Bank Reference Letter: A letter from your bank verifying your financial stability and business account status. 

Official Approval – Once all documents are submitted, the government will review your application. This process may involve site inspections and interviews to ensure compliance with all regulatory standards. Upon approval, you will receive your food and beverage license, authorizing you to operate your business legally in Saudi Arabia. 

  1. Fulfill Physical Requirements

Location – Select a suitable commercial location for your food business. The site must be situated on a commercial street or in a commercial center, not in a residential area. This ensures compliance with zoning regulations and maximizes visibility and accessibility for your customers. 

Size and Facilities – Ensure your venue meets the minimum size and facility requirements: 

  • Warehouse: At least 9 square meters. 
  • Washing Area: Minimum of 9 square meters, separate from the kitchen. 
  • Kitchen: At least 15 square meters, well-ventilated and separate from the dining area. 
  • Dining Area: Minimum of 30 square meters, well-furnished with appropriate tables and chairs. 
  • Toilets: Adequate facilities for customers, with at least one toilet and sink per 10 people, including separate facilities for women. 
  1. Obtain Additional Licenses and Registrations

Municipality License – Follow the local municipal regulations to obtain a municipality license. This involves adhering to local health and safety standards, building codes, and operational guidelines specific to your municipality. 

Labor Office File – Register your business with the Ministry of Labor. This involves creating a labor office file, which is essential for hiring employees and managing workforce-related matters. Compliance with labor laws ensures your business operates smoothly and maintains a positive working environment. 

Social Insurance – Set up a file with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI). This registration is mandatory for all businesses in Saudi Arabia and covers social insurance for your employees, including benefits and protections. 

Tax Registration – Register your business with the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT). This involves obtaining a tax identification number and ensuring compliance with Saudi tax laws, including VAT and other applicable taxes. Proper tax registration and compliance are crucial for maintaining your business’s legal standing and financial health. 

By following these detailed steps, you can successfully obtain a food and beverage license in Saudi Arabia and take advantage of the Kingdom’s thriving market and supportive business environment. 

Key Documents Needed for Your Food License Application 

To expedite your application process, ensure you have the following documents ready 

  • Proof of Address 
  • ID Copies of Shareholders and Directors 
  • Trade Name Registration 
  • Bank Reference Letter 
  • Articles of Association (AoA) 
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA) 
  • Passport Copies of Each Shareholder 


Launch Your Saudi Food Business with Helpline Group 

Planning to launch your food and beverage business in Saudi Arabia? Helpline Group, your top choice with 25+ years of global expertise, effortlessly guides you through Saudi regulations. We are experts in offering tailored guidance on the ideal legal structures, ensuring meticulous handling of all documentation for completeness and accuracy, and expediting license and registration procedures with our efficient methods. Our comprehensive support guarantees guidance at every stage, from setup to compliance. Moreover, we offer priceless market insights and growth opportunities tailored to Saudi Arabia’s dynamic food and beverage industry. You can trust that our commitment to legal compliance ensures your business follows local standards. Ready to make your mark in Saudi Arabia’s booming food and beverage industry? Reach out to Helpline Group and let us empower your business journey with tailored solutions and proactive support.