Dodo Pizza: How We Relocated Dodo Pizza to the Emirates

Opening a pizzeria in the UAE requires roughly the same steps as in Russia. However, the process here is more bureaucratic, every step is mandatory, officials are more thorough, and simply establishing a company often doesn’t mark the end of the journey.

In this article, we share our experience of assisting the prominent Dodo Pizza franchise in establishing their presence in the Emirates, assembling a team, and initiating sales, all while successfully evading penalties. We also discuss the areas in which we continue to provide support for the customer.

The Customer and the Challenge

Dodo Pizza is a renowned Russian fast-food chain with branches in 16 countries. Now, thanks to our assistance in establishing the company’s presence in the Emirates, this number went to 17. Despite the saturated fast-food market in the UAE, the team has discovered their unique selling proposition and are brimming with enthusiasm.

Ilya Farafonov, the CEO and founder of Dodo, approached us following an unsuccessful stint with local consultants. He was impressed by our service, expertise, communication, and approach, and decided to stay with us. We quickly established a rapport and promptly outlined our proposed strategy. We even packaged it into an attractive presentation.

The Outcome


The company was established within a week.

A resident visa was secured in just five working days.

A bank account was opened within a month.

Hired 20+ employees and assisted them with their family visas.

We provided business advice for the customer operations in the Emirates and continue to offer support for any arising issues to this day.

What Was Done

Establishing the company, opening the bank account, securing the visas. With Dodo, thanks to our efforts and Allah’s will, everything proceeded at lightning speed:

Recruiting employees and obtaining visas for them and their families. Up to now, we have assisted with obtaining 20+ work visas for the restaurant company and eight family visas. Despite the intense workload, everything went smoothly — at one point we were handling 15 people simultaneously. We had to manage 15 visas at once: coordinating all actions timely and organizing visits to all institutions correctly. In the end, we reached a comfortable pace — working on 1-2 visas at a time, managing everything calmly.

Alongside the visas, we addressed associated legal issues of the employees and the relatives they were relocating, such as lack of diplomas and translation errors. We even translated and legalized the documents ourselves — we have a dedicated department that handles such tasks for UAE market and globally.

Our plans are ambitious — we continue to increase visa quotas for employees and arrange for obtaining visas as required.

Conducting an in-depth study and providing comprehensive consultations on business operation in the UAE. Put simply, we became Dodo’s go-to source of information and legal counsel for the Emirates. Our advice covered how to correctly tackle immediate issues to avoid mistakes and penalties; what licences are needed to utilize all advertising channels; which promotional materials are permissible in the UAE and which are not; how are Whatsapp newsletters regulated, and what penalties can be incurred for unauthorized distribution or messages sent at night. And so on, down to the specifics of text size on advertising banners. Essentially, we delved into the minutiae of legal regulations for not only starting but also operating a business, with all its implications.

In conclusion: our work, from the establishment of the company to fully employing the staff, took approximately a month and a half. The entire process took the team five months, with a significant portion of time spent on finding a suitable location and obtaining all necessary permits. However, Ilya and Dodo handled the housing issue independently.

The first Dodo Pizza restaurant opened in Dubai in January 2023. We are very happy for the customer and continue to provide support, providing detailed responses for any question. This experience has also been beneficial for us. Through our collaboration with Dodo, we have come to understand that we are capable of providing comprehensive legal support on all matters related not only to relocation but also to running a business in a Muslim country.

Customer’s testimonial

“We first got acquainted with the AWATERA team after a disappointing experience with other local consultants.

AWATERA’s services, including company registration, account opening, staff recruitment, and advice on a wide range of legal and business matters, exceeded our expectations. I can wholeheartedly recommend them as true experts in their field.

Furthermore, we continue to collaborate to this day. For the team at AWATERA the concepts of «don’t know» or «impossible» seem to not exist at all. They are always ready to help find answers to virtually any questions related to doing business in Dubai and the Emirates”

Ilya Farafonov, CEO of Dodo Pizza

If you require assistance in relocating your business to Dubai, we are here to help:

+971 55 371 3659