“Amazon Food” .. Does it originate from Dubai?

Prepared by: Hamdi Saad
Kitopi, the online cloud cooking platform, which was launched in January 2018 from Dubai, the city of opportunities and a starting point for startups to join the “unicorn” club, is accelerating to achieve its goal of returning in “Amazon food”. Ballout, CEO and co-founder of the company, as it aims to reach the amount of funding to expand its operations worldwide to $ 200 million.
Mohamed Ballout, Ketubi’s chief technology officer, Saman Darkan, Andy Arenas, chief property officer, and Bader Ataya, the company’s chief growth officer, co-founded Mohamed Ballout.

200 restaurants
Kitopi defines itself as a globally managed, cloud-based culinary platform and has partnered with more than 200 restaurants to help them expand their food delivery, with modern kitchens, skilled chefs, staff trained with sector-focused skills and technology.
Among the most prominent restaurants that Ketopi offers its services are Pizza Express, Papa John’s Pizza, Right Bite Restaurant, UNDER500 Restaurant and Mama Rita Restaurant in Dubai.
Kitubi’s idea is based on the “Kitchen as a Service” model, and inside Kitubi kitchens there are “intelligent stations” that allow a chef to cook dishes for many different brands, and the whole process is supposed to take 35 minutes from the moment the customer registers the order in an external application until the submission of the request.
Save big operating costs
Once the food brand becomes known, Kitopi undertakes the journey of securing ingredients and carefully cooking, towards safe packaging and delivery, to ensure that customers are satisfied, which allows restaurant owners to save costs. significant in terms of establishing new branches and afford substantial operations. costs.
In March 2020, Kitopi launched its shopping division, Kitopi Store, which is a one-stop shop for essentials and other grocery items, delivering anywhere in Dubai in 60 minutes or less.
Through its technology-driven platform, Kitopi works to collaborate with brands and restaurants around the world and help them expand across borders in less than 14 days.
Once a food and beverage brand decides to work with Kitopi, it takes over all the processes, from taking ingredients and careful cooking to safe packaging and distribution to customers, through a Smart Kitchen Operating System (SKOS) – the technology for ensure speed and efficiency. , in all its operations. .
big finances
Last April, Reuters quoted Kitubi as looking forward to raising 700 million dirhams, between $ 150 million and $ 200 million in new funding, to expand into Southeast Asia.
The company explained that its success in raising this amount could increase its valuation to about $ 1 billion, which means the birth of a new “unicorn” in Dubai after Careem, which was bought by Uber. “for more than $ 3 billion.
Kitubi has raised $ 117.2 million since its inception from investors, including Dubai-based venture capital firm BECO Capital, Crescent Startup Company and US-based Lumia Capital.
In this context, informed sources told Reuters this month that SoftBank Group is in talks to invest in the latest round of financing for Kitubi in Dubai through its second technology fund.
Reuters said that the “Vision 2” fund of the Japanese group “SoftBank Group” has presented a proposal to invest about 400 million dollars in Kitobi, while both parties refused to comment on this.
In February 2020, it received and received $ 60 million in funding, according to UAE-based company Magnet, which is interested in covering startups.
The company intends to focus on the region, so it plans to open more kitchens, and “Kitubi” has received funding of 117.2 million dollars and companies such as: Beco Capital, China SAA Capital, Lumia Capital, based in Silicon Valley. , and H. B Investments, a subsidiary of the Huda Kattan Foundation.
Cloudy kitchens are among the fastest growing sectors
Wamda, the incubator for entrepreneurship in the region and North Africa, quoted in a report: When Kitubi was founded in early 2018 in Dubai, hardly anyone was familiar with the concept of “cloudy kitchens”, but now, after 3 years , cloud kitchens have become one of the fastest growing sectors in the field of food technology and “Kitopi” leads the scene with its 60 kitchens in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Wamda stated that Ketobi’s idea arose from an idea of ​​its founder, Mohamed Ballout, to contribute to changing the scene of the restaurant and food delivery sector.
“I was studying to invest in food, and I was ready to invest in restaurants and I realized that shipping was becoming a bigger part of the business of one of the companies I was talking to,” says Mohamed Ballout.
One of the biggest challenges facing restaurants, Ballout adds, is the high cost of setting up a restaurant, which makes expansion difficult.
“If you want to build a confectionery brand, do not go and set up a factory,” he says. Go to a manufacturer who can prepare products for you. The same solution did not exist for restaurants, and this is what prompted Mohamed Ballout to think about opening a cloud kitchen, even though he at the time had not yet encountered the term.
Despite the name of these food-only businesses, be they cloudy kitchens, dark kitchens or ghost kitchens, they have been around for decades and enable businesses to cook from a central location and distribute their food or directly to customers or retail. plug .
With the rise of online food delivery, these kitchens have begun to incorporate technology into their services, being previously a property renting out their facilities to food suppliers and food brand owners.
The main advantages of the “kitchen-as-a-service” model is that it allows restaurants to expand their distribution network throughout the city, giving them an economical opportunity to try new locations without incurring the high costs of opening a traditional restaurant.
But Kitubei’s “cloud-managed kitchen” model not only offers space and convenience for these food brands, but rather offers something similar to the “restaurant as a service” model, where it takes care of buying ingredients, providing chefs to cook dishes. as well as sending orders.
Mohamed Ballout says: “I tried to find out who else is trying to solve similar problems, and we actually found a company, but they are solving the problem through real estate. We do not consider ourselves pioneers in this field, and owners of a real revolution in restaurant expansion. ”
Amazon Food
Saman Darkan and Mohamed Ballout tend to point out that the solution they offer is not an investment in real estate, but rather one that uses technology at every step of the process.
Mohamed Ballout points out that he is inspired by his ideas from Amazon and the use of technology to help him direct his decisions. He says: “Amazon is not a technology company because it has an app that the customer uses to order their needs, but it is mainly a technology company thanks to its advanced supply chain, which can offer you everything you need. needed at the right time.
This is the essence of how we work we believe in how we can use it [التكنولوجيا] To achieve great profit and economy goals of the unit, to schedule appointments and get the right staff at the right time for the right kitchen.
How to reduce food costs? It’s a much more complex technology than just the technology you use to order your food. “Ketopi is like Amazon AWS in the restaurant industry. We have built this infrastructure from existing kitchens and supply chains, technologies used in the kitchen and trained workforce and professionals, enabling People to benefit from it on a large scale, and in many ways it is similar to that “Amazon’s cloud services system for e-commerce websites and businesses.”
Ballout added, the cloud kitchen sector in general has benefited from the “Covid-19” pandemic and despite the decline in food distribution in the first two months of closure, people started ordering their food again and new cloud kitchen companies started to show. , while existing companies continued to grow and expand.

Leave a Comment