Quick Service Restaurants are here to stay, says kaykroo founder, Jihad El Eit
kaykroo, the foodtech start-up, officially launched last week with a portfolio of proprietary, home-grown brands including its six independently-operated original concepts like the popular Man’oushe Street, The Good Bowl, Bak Bak Chicken, Wrapped, Fern El Balad, and Hummus Brothers. With the recent US$ 4 million in pre-series A funding, they plan to introduce four new brands to the market that cater to the evolving tastes of their customers and include SoDo Pizza, The Vegan Table, Susuru and Seven Spisiz.
With another ten additional concepts in the pipeline planned for launch in the course of the next six months, Jihad El-Eit, Founder & CEO of kaykroo, explained, “We have been operating our portfolio brands as ‘brick & mortar’ restaurants for over a decade, but the idea to begin transitioning towards a ‘brick & click’ platform began in January 2019, when we started witnessing a global trend towards delivery and cloud kitchen networks. We began exploring new avenues and looking into the development of our own proprietary technology to help drive this transformation and rolling out our own network of cloud kitchens to centralise our offering and expand our reach. Over the last six months, we have been actively working towards reinventing our entire business strategy and focusing our proposition on what we know we are very good at – creating brands and building experience and providing a highly efficient delivery platform.”
The launch also marks a digital transformation from dine-in restaurants to a network of 15 delivery and takeaway-centric smart kitchens and brand residences, including kiosks and pop-ups, across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain. kaykroo’s wide geographical reach within the UAE, combined with data-driven technology that uses AI and machine learning to increase speed and efficiency, gives their customers the opportunity to enjoy a personalised experience, without compromising on quality, taste or freshness.
So, are they competing with the likes of Talabat, Deliveroo and other services? Jihad says no. According to him, there is certainly enough room for everyone to operate, as well as plenty of opportunity for collaboration. “Within the business model that kaykroo specifically operates, it is likely that we will see fewer entrants as it requires expertise in both fields, tech and brand creation.”
He added, “The region’s appetite for food delivery remains unsatiated, with the sector set to be worth $4 billion by the end of this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge contributor in this shift towards greater consumer demand for delivery, but of course the transition both globally and regionally had begun much earlier. Investors are actively looking at this sector because of the high level of scalability that it offers, as it is the only business model within the F&B industry that can support such growth.”
With ambitious growth plans on the horizon, kaykroo has raised USD 4 million in its pre-Series A funding round, with contributions from family offices and regional investors. The capital raised will be used to further develop the company’s proprietary technology and fuel kaykroo’s expansion in the GCC.
So where does he see the future of this industry sector? Jihad feels that with the growth of demand for delivery platforms, and the increasing number of players operating in this space, the market will predominantly be split into two areas, high-end dine-in restaurants to satisfy consumers that are looking for the social, in-person experience and well-spread Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) that can meet these new delivery requirements.