Kuwait's Requeue Offers Automated Queuing Application For Restaurant Diners
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This article is part of a series on pioneering entrepreneurs in Kuwait that Entrepreneur Middle East has built in collaboration with Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait Finance House is considered a pioneer in Islamic finance or Sharia’a compliant banking, with it being the first Islamic bank established in 1977 in the State of Kuwait, and is today one of the foremost Islamic financial institutions in the world.
Launched in 2017 by Fahad Jamal AlNassem, Requeue is a mobile application to capture, control and automate the queuing process at restaurants, cafes, and wherever a queue system is implemented. Noting the rise of dining establishments in Kuwait, AlNassem comments, “The sheer volume of daily walk-in customers puts a considerable strain on the restaurants to streamline the queueing process, in order to provide a remarkable dining experience for its customers.” With this being the focus, the app allows users to browse the waiting lists of restaurants, and make an online booking for customers with options for their preferences of seating areas and status of queue, while enhancing the restaurant’s performance and increase their sales. Moreover, by using Requeue’s data analytics suite, restaurants are able to analyze and address issues such as long queues, table utilization, traffic volumes, and staffing and resource allocation.
With operations in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, AlNassem says that the app has significantly approved the dining experience for customers, with “extremely positive” feedback. A recent milestone they’ve achieve has been being able to seat more than 1.5 million customers in the past two years, while being able to maintain a top five position according to the App Store. The startup’s profit model stems mainly from restaurant subscriptions and in-app advertisements. AlNassem elaborates, “In the initial stages, we had to start with lower profit margins to get our name out there in order to gain the desired market share. As we expanded in size and our application became widely used by leading restaurants, we had the numbers and the data to claim our leading position in the market. At that point of time, we were able to significantly improve our margins and have a firm negotiating position with both current and potential clients.” With a fresh capital infusion of US$1.6 million from its Series A funding round last year, the team plans to expand their services to the rest of the Gulf region. They’ve already kicked off in Saudi Arabia with “some promising results,” and they’ll soon be starting up in Bahrain too once they’ve concluded their marketing campaign.
In terms of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs considering making their own ventures, AlNassem offers them this reminder: “It’s not easy at the beginning- remain steadfast, and start as soon as a feasible plan is in place. You may expend time and effort, but with the right combination of preparation, strong will, ingenuity, effective use of available resources and time, you will reach and surpass your targets.”
Excerpt from a conversation with Fahad Jamal AlNassem, CEO and co-founder, Requeue
What has been the most negative feedback on your app that you have received, and how did you go about tackling it?
Just like any other application, we had issues at the beginning with the user experience. Some technical glitches were there, but they are the easiest to fix. But most importantly, we strived to have an uncompromisingly functional user interface by optimizing our application features, design elements, and graphics to achieve the user experience that our targeted customer seek in such application. This goal was not achieved all at once. We started with a soft launch among a selected group of people to get the necessary feedback, and as we grew bigger after the official launch and the application started to get more traction, the task of addressing the demands of all stakeholders became more challenging. But as business/applications developers, we realized early on that a continuous improvement process should be an integral part of our business proceedings.
What are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today, and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
The consumerism culture in Kuwait is quite promising. As evident from our story there is an abundance of opportunities for business in such a consumer-driven economy. I won’t give specific examples of opportunities in the market, but I will say that new businesses should not always be about new services or products- you do not have to reinvent the wheel. It could just be an improvement on an existing product or service. Just look around you, and think how you could improve a product or a service that you are passionate about. Surround yourself with smart and driven people, and always be on the lookout for new opportunities.
Do not limit yourself to what is being offered to you, whether that is an unfulfilling job, or what you deem as an inadequate service or product. And here in Kuwait, the government along with the private sector has realized the importance of small business and tech applications, and hence, the abundance of financing options being offered through either the National Fund or even venture capitalists are promising.
Therefore, with the wealth of information and resources available to young entrepreneurs, one should not hesitate to pursue his/her dreams. We are living in an age of massive entrepreneurial spirit.