Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Headquartered Grubtech Wants To Be The One-Stop-Shop For Cloud Kitchens' Omnichannel Food Requirements
Functioning essentially as a commerce tool, grubtech helps restaurants and cloud kitchens efficiently manage their day-to-day operations.
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Through the course of the COVID-19 crisis, one of the few business models in the F&B industry that has remained relatively unscathed has been that of cloud or virtual kitchens. Now, cloud kitchens come with the reduced responsibilities of having no physical dine-in spaces, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own management challenges- and it is precisely for this reason that Dubai-based startup grubtech was launched in 2019.
“We started this business having lived through the digital transformations of other sectors, mainly retail and groceries, and recognized that food was the next industry,” says co-founder and CEO Mohamed Al-Fayed. “grubtech is an end-to-end platform for delivery-centric restaurants and cloud kitchens. Online food delivery is now a significant portion of all restaurants’ revenues. But the legacy technology has not kept pace with this transformation, so we built a native omnichannel operating system automating the entire lifecycle of an order.”
Functioning essentially as a commerce tool, grubtech helps restaurants and cloud kitchens efficiently manage their day-to-day operations by offering services such as an omnichannel point of sale (POS), integration with food aggregators, an interactive kitchen display system, and a customer management portal, among others. The startup also offers analytical tools that use artificial intelligence to help food business owners identify the latest food trends and conduct customer segmentation.
“Given that we had a blank slate to work with, we were not bogged down with the constraints of legacy technology,” explains Al-Fayed. “We built everything from the ground up using the latest technology stacks to create an entire platform covering every use case of our clients. We partnered with numerous best-of-breed applications and stitched each capability seamlessly and effortlessly to bring unprecedented capabilities to our clients.”
While grubtech has already been providing its services to cloud kitchen operators in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Pakistan, it also recently partnered with online food ordering company Talabat’s cloud kitchen initiative. But that’s not all- Al-Fayed reveals that grubtech is now looking to expand into the Asia-Pacific region and Europe as well. With the road ahead for cloud kitchens certainly looking bright, it seems safe to bet on grubtech’s prospects as well- and we’re certainly looking forward to its growth story.
TREP’ TALK: MOHAMED AL-FAYED, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, GRUBTECH
Can you list what have been the biggest challenges and benefits while doing business in Dubai?
“If I reflect on some of our challenges, I would say that convincing some early investors that innovation can indeed be born in this region was hard. We have a stereotype of being followers or copying successful business models from abroad. But in grubtech’s case, we truly believe we brought genuine innovation to the sector and are proud to have done so from the Middle East. Starting up in Dubai has been a seamless journey- from company formation, to hiring and onboarding the initial wave of talent. Dubai enjoys a powerful brand that makes it easy to attract top notch talent from all over the world.”
Why did you choose your startup to be a part of in5, and what has been the biggest benefit that you have experienced through it?
“in5 has created an ecosystem of likeminded founders who have a common passion. It has given us the frameworks and removed a lot of the barriers from the foundational work that goes into building a startup. From subsidies on licensing costs, to office space to the numerous talks and subject matter experts they involve on a monthly basis, there is always someone you can ask for help.”
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs, especially during the COVID-19 crisis?
“There is never a right time to take your leap of faith, it takes courage and grit to chart a path into the unknown. That’s what makes the journey exciting and rewarding. If I was to share one lesson, it’s to be obsessed with your idea to a fanatical level, you will face many bumps along the road, but that faith and grit will get you through any obstacle you will encounter.”