Entrepreneur Middle East's Achieving Women 2017: Nathalie Haddad
When it comes to women who have pushed boundaries and challenged preconceptions, it is often evident that shattering glass ceilings has not been a goal for itself, but a mere consequence of their hard work. With a 12-year-long entrepreneurial journey behind her, Nathalie Haddad, founder and Managing Director of Right Bite Nutrition and Catering Services, the mother company of Right Bite Express and Nathalie's Café, explains that building a holistic nutrition and healthy catering company, with nutrition education at the center of its operations and business, has been a gradual process of her tirelessly responding to customer needs.
Born in Abu Dhabi, Haddad was educated abroad, obtaining a bachelor of science in nutrition and dietetics degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and a Master's of Science in nutrition from McGill University, Canada, before returning to the UAE in 2001 to start counseling people on how to make educated food choices. Right Bite Nutrition and Catering Services started as a meal plan delivery service, but it has since grown into a specialized center for expert nutritional consultation and bespoke gourmet healthy meal delivery service. Haddad explains that a continuous year-on-year growth in revenue, customer acquisition and a high percentage of customer retention were some of the parameters that were indicative of her having built a scalable business model.
"Our strategy was based on organic growth and focusing on the details in everything we do," she says. "The infrastructure required for the growth phase of Right Bite was strongly reliant on our internal team. It was about ensuring that all the team were aligned with our company values, focusing on being customer-centric and providing a high level of service, from the nutrition consultations with our dietician to the food that we prepare and deliver every day, and to our customer service and delivery team. In addition, our infrastructure and team are being developed in line with the growth that we have been experiencing, and we have been developing the skill sets accordingly."
However, Haddad adds that staying true to the company's core values and beliefs has remained one of the most important aspects at Right Bite. "Our vision is to be a go-to expert team for all things health and nutrition-related," she says. "Customer satisfaction is one of the most important criteria that our business growth strategy had to satisfy as happy customers who have achieved their health goals have been our biggest advocates. Word of mouth is the most powerful tool in our industry." A pioneer in the UAE healthy meal delivery market, Haddad has developed various programs to cater for different customers' needs, including Renew You, Balanced Mom Fuel Up, Selective Plus, Mighty Lunchables, and Right Bite Cleanse, and Low-Carb. Most recently, Right Bite Express, the company's demand delivery service, and Nathalie's Coffee & Kitchen, a coffee and kitchen concept launched in 2012, were among 13 food establishments that received Full Restaurant Certification by the Dubai Municipality during the pilot phase of its Eat Healthy, Live Healthy campaign. The two food outlets are now privileged to use the municipality's Healthy Food Logo on their menu card. Committed to health and wellness of her consumers, Haddad says that she will continue focusing on the nutrition consultancy and personalized meal packages since these have remained both the company's core business and its biggest strength throughout the years.
"Transitioning from a startup to a scaleup is very much in line with being a startup again, revisiting the company strategy, the team, our offering and systems, and ensuring that they can take you to the next level," Haddad says. "The biggest challenge was being clear on the strategy and focusing on one aspect of the business rather than diversifying into different channels or verticals. Once I was able to achieve this, everything else fell into place." Her tips for her peers in the ecosystem? "My advice to other entrepreneurs would be to take a step back from the business, [and] look at where you want to be three to five years from now," she replies. "There is no right or wrong answer, but it depends on what you, as an entrepreneur, want for yourself and for your team. Based on that, make sure that your team is aligned, and that you have the right people to help you to get to where you want to go."