The food truck business has gained popularity in the Middle East in recent years as a way for entrepreneurs to offer a variety of food options to customers. Food trucks can be found in urban areas, at events and festivals, and at tourist attractions, among other places.
One of the benefits of starting a food truck business in the Middle East is the relatively low start-up costs compared to opening a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant. In addition, food trucks offer flexibility in terms of location and can be moved to different areas depending on demand.
However, starting a food truck business in the Middle East also has its challenges. For example, food truck operators may need to obtain permits and licenses to operate in different municipalities or regions and may need to comply with local food safety regulations. Additionally, the food truck business may also face competition from other food trucks and restaurants and will need to invest in marketing and advertising to stand out. These challenges can be overwhelming for young food truck operators who know how to offer great tasting food but struggle to maintain their business and grow their brand. This is where Spot comes in.
Ahmed Al Fahim, CEO and Founder of Spot was a food truck owner himself, having a single food truck that served speciality coffee gave him the insights he needed to fully understand what this market needed to reach it’s potential. “The business of food trucks is fairly a new industry that started in the UAE. There was a lot of hype around it in the beginning. It was less risk and more creativity. It picked up fast and I saw an opportunity that we could capitalise on.” Says Ahmed.
The boom of the food truck industry led to traditional F&B brands joining in. We see more and more restaurants and F&B concepts utilising food trucks to position themselves where the traffic is. Similarly, to the idea of cloud kitchens, big brands quickly realised the power of mobile food businesses.
What Ahmed saw in this trend at the time was, community. A spot that housed different food truck entrepreneurs, giving customers options and the convenience of drive-throughs. From its early days at a single food truck park in Abu Dhabi in 2019, Spot has dominated the UAE’s on-the-go-dining F&B industry. Today, Spot stands out from the rest of the F&B pack – consistently exceeding guest expectations by delivering variety in local, fresh, and unique menu offerings for street food lovers.
Located at easily accessible and buzzing locations in the vicinity of consumer-friendly areas across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, Spot has seven locations, hosting over 70 F&B operators.
“Spot is the ecosystem; we create a space and an opportunity. We provide the development of the space, and the products themselves are the food trucks. We curate an enhanced experience for the patrons coming in, with the atmosphere, the variety of food, the value for money, and the overall time spent in the space.” Says Ahmed.
In addition to providing a spot for food trucks and patrons to connect, Spot also acts as an incubator for mobile F&B entrepreneurs. When newbies join Spot, Ahmed, and his team support them with more than just a place to park their trucks, Spot helps food truck businesses step up their licenses, curate their menus and prices, find the right locations, the right customers, and more.
Spot also considers itself as a tech platform. The leading F&B operator in Abu Dhabi has launched a drive-thru application to revolutionise on-the-go dining. Customers and food operators at Spot food truck parks can take advantage of the convenient, cost-effective app that charges no fees. Customers can locate their nearest food trucks through an in-app map service, pre-order meals and get them delivered to their cars, providing an efficient alternative to long queues, and waiting times.
Within the ‘Spot- Drive Thru Pickup’ app, users can simultaneously browse options, offers, and order from multiple chains at once, with rewards of up to 20% off at several of the food trucks. While food truck operators can access the free of charge digital platform at a 0% commission rate – an industry first that will reduce pressure for operators in a highly competitive sector. The app is available to download on iOS and Android, and with this app Spot aims to expand across the UAE to a wider community of customers.
When it comes to unlocking a larger pool of food patrons, Ahmed’s focus stretches far beyond just the food trucks in his ecosystem. “We want to reach as many people as possible with our Spot app. We want people to get fair value for their money, collect rewards, enjoy delicious food, and become part of our family. We think this is just the start of an industry that can grow extremely big within and outside the GCC.” Given Spot’s current track record, it’s safe to assume we will be seeing more food truck parks in the future, so if you’re a budding food truck entrepreneur or a hungry foodie on the go, be sure to look for Spot.
|More about Ahmed Al Fahim, CEO and Founder, Spot
Emirati serial entrepreneur Ahmed Al Fahim is the Founder and CEO of Spot – the leading F&B operator in Abu Dhabi.
Over the last decade, Ahmed has played a variety of roles in his entrepreneurial journey as the founder of startups Mass Events (an events agency), The Rage (an annual flagship event), Scoot Mobility (an Emirati electric scooter mobility sharing company to equip the local community with cost-effective and eco-friendly transport solutions), Shot Specialty Coffee (a premium specialty coffee brand operating across 8 locations in the UAE) and Spot (the leading F&B operator in Abu Dhabi, which provides spaces or ‘spots’ to popular local F&B brands to nurture their business growth).
What sets Ahmed apart is the unique position and perspective he has always maintained, which is grounded in a hardcore innovation with deep roots in community-based entrepreneurship. His intense creativity and curiosity have always led him to explore disruptive approaches to solve economic and social problems, while empowering SMEs through cost-effective and traffic-driving business solutions.
Ahmed, a Griffith University Alumni through the Bachelor of Business Undergraduate program, holds a degree in Human Resource Management and a post graduate degree in International Affairs from Zayed University, UAE. He has also undertaken an executive certification from the Wharton Business School in Pennsylvania