The UAE’s biggest cloud kitchen platform for virtual restaurants, kaykroo, has announced the launch of its Entrepreneur Programme, which will offer independent concepts from across the globe a foothold into new markets.
Starting with the broader region, the foodtech company, headquartered in Dubai, has secured exclusive partnerships with select establishments from Lebanon and Turkey, giving them the opportunity to exponentially scale their business. As part of its longer-term strategy, kaykroo will go on to explore additional collaborations in other international markets, such as Europe, the United States and Asia.
“Part of our mission when we launched kaykroo was to bring international flavours to the UAE community. We’ve been doing that with our own brand portfolio, which covers a range of cuisines, but we now wanted to give restaurateurs, who have achieved success in their home markets, the same opportunity. This is especially important at a time when people aren’t able to travel as easily or frequently – being able to give them a taste of home, or something new and different, was a real priority for us,” says Jihad El-Eit, founder and CEO of kaykroo.
The first cohort will include Beirut-based micro diner Husk, known for its menu of burgers, sandwiches and salads, and a fresh new concept from Lamb House, the Levantine institution which has been serving authentic and traditional fare for over 35 years.
Joining them is another Beirut favourite, Lahmajun, and Istanbul’s Nelipide, which is bringing its selection of oven-baked savoury pies to UAE homes for the first time.
Entrepreneurs participating in the programme will benefit from working with kaykroo’s team of innovation and technology experts to adapt their menus to a delivery model, from sourcing the most suitable local suppliers to developing purpose-fit operational manuals which will ensure scalability without compromising on quality.
“This initiative has never been about simply franchising big food chains – we’re big believers in supporting fellow entrepreneurs. All programme participants are independent operators, who we selected for their passion and ability to create unique experiences,” adds El-Eit.
Within just one month, customers will be able to experience these new menus, prepared and delivered from one of kaykroo’s 15 full-service cloud kitchens across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain. In Q2 2021, kaykroo’s operations will expand to Saudi Arabia, with the planned opening of its first facility in Riyadh.
kaykroo has already demonstrated its capabilities in evolving brick-and-mortar dine-in restaurants into a ‘brick-and-click’ offering, with the digital transformation of its own concepts, such as Man’oushe Street. The team will apply the same data-driven approach when guiding programme participants through the process of kick-starting their UAE operations.
Ramzi El Far, founder and managing partner of Husk Beirut, says: “It’s taken us a long time to find the right partner to explore our growth beyond Lebanon. As a small business, we take pride in the experience we’re creating for each customer, so it’s important that whoever we work with is equally invested in our success, and has the know-how to guide us on how to enter new markets. kaykroo’s tech capabilities and understanding of how to bring food brands to life reassured us that this was the right gateway for our expansion into the rest of the region, and hopefully one day, beyond.”
“All of our restaurants were born out of a love for great food, and the desire to share this with the world. From this, we have built a legacy in Lebanon. The last year has been very challenging, but one of the best decisions we have made was to maintain our resilience and bring our legacy to other communities in new markets. We’re really looking forward to working with the kaykroo team to make this a reality, and help our brands continue to thrive,” says Aline Kamakian, owner and CEO of Fig Holding SAL, the company behind Lahmajun, as well as Armenian classics Mayrig and Batchig.
The launch of the Entrepreneur Programme comes following the extension of kaykroo’s Pre-Series A funding round. In October 2020, the company announced that it had raised $4 million, with an additional $3 million bridge round closing this month. Based on current discussions with prospective restaurateurs, kaykroo aims to introduce 15 additional concepts as part of the programme by the end of 2021.