Led by CEO and co-founder Mohamed Al Fayed, UAE-based tech startup Grubtech is revolutionizing the way cloud kitchens and restaurants operate, thanks to a comprehensive solution that enables efficient operations management. It operates in 23 countries, managing millions of orders for large organizations such as Delivery Hero’s Talabat, Burger King, Subway, and Texas Chicken. The journey to get there wasn’t without pitfalls but is now on track to transform the whole F&B ecosystem.
Mohamed Al Fayed, Co-founder and CEO of Grubtech
Bringing the F&B industry into the 21st century
Grubtech was born out of Al Fayed’s appetite for challenges, on top of his business acumen. A tech disruptor and global entrepreneur with a deep understanding of retail and e-commerce, based on extensive experience with renowned brands like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Al Fayed was looking for a new project he could grow from scratch and call his own. “I’m a builder. I like to build a zero-to-one journey. After building awesome platforms for Gap and Ounass and everything else, I didn’t feel like the journey was as challenging as it was anymore. And I really wanted to go back to that,” he explains.
Following a visit to a cloud kitchen, Al Fayed quickly recognized the need for digital transformation in the food and beverage (F&B) industry and saw the perfect opportunity to bring real value to an industry in dire need of innovation. “I went to my first cloud kitchen and walked away with pattern recognition, seeing the same things that had happened in apparel and beauty happening in pizzas and burgers,” he says. “The customers demanding convenience, the technology of the hospitality space seemingly stuck in the 90s... It hadn’t been omnified to be able to cater to all the different sales channels and journeys. So, the light bulb went on and I said, ‘ I want to build something new, and this seems to fit the bill.’”
Grubtech was established in 2019, and Covid-19 was yet to happen. Although the F&B sector has been historically slow, if not reluctant, to adopt technology, the pandemic left industry players with no choice but to move with the times, and fast. Al Fayed explains, “Hospitality as a whole has been renowned to be laggards for adopting technology. The customers had shifted, they wanted to pay by QR code or order from the table using their phones, and all of that got pushed into fifth gear because of the pandemic. You had a sudden jolt or catalyst, where digitization caught these guys off guard.”
Circumstances were ideal for Grubtech to offer the perfect solution. Its low-cost, highly configurable platform bridges the gap between traditional and digital operations, automating processes, enhancing customer experiences, and empowering restaurants to effectively compete in the digital age. “[We] can bolt on to pretty much anything that they have on the counter today, or completely replace what they have on the counter today to give them that competitive advantage and meet the customer where they need to meet them,” says Al Fayed.
Grubtech’s end-to-end operating system includes an omnichannel point of sale, integration with food aggregators, interactive kitchen display systems, menu and recipe management, AI reporting and analytics, advanced marketing capabilities, and customer management portals, among other features.
A recipe for success
Under Al Fayed’s and his co-founders Mohamed Hamedi and Omar Rifai’s leadership, Grubtech’s client portfolio has experienced rapid growth, with a diverse clientele that includes enterprises with multiple locations such as Subway and Burger King, as well as standalone boutique cloud kitchens.
At a time of rising inflation and thin profit margins, Grubtech’s cost-effective solutions minimize additional manpower while offering tangible benefits without straining the budget of its clients. This positioning as a middleman in the F&B industry is the reason why Al Fayed wouldn’t comment on the recent rumors of corporate tax increases and the resulting fee raises by food delivery aggregators in the UAE, rather focusing on how to best support the ecosystem. “The spaces are dynamic and there’s always experimentation. We’ve probably changed our pricing at least six times in the last 10 months. We’ve all been sitting around the table, trying to figure out how best to survive as organizations without destroying the ultimate customer we’re serving. Whatever today is, I’m sure it’s going to be different tomorrow,” he says, emphasizing that Grubtech aims to create a win-win environment based on collaboration. “Ultimately, Grubtech is a dynamic middleman that wants to see overall growth and success within the F&B industry, as it relies on others to succeed. If restaurants and F&B platforms grow, so does Grubtech,” he adds.
As the industry continues to evolve, Grubtech remains at the forefront, adapting to new challenges and driving digital transformation in the F&B sector, and empowering restaurants and cloud kitchens to thrive in the digital age.