Watermelon Market is streamlining the procurement process within the F&B sector

Watermelon Market is streamlining the procurement process within the F&B sector 

Watermelon Market offers an all-in-one food supply ordering platform for F&B businesses, connecting them with relevant suppliers and allowing them to manage, track, and pay for orders through a seamless system.

With the growing role of the F&B market in the UAE’s economy, we are seeing more and more companies step up to the forefront to disrupt legacy aspects of the sector that remain primarily analogue and inefficient. This digital transformation was only accelerated with the advent of the pandemic.

Among these digital disruptors is Watermelon Market, a foodtech e-procurement platform founded in the UAE. 

The company offers an all-in-one food supply ordering platform for F&B businesses, from restaurants to cafes and everything in between, connecting them with relevant suppliers and allowing their clients to manage, track, and pay for orders through a seamless system.

Today, the company only operates in the UAE, but has plans to expand further in the GCC. Currently, over 400 restaurants are using the platform, and over 200 suppliers are available for them to purchase from. 

Omar Al Shamsi, Co-founder and CEO of Watermelon Market, has shared insights with the Abu Dhabi SME Hub about his company. 

Watermelon Market founders

Let's circle back to the early days of Watermelon Market. How did the idea behind the business originate, and what market gap were you trying to fill?

Watermelon Market was founded in 2021, by myself and Archya Sengupta. While I was managing my cafe, I identified issues within the procurement process that I found to be frustrating. Then I met Archya, a techie at heart, and between us, the idea to create a tech-based platform that disrupted the traditionally rigid procurement process was born. Through Watermelon Market, we are filling the gap for an all-in-one, free and easy-to-use, simple procurement platform. Users can receive accurate insights and data, and know what products on their menu are sold and what needs to be replenished, which eliminates overordering, resulting in less food waste and money saved. 

What are Watermelon Market's core services, and what kind of companies represent your client base?

Watermelon Market offers an integrated platform, that is an all-in-one e-Procurement solution and is free to use for both suppliers and restaurant owners to use.  

Our clients sit on both sides of the field, as we have suppliers who offer products, and we have the restaurant/café owners who purchase the products. We currently have over 400 restaurants using the platform and over 200 suppliers available to them. 

How did COVID-19 impact your clients' supply chains, and how did your business adapt to these changes?

As we launched post-pandemic, we didn’t directly feel the impact of COVID-19 on our business. But if anything, this was our opportunity to develop and launch. COVID-19 forced a lot of F&B businesses to adapt and evolve to be more digital savvy—we saw this due to the increased demand for delivery when dining-in wasn’t an option, and it continued even when dining-in was back on.

What challenges did you face during your entrepreneurial journey?

There were a few challenges we faced, and they all occurred in parallel. In the beginning, we had the challenge of developing the platform on time. Afterwards, there was the integration challenge ensuring all our different components worked seamlessly together. At the same time, we had the challenge of putting together a really strong team, as well as introducing a brand-new concept to the market. 

Many who have adopted our system gave us excellent feedback and we are continuously adding those features to our system. This is another challenge we are facing since we are updating the system while it was also being built at the same time. Adapting and evolving to the market needs while we grow our capability. This is one of the hardest challenges we are currently facing. 

What's next for Watermelon Market? Any new services/products, or expansion plans we can look forward to?

We have big plans for Watermelon Market, which includes expansion across the GCC. We plan on opening offices in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to start with. We are always updating our in-house developed tech to make the platform better for our users, giving them access to stronger and more useful insights and data. Later this year, we are looking at launching a B2C platform to complement our current B2B platform.

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