By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Global cloud kitchen platform Kitopi eyes expansion in Abu Dhabi, as well as Saudi Arabia
Global cloud kitchen platform Kitopi is launching an online shop for groceries and other food items, with deliveries taking place within an hour anywhere in Dubai, the company has announced.
The beta version of the initiative, ‘Shop Kitopi’ was launched earlier in May. More than 800 food items are already available on the platform.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Ekta Bhojwani, Kitopi’s vice president, consumer and partnerships, said that the while the initiative had already been considered, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic highlighted the demand.
“We thought we’d eventually do it. The crisis hit and it seemed like a good time to fast track this,” she said. “Habits have changed. [People] are at home and want to cook more, or are trying to limit their exposure to going outside.”
For Kitopi, whose core business is offering cloud kitchen services to restaurants, the Shop Kitopi concept was “not a big jump”.
“We have the supply chain, and these warehouses stacked in which we always have availability of products. It seemed like a good time to do it and get it out,” Bhojwani said.
“We’re using all the same tech [as in the core business] and we’re using a lot of the same team, which is basically working in a facility fit for purpose. All we really had to design was to build a fit-for-purpose warehouse to get orders out,” she added.
To use the service, customers first place an order through the service’s website – shopkitopi.com – or through a select aggregator, which is then received at the Shop Kitopi facility and prepared. Each item is separately packed, with the final order being placed in safely secured cardboard boxes.
In addition to groceries – which are fresh, delivered daily to the Shop Kitopi facility – the platform offers frozen and pre-prepped foods.
According to the company, orders are received by customers within the hour.
“Because of our core business, we have access to over 4,000 drivers,” Bhojwani said. “Logistics didn’t end up being an issue. We had the whole infrastructure. For us it was like another brand, rather than changing our systems completely.”
Looking to the future, Bhojwani said that Shop Kitopi is likely to expand to other Kitopi markets in the coming months.
“We’re already figuring out how we’ll launch this next into Abu Dhabi. Very closely after that, we’ll look at Saudi and Kuwait,” she said. “It makes very much sense to have this as an offering in each of the countries we’re present in. In the next few months you’ll see us expanding.”
Kitopi operates 30 kitchens and has more than 100 restaurant partners across the US, UAE, KSA, UK and Kuwait.
In February, the company announced that it raised 60 million in a Series B round led by Knolllwood Investment Advisory and Lumia capital.
The series B round – which is designed to fund growth – follows an earlier round that raised $27.2 million in 2018.