A year ago, we expanded our operations into Riyadh, KSA. Moving into a new market is challenging as it is, but having to introduce a whole new concept to consumers posed its own set of difficulties. The plus side? We now had our new family of Kitopians to rely on. Despite these challenges, we made it possible to build and scale in the Kingdom.
Fast forward to one glorious year later, our extraordinary team has grown, we have partnered with a large number of reputable brands, and have opened up multiple kitchens across Riyadh...with so much more to come!
Celebrating these accomplishments, we have spoken to Yasmeen Al Khatieb- Head of Growth in KSA, and Paul Zoghbi- Regional Managing Director in KSA to really know what the last year has been like….
What’s been the most surprising part of the job so far?
Yasmeen: There were a lot of elements that surprised me. The fact that we were able to launch as many kitchens as we did in just one year was very exciting. It’s crazy to think that when I first joined Kitopi, we started off as a team of only 4 Kitopians and now we are a team of over 150! Also, being the first cloud kitchen in KSA has given us the opportunity to educate brands and work with them to maximize their profitability. It has definitely been an educational curve for the market as well.
Paul: The scale and growth potential of the industry in KSA is phenomenal. Another aspect that surprises me is the level of excitement and engagement we experience when communicating with brands about Kitopi - they always seem blown away by the tech solution so we work hard to make it feasible for them.
How many kitchens have opened up in a year?
Yasmeen: We’ve opened up 7 kitchens across Riyadh since we’ve started, with more to come.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Paul: In the next three months, we will provide full coverage in Jeddah, and quadruple our capacity in Riyadh.
What was your most rewarding & challenging experience you can recount?
Yasmeen: Since we were the first movers in the cloud kitchen space here in KSA, educating the market about the concept was the most challenging yet rewarding experience.
The exposure and experiences gained throughout the process of selling the dream while simultaneously making it a reality was by far one of the most fruitful outcomes. I’m proud to be part of an organization that empowers women in a man-driven industry and look forward to exploring new heights and challenges in the year to come.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice this time last year, what would it be?
Yasmeen: It’s definitely been an exciting year, but if I could tell myself one thing, it would be “No matter the obstacle, lead by example and let the rest follow”.
Paul: I would say, go faster!