Dubai: UAE’s grocery space is proving a compelling attraction - even for cloud kitchen providers.
Sweetheart Kitchen, one of the bigger names in virtual kitchens, has extended its reach into grocery retail with the launch of Sweetheart Mart in the UAE and Kuwait.
It’s a hefty market to be in, with the online side of grocery sales in the UAE valued at $1.1 billion.
Sweetheart Mart is retailing 1,000 imported and ‘hard-to-find’ confectionaries, drinks and healthy snacks, which can be delivered in under 30 minutes. As has been the case with other vendors who are in the space, the company is deploying on-demand transport infrastructure and ‘strategically placed distribution hubs to deliver in a fraction of the time of other grocery platforms’.
“With our hub and spoke infrastructure and the extensive market coverage we offer through our kitchen network, it was only natural to expand our customer offerings beyond just our F&B brands,” said Adib Samara, VP – Global Brand & Marketing. “We can now provide customers immediate access to consumer goods by launching several online, delivery-only, specialty stores.”
Adding to its food strengths
The company is not done pushing the envelope on where it wants to be. It has launched Sweetheart Foodservice, at a time when the UAE fast food industry is expected to hit $4.5 billion this year. The catering services side of it will put in a likely growth of 6 per cent.
Sweetheart Foodservice works with more than 100 vendors to produce food for restaurants, schools, hospitals, catering operations and food service vendors. (This is collective known as the ‘HoReCa’ trade channel.) “Sweetheart Kitchen has a manufacturing facility with the ability and capacity to produce food at scale,” said Karim Chouman, CEO – MENA. “With that in mind, we have launched the Sweetheart Foodservice division that enhances our production and also allows us sell and distribute high-quality semi-finished goods to other restaurants and hotels.”
Starting with a kitchen
Sweetheart Kitchen was launched as a delivery-only multi-brand virtual kitchen with a portfolio of more than 25 quick service and fast-food concepts. These include Mr. Rice Guy, Gorilla Burger, Wingo, Avocado Bravo, Affordabowls, and Training Day to name a few.
The Dubai-based start-up is now home for 24 kitchens across the UAE and Kuwait, and with plans to expand across the GCC and Saudi Arabia.