Online food order and delivery has just had a big year in Saudi Arabia. And the growth numbers will continue to be red-hot for a lot longer. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The cloud kitchen concept is spreading in Saudi Arabia’s urban centres, with foodtech company Matbakhi the latest to take aim at growth chances in online food ordering.

Matbakhi will have twin process in play to make things happen; first, it will work closely with hotels with in-house kitchens that are under-utilised. The other approach will see the company tie up with young chefs to incubate their ‘incredible menus into soulful brands’.

“The way food is conceptualized, sourced, cooked, delivered, and consumed is evolving by the minute,” said Joe Frem, Matbakhi’s co-founder and CEO. “Matbakhi aims to make food you want accessible in your neighbourhood, make it convenient to order, and ensure that it is delivered to your doorstep in minutes, while you’re still looking forward to that taste and experience.

“We are erasing the physical distance between consumers and restaurants, reimagining the restaurant experience, and allowing consumers to enjoy high-quality food from the comfort and convenience of their homes or hotel rooms.”

Making those kitchens work to full

As for its planned tie-ins with hotels, ‘repurposing’ underutilised kitchen spaces through cloud kitchens can help improve those businesses’ revenue streams. “On the hotel side, the F&B vertical is still causing a lot of challenges to hotel owners and GMs, forcing them to make tight decisions that impact customer experience,” said Frem. “Matbakhi addresses these challenges.”

Saudi Arabia’s online food delivery, valued at $4.71 billion in 2022, is expected to expand at a CAGR of 10.98 per cent over a six-year period to reach $8.8 billion by 2028, according to Innovius Research’s 2022 market report.

On the consumer side, in many countries in the region, average delivery times are still reaching one hour during peak hours. This not only reduces the quality of the food, but also directly affects the customer experience

- - Joe Frem of Matbakhi