New cloud-kitchen startup ‘Kitch’ launches in Kingdom, UAE

New cloud-kitchen startup ‘Kitch’ launches in Kingdom, UAE
Kitch has been founded by Fahad Alhokair and Walid Hajj.
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Updated 02 February 2021

New cloud-kitchen startup ‘Kitch’ launches in Kingdom, UAE

New cloud-kitchen startup ‘Kitch’ launches in Kingdom, UAE

Kitch, the region’s first hybrid, delivery-focused, cloud kitchen and premium storefront operator, has launched in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

Kitch, a brand-name coined to represent two important aspects of the business — kitchen and technology, is the brainchild of regional F&B expert Walid Hajj and Saudi entrepreneur Fahad Alhokair. The startup makes its foray into the F&B sector with a privately raised capital of $15 million. The tech-integrated, virtual restaurants and brick-and-mortar facilities of Kitch will offer brands state-of-the-art avenues to enter new markets as well as provide an option to diversify and scale their food delivery and customer engagement with minimal investment.

Kitch will offer a mix of new and existing brands in the region in addition to international franchises. The team will also test new restaurant concepts, menu items, and seasonal brands to deliver a differentiated customer experience.

The hybrid food-tech startup is set to open four delivery kitchens in Riyadh within the first quarter of 2021 and an additional 15 kitchens across the GCC in the rest of the year. Each delivery kitchen is spread over an area of 450 square meters to 500 square meters and is fully equipped to house around 10 food concepts.

Hajj, co-founder and CEO of Kitch, said: “We are thrilled to launch the region’s first hybrid cloud-kitchen and premium store-front operator Kitch. Saudi Arabia and the UAE offer huge potential for this concept, and we are looking to be a part of an industry valued at over $3 billion. 

“Our operational value-chain model and carefully curated portfolio of brands will reimagine the restaurant experience, allowing consumers to enjoy high-quality food from the comfort and convenience of their homes, and at the same time provide food concept owners a platform to explore the market and increase their customer base beyond their physical locations.”

Alhokair, co-founder of Kitch, said: “We are constantly on the lookout for new investment opportunities and we see a strong growth potential and bright future in the hybrid cloud-kitchen model of Kitch in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. We are looking to feature a diverse set of concepts to meet the changing trends and demographics that affect the F&B industry. Whether you are an entrepreneur thinking of opening your first food concept or an F&B leader who is looking to expand, Kitch’s flexible hybrid model will help you meet your purpose.”

Kitch’s team of F&B operators, brand strategists, and technology specialists is led by chief operating officer Yousef Al-Barqawi.


Mastercard Installments gives consumers more payment choices

Mastercard Installments gives consumers more payment choices
Updated 26 January 2022

Mastercard Installments gives consumers more payment choices

Mastercard Installments gives consumers more payment choices

Mastercard has expanded Mastercard Installments, its innovative “buy now, pay later” program that delivers greater choice at checkout, both in-store and online, to consumers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The BNPL program will meet growing consumer demand for flexible, digital-first payment options, and support the region’s e-commerce ecosystem through a new program focused on providing consumers choice.

Mastercard Installments — set to go live later this year — uses the power of the company’s trusted network to make BNPL available to millions of consumers and merchants worldwide. It enables banks, lenders, fintech companies, and wallets to offer a variety of flexible installment options to consumers, including a zero percent interest, pay-in-four model. Implementation is handled by Mastercard and the acquirer with no lift to the merchant to offer this new payment choice, and no disruption to the existing customer experience.

Mastercard is working with leading partners representing a significant market share in the region including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Network International, and National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE and Saudi National Bank in the Kingdom.

Mastercard Installments enables consumers to digitally access BNPL offers, either pre-approved through their lender’s mobile banking app or through instant approval during checkout. Consumers will have full transparency on lender practices up-front during the approval process, and unlike most current BNPL offerings, consumers will continue to benefit from zero liability fraud protection, the ability to challenge unrecognized charges, and the peace of mind that comes with Mastercard’s acceptance footprint.

Khalid Elgibali, division president for Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard, said: “Above everything, consumers today demand flexibility and choice. With Mastercard Installments, we want to give people the choice to pay how, when and where they want. This most recent product innovation builds on the trust between businesses and their customers with ‘buy now, pay later’ options benefitting everyone in the ecosystem.”

As Mastercard continues to design solutions for an evolving digital economy, we see BNPL becoming a standard for shopping, and we look forward to implementing this offering in the UAE and Saudi Arabia later this year.”

The Mastercard Installments program helps merchants scale BNPL offerings to consumers to turn convenience into a competitive advantage. BNPL solutions have been shown to increase average sales by 45 percent and reduce cart abandonment by 35 percent post-implementation. The program provides seamless merchant integration with a streamlined process for millions of merchants who already accept Mastercard. Meanwhile, acquiring banks can offer installments capabilities to their entire merchant base with minimal, simple integration.


F&B company Kerry Group opens new facility in Jeddah

F&B company Kerry Group opens new facility in Jeddah
Updated 26 January 2022

F&B company Kerry Group opens new facility in Jeddah

F&B company Kerry Group opens new facility in Jeddah

Kerry Group, a taste and nutrition company, officially opened a new 21,500-square-feet state-of-the-art facility in Jeddah. The company has invested more than €80 million ($90 million) in the region over the past four years. This new facility, which is Kerry’s largest in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region, is said to be one of the most modern and efficient in the world and will produce nutritious and sustainable food ingredients, which will be distributed across the Middle East.

Through the new facility, which currently employs 130 people, Kerry will utilize its global innovation technologies that are adapted to local tastes to help food and beverage companies meet the growing consumer demand in the region for healthier, tastier and more sustainable food and beverages, particularly in snack, meat and bakery sectors.

Edmond Scanlon, chief executive of Kerry Group, said: “This new facility underscores our full support of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to delight and nourish Saudi consumers by serving the region’s large and growing food and beverage market. By investing in the local economy, we are supporting the development and activities of local food and beverage companies, creating faster response times for customers and bolstering the local community by creating high-value jobs. There has been a Kerry presence in Saudi since 2018, when we acquired the company AATCO, and we look forward to continuing to grow our business in this important market.”

Peter Dillane, vice president and general manager, Kerry Middle East, India, Sub-Saharan Africa, added: “Our local investment in consumer research enables us to predict global and regional trends and customize to local taste preferences. We can also provide immediate solutions for rapid product development and delivery, from streamlining supply chains with local warehousing and flexible production, availability of ingredients made locally to superior Saudi standards and understanding of local regulatory policies, to reduced lead times to support growing local customers. I am confident the new Jeddah plant will build a sustainable future for the Saudi market through waste reduction, environmentally responsible practices and delicious, nutritious food products consumers will value. We are proud to support this exciting evolution in the region’s food and beverage industry.”

As part of Kerry’s Beyond the Horizon sustainability commitment, the new facility is also making an important environmental difference. Since 2018, the factory carbon footprint has been reduced by 35 percent and there has been a 40 percent reduction in water usage. Food safety is paramount and the new facility was built on state-of-the-art ready-to-eat standard of design and construction to uphold the strictest customer requirements for hygiene and food safety. Its stringent humidity and temperature-controlled environment ensures all materials are always fresh and ready to use anytime. The facility is FSSC 22000, HACCP, ISO 22000 and AIBI-certified.


Why Huawei P50 Pro is the must-have phone of 2022

Why Huawei P50 Pro is the must-have phone of 2022
Updated 25 January 2022

Why Huawei P50 Pro is the must-have phone of 2022

Why Huawei P50 Pro is the must-have phone of 2022

Smartphones are a person’s primary window to the wider world online, key communication device and constant companion, helping to work, play, communicate in this digital era and even relax. This is because the best smartphones today are much more than just phones — they come with state-of-the-art cameras, the sleekest designs, humongous batteries that can keep up with our hectic lifestyle, blazing fast-charging speeds, music libraries and much more. Besides, install the right apps on your phone and collaborate it with the right accessories and there is a compelling argument that you do not need any other piece of technology, as most people nowadays would use their phones as the primary device in their daily lives. 

With this in mind, Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia is all set to announce the launch of its new flagship phone: The new Huawei P50 Pro, the latest addition to its P Series product line. With each installment of the P Series continuing the legendary story of Huawei photography, each generation represents the pinnacle of technological aesthetics and smart photography. 

The Huawei P50 Pro returns to the philosophies that sit at the heart of high-end photography, with its True-Form Dual-Matrix Camera that revamps the camera experience from head to toe, an elegant design that is depicted by the Dual-Matrix Camera, and a large battery that supports 66W Wired and 50W Wireless Huawei SuperCharge.

True-Form Dual-Matrix Camera 
The Huawei P50 Pro True-Form Dual-Matrix Camera comprises the powerful Main Camera Matrix and SuperZoom Matrix. The hardware is integrated with the Huawei XD Optics and Huawei XD Fusion Pro image engine, resulting in high-resolution images that are brighter, shot with more light taken in, and cleaner with more details. A new super color filter system with True-Chroma Image Engine and Super HDR technology provides comprehensive enhancements to details, colors and dynamic range. The True-Form Dual-Matrix Camera supports 4K video recording on both the front and rear, providing crystal-clear footage from every angle. 

In addition, if users are looking to photograph faraway objects, they can use the periscope zoom lens that supports maximum zoom range of up to 200 times. 

Dual-Matrix Camera design
Huawei P50 Pro’s design is out of this world. Unlike anything else on the market, the Dual-Matrix Camera design is the perfect combination of form and function. The double ring setup is visually striking and instantly recognizable. The Huawei P50 Pro uses a 3D curved screen with a single punch hole camera. With an HDR display supporting the full P3 color gamut, it delivers a stunning visual experience for both video entertainment and gameplay alike. The display on the Huawei P50 Pro features a 6.6-inch 120 Hz True-Chroma Display with a 300 Hz touch-sampling rate. With an IP68 rating, you can be sure you will be protected from the elements when out and about.

Large battery with SuperCharge support
The Huawei P50 Pro achieves a perfect balance of battery life and fast-charging speed. It incorporates a massive 4,360 mAh battery into its slim body, while also supporting 66W Huawei SuperCharge and 50W Wireless Huawei SuperCharge. 

Super Device features
The Huawei P50 Pro runs on EMUI 12, which offers a straightforward, smooth, safe and reliable user experience for working, studying, gaming, entertainment or video editing. Thanks to the Super Device features, Huawei has consolidated different tools into the Control Panel (Device+) menu. With a simple swipe, users can explore the Control Panel and get quick access to audio playback, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings, making it easier to control multiple devices as if they were controlling just one device.

With the Distributed File System, the Huawei P50 Pro can also function as a wirelessly connected external storage unit for the PC, meaning users can access the files they want more easily than ever before. Using the Huawei P50 Pro, users can also transfer MeeTime calls to Huawei Vision smart TV and conduct the call by taking advantage of the larger display, camera and speakers. Users may also conveniently share their screen during a video and even mark key places, to bring important insights directly into view. 

The Huawei P50 Pro is truly set to revolutionize the flagship phones segment this year and that is why it is being touted as one of the most popular phones of 2022.


Bahraini author’s book on Gandhi to be launched in four languages

Bahraini author’s book on Gandhi to be launched in four languages
Updated 25 January 2022

Bahraini author’s book on Gandhi to be launched in four languages

Bahraini author’s book on Gandhi to be launched in four languages

A virtual launch of the English, Hindi, Urdu and Malayalam editions of the Arabic-language book “Gandhi: His Engagement with Islam and the Arab World,” written by Abdulnabi Alshoala, will be held via Zoom at 4 p.m. on Jan. 26, at the Isa Cultural Center, Manama.

Alshoala will be joined on the occasion by Piyush Srivastava, Indian ambassador to Bahrain; Abdul Rahman Mohammed Juma, chairman of the Bahrain India Society; and Dr. Shobhana Radhakrishna, an internationally renowned Gandhi scholar, who will be the keynote speaker. The book launch event has been organized by the Bahrain India Society.

The book, first published in Arabic two years ago and now in its third print run in the regional language, was snapped up by four different publishing houses in India.

The English-language translation, published by a leading Indian company, is already in its second print run, with the Indian languages versions also ready for the international market.

Alshoala is the chairman of Dar Albilad for Journalism, Publishing and Distribution Co. B.S.C. and the founding chairman and adviser to the board of Alfanar Investment Holding Co. B.S.C. Over his long career, Alshoala has served as minister of labor and social affairs, and later as Cabinet minister of state.

He also served as a member of Bahrain’s advisory council and has also been elected to the board of directors of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Gandhi: His Engagement with Islam and the Arab World” is both Alshoala’s homage to the great Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known by the honorific “Mahatma” (meaning “venerable”), and an effort seeking to address issues faced by Islam and Muslim countries in a Gandhian way.

“Gandhi’s main principle was to solve differences through dialogue,” Alshoala said. “History shows that he was able to wrest the jewel of the British Empire from them through a policy of nonviolence. As we look around this region and see so much conflict and wars all around, this is my humble way of suggesting that non-violence and dialogue would serve all concerned well going forward.”


Il Baretto Riyadh is KAFD’s first dining destination

Il Baretto Riyadh is KAFD’s first dining destination
Updated 25 January 2022

Il Baretto Riyadh is KAFD’s first dining destination

Il Baretto Riyadh is KAFD’s first dining destination

Authentic Italian restaurant Il Baretto has opened its premier international location in Riyadh. The London-born restaurant’s new venue is the first restaurant and dining experience in the King Abdullah Financial District, marking the launch of an exciting new chapter within the heart of the Kingdom’s financial center.

Spanning across 1.6 million square meters, KAFD is an award-winning smart city that serves as a local and regional financial hub. Home to some of the Middle East’s most exclusive office and residential addresses, KAFD is an internationally recognized authority for sustainability and a dynamic destination for business and entertainment.

Co-founded by restaurateurs Arjun Waney of Zuma, Roka, Coya, LPM and The Arts Club, and Giuliano Lotto of Zafferano, Memory of China and Aubergine, Il Baretto is renowned for its simple and authentic Italian menu, which draws influence from specialty dishes and regional Italian produce.

The restaurant, which opened on Nov. 19, 2021, has been launched in partnership with prominent Saudi restaurateur Mohammed Jawa, who holds more than 18 years of experience within the local market.

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The menu includes a curation of Italian favorites as well as modern classics such as veal Milanese, whole sea bass, lobster linguine, salmon carpaccio, and wood-fired northern Italian pizza.

Il Baretto Riyadh, together with Jawa’s forthcoming launches within the district, which are set to include Zuma, Amazonico, Mr. Chow, Aok and Black Tap, are expected to play a pivotal role in the development of KAFD.

The brand’s Riyadh location will showcase Il Baretto’s complete gastronomical offering. The menu includes a curation of Italian favorites as well as modern classics such as veal Milanese, whole sea bass, lobster linguine, salmon carpaccio, and wood-fired northern Italian pizza.

Il Baretto Riyadh merges signature design elements from its Marylebone location with contemporary influences inspired by KAFD, presenting a charming new interior concept that pays homage to its inaugural role as the district’s first restaurant.

The restaurant accommodates guests within its main dining area as well as on an elegant outdoor terrace, offering a relaxed Italian gastronomical experience that reinterprets the warmth and charm of its flagship London venue.