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What's in the Kitch-en?

Using cloud technology, Kitch transforms restaurants for the digital era

By Walid Hajj and Fahad Alhokair

Published: Mon 22 Mar 2021, 8:57 PM

Kitch, the region's first hybrid, delivery-focused, cloud kitchen and premium store-front operator, has partnered with Barbar to expand the operations of the iconic Lebanese restaurant to key cities throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. 

Following the franchise agreement with Kitch, the first Barbar restaurant in the GCC will open in Dubai to be followed by further expansion in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The new 600 square metre Barbar restaurant, located in Hessa Street, will offer both dine-in and delivery services. Eight restaurants and cloud kitchens will be opened in the UAE, and 20 of them will be opened in Saudi Arabia, four of which will start operating in Riyadh in the second quarter of this year. Kitch will also open two Barbar restaurants in Qatar by the beginning of 2022.

Mohammad Ghaziri launched Barbar in 1979 as a small 'Manouche' bakery in front of the famous Piccadilly theatre in the heart of Beirut. Within the first few years of opening, the restaurant gained fame for its delicious manouches and was visited by singers, artists, and celebrities who performed at the theatre. 

As a family business, Barbar was built from the ground up over the years, introducing new products such as shawarma, falafel, fatayer, grills, burgers, ice creams and fruit cocktails to its extensive menu. Barbar has never closed its establishments and continues to remain open 24/7, even during the pandemic and periods of strife. Today, more than a comfort food outlet, Barbar is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Lebanon and regarded as a tourist attraction. 

Walid Hajj, Co-founder and CEO of Kitch, said: "We are honoured to represent Barbar and look forward to bringing the 40-year-old signature recipes and authentic flavours of Lebanon to key cities in the GCC through our hybrid model. As part of our franchise agreement, we will be serving the world-class offerings and delectable menu of Barbar through our premium store-front facilities and cloud-kitchens in the region. The alliance underlines our commitment to further build the F&B sector and deliver a portfolio of exciting brands and innovative culinary offerings. We are confident that our omnichannel cloud kitchen model will further strengthen Barbar's brand positioning and following in the GCC."

Mohammad Al Ghaziri, Founder of Barbar, stated that Barbar plans to expand its operations globally based on its fame in Lebanon. He said: "We are thrilled to partner with Kitch as we focus on expanding our business to international markets. With this strategic partnership, we will be able to accelerate our expansion plans and bolster our presence in key markets in a relatively short span of time. The technology-led, business model of Kitch is going to be the future of both the global and regional cloud-kitchen industries. We are looking forward to offering our wide selection of Lebanese flavours to the diverse population of the UAE and Saudi Arabia through Kitch's brick-and-mortar facilities and virtual kitchens." 

Kitch is the brainchild of Fahad Alhokair and Walid Hajj's mission to be at the forefront of food innovation and take the kitchen in the cloud concept to the next level through a more flexible, hybrid cloud approach. The company entered the F&B sector earlier this year with privately raised capital of $15 million. It aims to achieve operational excellence and set industry benchmarks by offering an integrated, next-generation model that focuses on quality over quantity.

Kitch plans to open four delivery kitchens in Riyadh in the second quarter of this year and additional 15 kitchens across the GCC by the end of 2021. Each delivery kitchen is spread over an area of 450 to 500 square metre and is fully equipped to serve around 10 food concepts. Kitch is also in discussion with several regional and international food-concept owners and will be unveiling more brand partnerships in the coming months. 

Walid Hajj and Fahad Alhokair are co-founders of Kitch


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