“Today, most restaurant orders come from delivery platforms,” says Mohamad Ballout, co-founder of Kitopi. This reality sparked an idea for launching a Kitchen Utopia, partnering with restaurant giants like Shake Shack, Nathan’s Famous, and Papa Johns to optimize food delivery services.
Mohamad is a two-time Endeavor Entrepreneur who, prior to Kitopi, co-founded BMB Group, one of the largest confectionery businesses in the Middle East. After leaving BMB, he became an investor; he began to explore the restaurant business — an industry that traditionally faces immense obstacles at scale.
Mohamad wondered if he could use the confectionary logic to solve the puzzle: Since candy brands license their products to factories, could food brands do the same to kitchens? So he partnered with his childhood friends, Saman Darkan and Andres Arenas, to start the company.
He launched the company in Dubai in 2017 and expanded to three other countries in the Middle East, besides London and New York. Each kitchen is able to orchestrate 30 brands, divided by working stations. Kitopi works with more than 200 brands in over 60 kitchens, across 5 countries.
The name Kitopi comes from the company’s vision: a Kitchen Utopia. Through an in-house system called Smart Kitchen Operating System, or “SKOS”, the cloud kitchen can maximize efficiency through technology. Beyond renting space, Kitopi actually cooks the meal, and takes care of the entire supply chain, from order to delivery. The system is so well-orchestrated that if a new brand decides to be Kitopi’s partner, their entire menu can be delivered in less than two weeks on the platform.
As new habits rapidly pivoted amidst the pandemic in 2020, food delivery began attracting clients that would traditionally dine-in, and Kitopi experienced a considerable spike in business. This rapid growth led Kitopi to become the third Middle Eastern unicorn in July of 2021.
To accelerate their path towards this mission, the Endeavor UAE advisory board has played a crucial role, guiding Kitopi to catalyze growth, secure capital, and expand into international markets.
" Being a part of Endeavor Outliers has been invaluable. The team introduced us to investors and companies that have helped us scale our business and proven instrumental in helping us secure talent so that we can continue growing."
Co-Founder & CEO, Kitopi
“Our light-bulb moment was when Saman and I were sitting with our executive team and noticed that every single one of them was smarter than us. We were proud of our ability to inspire and attract such talents.”
As Mo, Saman and Andres have grown the business into one of Endeavor’s top-performing companies, so has their commitment to actively give back to the next generation of successful entrepreneurs. A notable example is a mentorship session between Mo and the young aspiring founders of a Colombian startup, Foodology, where the two-time Endeavor Entrepreneur shared personal advice and actionable guidance.
The knowledge that Mo and Saman have acquired in the past six years can save other foodtechs years of mistakes. Sharing the best piece of advice, shortcuts, and best practices are ways of paying it forward. The result? Kitopi’s mission comes even closer to reality, more collectively, and globally.
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