Foodtech to Fintech: A deeper insight with the Founder

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FOODICS, a Saudia Arabia-based all-in-one restaurant management platform raised about a $20M Series B funding round at the start of the year. The funding round was led by Sanabil Investments and was also co-led by STV earlier this year. Other investors included Derayah, Endeavor Catalyst, and Elm in the same round.

We did have a proper opportunity to look at the F&B tech startup and how the platform worked from our point of view. Ahmad Al-Zaini, the CEO and Founder of the platform discussed how it’s an honor to be recognized as a Fintech company by SAMA. He also discussed what 2020 brought to the table during the startup and why they’re straightly looking towards the Egyptian market. Because there lie their wider plans for the company in the future.

How does FOODICS work?

The platform allows an all-in-one POS and SaaS management to the platform by helping restaurant owners smoothly run their business on it. The platform pretty much created a working ecosystem for the restaurants where they’re all integrated and connected with all the other partners from the ecosystem. The integration allows them to gain instant access to payments, capital, food delivery system, accounting services, and many more other features.

To put things even more straightforward, the platform pretty much allows the restaurateurs on focusing properly on enlarging their business while the platform grows and evolves more. The platform keeps getting bigger updates every now and then including instant access to data and insights to help everyone make the right decisions towards growing their businesses. By connecting everyone together, the products get catered to every part of the F&B sector. And that includes Cafes, bakeries, cloud kitchens, dine-in restaurants, fast food outlets, and even food trucks.

How did 2020 affect FOODICS and were there any advantages for FOODICS?

The F&B already is seeing a huge evolution in its functionalities, specifically the digitization of major traditional restaurants. Not to mention the sudden growth we’re noticing on cloud kitchens mainly because of the huge rentals that are being charged for popular and high-demand locations right in the middle of the pandemic. And even in these trying times, the team behind FOODICS already developed the product “FOODICS PAY” which pretty much adapted the entire ecosystem to the running global crisis.

The new product feature of the platform certainly helped the restaurant owners by letting them instant access to payment solutions that are integrated with their POS. This allowed them to accept various digital payment options in secure ways while it was being synchronized with their connected bank accounts in real-time. The platform also helped them to integrate the businesses with delivery aggregators so that the order volumes are getting increased simultaneously.

The platform always wanted to provide faster and useful lending which would be better than the other popular lending platforms in the same region. And to keep that in mind, we’ve already started the FOODICS Capital successfully by partnering with Maalem Finance, a KSA-based lending industry. This specific company is also a provider in Shariah-compliant consumer along with SME financing.

Why the Egyptian Market is center of focus for FOODICS?

FOODICS’ goal to expand in the Egyptian market was always the integral plan of their business plan since the F&B Market being worth approximately $15B. And the growth rate is pretty much at 15-20% for the next 5 years. And that’s how their commercial ambitions came to be since the tremendous success rate of the company and the amazing market potential it has.

What does it mean to be recognized by SAMA as a Fintech company?

The finance offering was always part of our vision for the platform so that it became a one-stop platform for all the restaurant owners so that they can manage their businesses on the go. And FOODICS is one of three companies that were recognized by SAMA as a Fintech Company. And it certainly opened a lot of opportunities for the company as it can now innovate even more. It even helped us to reach our goal by renovating SME lending.

Expansion plans for the company

The company is already looking forward to expanding the services beyond KSA and specifically to the MENA region and also internationally. The company already expanded to Egypt the last year and the next target is Oman and Kuwait market.

The next target of the company is to have above 500 employees by the end of 2022 and are still looking to add more talents to the team.

Hopes and Vision for the future of FOODICS

The company is aimed at making a huge impact on the F&B industry to help restaurant owners and other business owners achieve their goals through the digitalization of the industry.

The vision is certainly to be the all-in-one stop point for every restaurant owner out there. From interacting with customers to ordering supplies, the company aims at being the center of the ecosystem. Foodics’ motto for going forward is “growing together.

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