Restaurant chain to cloud kitchen: Man’oushe Street’s evolution to kaykroo – Wamda

Cloud Kitchen and virtual brands operator kaykroo has launched today with 15 locations in the UAE following a $4 million pre-Series A funding round.

Spearheaded by Jihad El-Eit, kaykroo is an evolution of El-Eit’s Man’oushe Street chain of restaurants, which have all been converted to delivery-only kitchens, housing several virtual restaurant brands including Bak Bak Chicken, Wrapped and Hummus Brothers. The funding round was led primarily by family offices in the region and will be used to fuel kaykroo’s expansion into Saudi Arabia.

The restaurant and hospitality sector has suffered dramatically over the past few months, initially with lockdown, now with the slowdown in tourism. Empty tables are a common sight and data from Eat App suggests that dine-in numbers are 55 per cent below pre-Covid levels in the UAE.

Delivery became a lifeline for restaurants during lockdown, spurring a growth in delivery apps and cloud kitchens, which offered restaurants the ability to expand their delivery reach and provided a cheaper alternative to hefty brick and mortar rent. The region’s appetite for food delivery remains unsatiated, with the sector set to be worth $4 billion by the end of this year according to Statista. kaykroo alone has fulfilled one million orders since the start of 2020 and the company is not alone in its transition to the virtual brand space.

Dubai-based Food to Go, which initially launched as a cloud kitchen has moved into developing its own