**Techmoran** How the pandemic led to the launch of FoodleDoodle, East Africa’s first cloud kitchen


Interview with me in Techmoran 2020-07-06

Foodledoodle, the first multi-brand cloud kitchen operation in East Africa has launched in Kenya and is working with hotels to utilize idle kitchen capacity to produce food for delivery under its own brands.

Foodledoodle and it’s chicken-focused Chikadoodle are a JV between Havar Bauck, Endre Opdal, Achieng Butler and they plan to expand across East Africa in 2020, and West Africa in 2021. Endre Opdal and Håvar Bauck, founded in HotelOnline in Dubai in 2014, to provide solutions for e-commerce and digital marketing to hotels in Eastern Africa.

Achieng is a former Chief Marketing Officer at Danone, ALU and Airtel. She is an adjunct lecturer at the United States International University of Africa and the CEO of Digital Odyssey, a Nairobi-based ad agency.

Bauck tells TechMoran.com that he had discussed the idea with his friend Endre for a long time, but when the “when the pandemic struck, that reinforced the decision and made us move faster.”

“We are the first to do cloud kitchens in East Africa. On the continent, Darth Kitchens in South Africa are definitely competitors, but it will be a while before we meet them as direct competition,” he told TechMoran.com

Globally, there are giants like Rebel Foods in India and the Middle East, and Kitopi in the US and India, who are not in any African markets at the moment. There are also quite a number of smaller players across Europe, the US and Asia, for instance Taster in France, and Keatz in Germany.

Foodledoodle will not be entering any food delivery business but will work with Uber Eats, Bolt Food, Jumia Food and Glovo which are all expanding across Africa. Bauck says the presence of these delivery services are a big part of the reason why Foodledoodle decided to enter the market in the first place. With them, logistics are readily available.

The rise of of food delivery is a global megatrend, and the growth trend is projected to continue. In many markets, such as China and the US, the Covid-19 situation has caused demand for delivery food to skyrocket, as people substitute restaurant meals with delivery food at home.

Kenyan hotels are a diverse lot. Some play in the global league, others still have the potential for improvement. Foodledoodle says its very selective about its partners.

There are numerous local and regional players scrambling for a piece of the market too, so it will only get more competitive. Foodledoodle will not be fighting in that arena, though.

That experience is essential. It is a key advantage we have when building his venture, as the industries have many similarities.

Bauck, who also runs HotelOnline recently announced the acquisition of Cloud9, an experiential adventure and tour activities startup. To him, Cloud9 fits in HotelOnline’s bigger picture.READ  CEO Weekends: Massi Spalazzi MD Kaymu on Monetizing Nigeria’s Digital Age

“The companies are closely linked, and the technologies complement each other. Hotels already working with HotelOnline can get great synergies from partnering with Foodledoodle, one of them being a vast selection of exciting food and beverage options for the hotel guests,” he said.

“In the short term, the addition of Cloud9 to our ecosystem enables us to sell whole travel bundles, with experiences and even flights in addition to the room nights. It also enables us to upsell a wide variety of experiences to guests who have already booked a hotel room. This is also beneficial to our hotel partners, as they receive a cut of the revenue in those cases,” Bauck added.

In the medium to long term, there will be even much greater synergies between the three.

Though experiences and adventures have been hard by the pandemic, Bauck sees a big future for Cloud9. “The pandemic is now,” he said. “There will be a new normal after it. Some habits will have changed, others will be resumed. What you can take to the bank, is that people will still live their lives. They will travel again, and they will look for experiences and exciting activities. We are ready to provide that.”

The team is building Foodledoodle organically from a scratch and looking to raise funds in order to expand to East and West Africa.