FoodSheikh is about to launch a new business. You might have seen it on social media. It’s called FoodSheikh All Stars. (@fsallstars) On the surface, and simply put, it’s a purpose-built delivery menu, prepared out of a purpose-built delivery kitchen.

However, below the surface, it has many more layers. It is also a business case study, a marketing campaign, a community and an experiment into the future of F&B.

FoodSheikh All Stars is a brand that has been built with the passion, depth and humanity of a traditional restaurant and the brutal efficiency that is needed for home delivery. It has storytelling and human connection at its heart but still runs super tight COGs.

We’ve brought together top chefs from award-winning restaurants across Dubai. They were each challenged to design a dish that tells their story through food and can be delivered from our kitchen to the customers’ homes, the way our all star chefs envisioned it. There are no algorithms. No tech teams. No big brands with bigger agendas. It’s just great food made by great chefs with great imaginations.

The FoodSheikh All Stars menu will be available wherever the customer wants it, from direct ordering on our website to Deliverdxb to Deliveroo. If a customer wants to use an aggregator, so be it. This is the reality at the moment. However, FoodSheikh will always champion and encourage the “order direct” messaging that has been so important for restaurants this year and, we will continue to steer customers towards direct ordering.

The business model is vastly different from a traditional restaurant. FoodSheikh All Stars has been built for delivery whereas most restaurants have added delivery as incremental revenue.

However, the fundamental strategy remains the same for both. Focus on developing your own audience, promote direct ordering, and use the aggregators to benefit your business. That’s always been our ‘advice’ to others, and we gladly apply it to this business too.

Home delivery and virtual kitchens have been white-hot topics over the last few months, and it often seems like they are the most significant disruptions we’ve seen in F&B since the discovery of fire. However, in reality, they have always been a part of the landscape. Just consider the British chippy or that great Chinese takeaway restaurant on the corner. They are just kitchens with a pick-up counter and not so different to a modern dark kitchen of today.

However, historically, one would have to collect their orders – very few places delivered and there was a good reason for that. Food delivery is an expensive service. Someone is making a specific journey on your behalf to pick up your food and bring it to your house. It is a private chauffeur service for your chicken korma. However, the Foodtech companies have subsidized this cost for the customer, making it a low-cost service, even though it is not.

Although we are driven by food quality and customer experience, we are also interested in the business mechanics of this project. Part of this project is a quest for better understanding of the virtual F&B world. Understanding matters like customer behaviour, last mile efficiencies, discounting culture and sales data will be an important aspect to this initiative. We want to be able to learn from this journey and we look forward to sharing these insights as we progress.

Finally, FoodSheikh All Stars is about storytelling and celebrating the restaurant industry. It is about highlighting the profiles of our chefs and their own restaurants, businesses and passion projects. FoodSheikh All Stars is a mouthpiece for these stories; it is a loudspeaker that promotes and highlights important and valuable content. Despite being digital, FoodSheikh All Stars will connect with its community through activations, experiences and collaborations that support our all star chefs and the wider industry.

Through this platform we will encourage and remind our community to dine out and support local talent like the chefs, bartenders, servers, musicians, cleaners, drivers and everyone else who make this industry so great.

You see, on the surface we’re a delivery menu, but below the surface we’re so much more.

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