Barely six months after entering the market, business buying platform Tradeling is quickly becoming an invaluable asset to many F&B companies in the UAE, particularly those forced to downsize due to the challenges caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“What sets us apart is the solutions we provide to our buyers,” CEO Muhammad Chbib told Caterer Middle East. He said that Tradeling targeted F&B as one of its first industries to launch in due to it being “full of inefficiencies and full of opportunities”.
By linking restaurants in the UAE directly with hundreds of suppliers both local and international, Tradeling is aiming to reduce the friction currently faced by restaurants having to deal with multiple middlemen to get the produce they need.
The platform has had to recover from a tough start, originally launching at Gulfood in February, merely weeks before the restaurant shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a bid to attract restaurants reeling from a lack of cashflow, Tradeling introduced a AED50,000 rolling credit line plus 5% cashback, which Ehab Sadek, category head for F&B, said has helped get customers on board and encouraged more sellers to join the platform due to the high traffic.
It’s meant that Tradeling is heading for a successful year one, with Chbib saying the platform has “exceeded expectations by far”.
Now the plan is to become a one-stop-shop for F&B supplies, essentially replacing the job of procurement managers – or at least making their jobs much easier.
“We’re actively working on solutions to facilitate that,” said Chbib. “A lot of people purchase the same items on a regular basis, with certain alterations, so we can offer a shopping list functionality that can be reactivated month over month or week over week, and the platform can automatically get you the best prices.”
Restaurants setting up their monthly shopping lists will also allow Tradeling to group order items and offer even more competitive pricing, something that could be invaluable for smaller outlets, explained Sadek.
But it’s not just smaller outlets that can benefit by using Tradeling, he adds. “The big chains find the value in sourcing, the bigger scale, and they have the ability to connect with international sellers.”
Currently offering around 26,000 SKUs, Chbib revealed that Tradeling “could improve our list to 100,000 SKUs in no time, but we slowed it down actively to ensure the quality is given, to give suppliers the tools to manage pricing in an effective manner, and to get transparency around the market picture as well”.
Plans are also afoot to expand into other markets, with Chbib hoping to take Tradeling to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year, with the rest of the GCC to follow.