Cairo-based street food restaurant chain Zooba Eats, according to a release, has raised USD 4 Mn in Series A – its first known public raise since inception. While the startup remained quiet the group of investors that participated in the round, the deal according to their SEC filings was concluded late last year.
Zooba’s Going To NYC
Having raised this money, the food company will be expanding its services to New York. In a statement, it was revealed that Zooba Eats will be investing in a new flagship outlet in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhoods by next summer.
It doesn’t end there for Zooba’s move as it also plans to scale operations to become a city-wide food service in New York, while it quietly schemes to eventually make an entry into the street food space of entire America.
According to a statement, Zooba Eats is the “first restaurant concept hundred-percent homegrown in Egypt to launch in the United States (we think)”, where the street food sector is expected to get more sophisticated this year. The food startup will likely have to brace to offer the much-demanded regional cuisine – as people want to know that their seafood dish is contrived from inspiring ports of Kerala. It’s no longer about the food, almost, but about the knowledge of the dish.
But Zooba May Not Be The First
Zooba Eats is not the first Egyptian food company to be achieving the expansion feat. Mo’men Group, a multi-food company based in Cairo, spread to have 15 branches abroad despite the fierce competition from American fast food chains. Not just U.S, but the food company as well opened branches in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Libya, Bahrain, and Kuwait. In 2015, Mo’men was the third highest food player in Egypt, with more than 9.5 million customers annually.
We are also led to believe that on the backs of the food company’s success in Egypt and for the demand for street food all over the world, Zooba Eats also has its eyes on expanding to other parts such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. According to Khalifa, the startup recently signed its first franchise agreement, with a Riyadh location expected to open before this summer.
Street food has been the last resort for most millennials, thanks to the fast pace of contemporary life. As many of them literally eat on the run, these hidden-in-plain-sight services are more often lifesavers. That’s much the case in Egypt, where has been deemed to be the cradle of civilization. As Zooba Eats has garnered a 6-year experience in one of the continent’s busiest cities, Cairo, it is also moving on to shift its headquarters to New York. This is also because the startup’s CEO Chris Khalifa and other senior members are relocating to NYC, leaving former Zooba Marketing Manager Ahmed Fahmy to serve as Egypt Country Manager.
Zooba Eats offers a range of dishes, from classics to twists on Egyptian street food. It was founded in 2013 by Khalifa and head chef Mostafa El Rafaey.
Featured Image: Zooba