Dubai’s Sweetheart Kitchen plans Saudi expansion

Dubai-based cloud kitchen company Sweetheart Kitchen said it plans to use funds from its recently concluded Series C round to expand its brands and reach in the region in addition to investing in technology and talent.

The 15-month old company had raised €15 million ($17.7 million) in Series C funding backed by “strategic investors” after raising a total of €21 million ($25 million) in previous Series A and B rounds.

Sweetheart Kitchen said in a statement that it plans to use the funds from the new round to launch five additional brands, in addition to the 30 in its stable.

It said the company is targeting to have 12 units live in the UAE by the first quarter of 2021 and enter Saudi Arabia in the second half of 2021.

The funds will also be used to relaunch its Kuwait operations that were impacted by the pandemic lockdowns in the Gulf state.

“We plan on re-opening in January with seven kitchens and on covering over 75 percent of Kuwait by the end of second quarter of 2021 with our new brands,” the statement said, quoting marketing head Adib Samara.

CEO Peter Schatzberg said the company would continue to invest in supply chain technology, food design and hiring talent into 2021.

In April, Schatzberg had told Zawya that company was targeting 12-15 units in the UAE and 10-12 in Kuwait in 2020.

https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/business/story/Dubais_Sweetheart_Kitchen_stirs_up_2020_MENA_expansion_plans-ZAWYA20200423035356/

The global cloud kitchen market size was valued at $43.1 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $71.4 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 12 percent from 2021 to 2027, according to Allied Market Research.

(Writing by Anoop Menon; editing by Daniel Luiz)

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© ZAWYA 2020

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Top Pompeo Aides Face U.S. House Democrats Over Saudi Weapons, Official’s Firing | Top News

By Patricia Zengerle and Daphne Psaledakis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top aides to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify to members of Congress on Wednesday about the firing of the former State Department inspector general, months after Democratic-led committees launched an investigation into his dismissal.

President Donald Trump abruptly fired Steve Linick from his position as the State watchdog in May, as he investigated the administration’s decision to pursue billions of dollars in military sales to Saudi Arabia despite congressional opposition.

His firing was one of a series of Trump’s dismissals of officials responsible for preventing fraud and abuse at government agencies. The firings prompted concern among members of Congress, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans, over whether Trump was interfering with legitimate oversight.

Linick was also investigating allegations that Pompeo and his wife Susan had misused government resources by having department staff handle personal matters.

On Wednesday three top Pompeo aides – Brian Bulatao, Under Secretary for Management, Acting Legal Adviser Marik String and Clarke Cooper, Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs – will appear before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees.

Underscoring tensions between Congress and the administration over Linick’s firing amid the investigations, Bulatao and String agreed to testify only after the panels announced subpoenas.

“All the facts that we know suggest that there is an aversion to accountability,” a committee aide said.

Congress had requested an investigation into the Trump administration’s May 2019 decision to push ahead with $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries by declaring a “national emergency” over tensions with Iran in order to sidestep congressional objections to the sales.

Lawmakers had been blocking many of the sales for months out of concern the Raytheon smart bombs and other equipment might contribute to the human catastrophe in Yemen, where bombings by a Saudi-led coalition have caused heavy civilian casualties.

A report issued by the State Inspector General’s office in August found that State did not fully evaluate the risks to civilians in Yemen when it pushed through the huge precision-guided munitions sale, although it did not violate the law.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Mary Milliken and David Gregorio)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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