10 Questions with Kitchen Confidential
Imad Khairallah, Founder of Kitchen Confidential, Shares his Success Secrets
Every year Bader witnesses considerable improvement in the caliber of the startups participating in the Bader Startup Cup.
Kitchen Confidential, the 2nd place winner of last year’s Cup and the winner of MIT’s 4th Grow My Business competition, is a startup to lookout for in 2015.
Imad Kharaillah, the founder of Kitchen Confidential had the unique idea of opening a gourmet catering company that transforms “Fast Food”, pastries and desserts into their healthy but tasty version. The end products are made with the finest organic and natural ingredients, and free of: gluten, refined sugar, GMOs, trans-fat, Aspartame, additives, preservatives, antibiotics, taste enhancers, soy and oat. The products can be customizable to meet the needs of clients with intolerances to specific ingredients: dairy products, eggs, egg white, nuts, beef, etc.
We sat down with Imad, to learn more about Kitchen Confidential, the story behind it, and Imad’s future plans for his business.
Can you tell us more about how you started Kitchen Confidential and its mission?
I started Kitchen Confidential when I realized that there was a gap in the market.
People who had allergies, such as celiac for example, had no place to order food or to eat out; meanwhile others were also looking for healthy alternatives for fast food; they wanted to eat out while maintaining a healthy diet. I would say that the mission of Kitchen Confidential, is to help people adopt healthy eating habits, in order to cure and prevent mental and physical disorders.
What do you think about this field’s market?
The market is very specific and very demanding. People want to eat healthy while eating tasty food and most of them have misconceptions about healthy eating. There is a common thinking that a good diet is only based on low calorie intake, and this can’t be more wrong. At Kitchen Confidential we are aiming to spread awareness of the fact that fatty food, such as avocados and coconut oil for example, can be part of a healthy and balanced diet.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
The competition is mainly indirect, as most of the restaurants serving healthy food, have meals loaded with sugar. At Kitchen Confidential, our ingredients are fresh, we have daily specials, pizzas, salads, burgers, desserts, all organic and natural, and no other business is doing the same. We pay special attention to our ingredients, and we provide customers with customized diets, based on their allergies and diet preferences.
How did you get funded at first?
We mainly got funded through savings.
What was the turning point that made you want to be an entrepreneur?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, even when I was an employee. I always wanted to be independent; I had the basic skills, in finance and communication and I am a very hard-working person. I am also very passionate about healthy food, so I decided to follow my passion and start Kitchen Confidential; it was never about the money.
How did BADER help you?
BADER has helped us in several ways. It gave us exposure through Startup Cup; it introduced us to the media and the ecosystem. We benefited from great coaching sessions, sometimes even external, with mentors affiliated with Bader. We also got to do a lot of helpful networking.
What was your biggest mistake so far and what did you learn from it?
My main mistake was thinking that all the employees’ motivations and working habits should be similar to mine. Now I know that this is not possible. Every person has a personality of his own, and won’t necessarily share my point of view. You have to accept the fact that you are working with different types of people and learn to adapt.
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I think every entrepreneur should master these 3 skills:
-Interpersonal and communications
What do you advise young startups in general?
I would advise young entrepreneurs to be patient, to work hard and to remain humble. Having a startup means you sometimes have to handle everything on your own, at a certain moment you are the CEO managing your own business, and the next moment you might be cleaning the office by yourself, stay down to earth.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
My dream for Kitchen Confidential is to expand in as many countries as I can. I would like to have restaurants, in the MENA region and all across Europe, maybe also have small outlets in airports. However for now, we are focusing on building a great team and improving our products, but of course we have plans to grow the business in the near future.