Starting a Business that Relies Mainly on Operations without Enough Experience Can Be a Fatal Mistake for Your Startup

Quickit is a platform that provides meal kits consisting of all the meal ingredients and can be prepared immediately at any time. The order is delivered within 24 hours in exchange for a service fee.

The idea began after the founder noticed that anyone trying to lose weight and follow a diet always takes care to prepare their meals themselves to ensure that the quantities of all the ingredients are according to the nutritional plan, and to ensure that the food does not contain any restriction items such as cooking oil or even a small sprinkle of salt. However, sometimes we don't have time to cook and end up ordering meals from restaurants, which may make it difficult to stick to the diet plan and therefore we stop following the diet afterwards .

In the beginning, the founder collaborated with two food bloggers on social media, and they agreed to feature the ingredients for each meal they talked about in every video on the platform and encourage viewers to purchase the meal ingredients from Quickit, and in return the founder sent them a percentage of the sales .

During the operation period, the coronavirus emerged, causing people to avoid going to restaurants. As a result, many restaurants decided to temporarily stop their services or offer their meals in the form of meal kits. The founder saw an opportunity to showcase restaurant products, which were well-received by customers and led to an increase in sales. Unlike dietary meals, the founder decided to focus only on restaurant meals.

After a period of operation, the founder set a milestone to reach 300 orders per month with an average order price of 450 EGP in order to be able to raise investment. Within 10 months of starting, they were able to fulfill more than 1000 orders. However, this was not enough to make a profit or join one of the supporting entities in the entrepreneurship community. At this point, the founder's energy to continue had already been exhausted, both psychologically and financially.

Challenges and issues that led to the closure of the company:
Operation Issues

  1. Not all restaurants had the ability to cover all areas, in addition to the founder's inability to collect service fees, so it was necessary to have a delivery man. His task was limited to collecting all customer orders at the beginning of the day from all restaurants, and then sending all orders back to customers after sorting and dividing them by the founder according to each order. However, it was difficult to deal with and control the delivery workers, despite changing a large number of them during the operation period, and their problems included:
    • Stealing the entire daily income from sales, even if it meant they would not be able to work with the founder again.
    • Stealing customer orders and claiming that they had been delivered to the customer.
    • Treating the customer poorly or delaying delivery, which sometimes resulted in the customer refusing to receive the order.

  1. Dealing with customers in Egypt is very difficult in terms of communication with the founder, which can sometimes lead to disrespect from the customer side. in addition to the nature of the product itself. In the case of Quickit, it required maintaining the product's coolness rather than its warmth, as is the case with other companies or restaurants. If the order was delayed to the customer or the customer refused to receive it, the product would expire. Therefore, there was significant development by the founder in the delivery box integrated with the delivery worker to maintain the coolness of the products for up to 6–12 hours so that the worker could deliver all orders during the day.

Industry: Food & Beverage
Business Model: E-commerce
Date: 2020 – 2021
Company Status: Closed
No. employees: 3
Country: Egypt
Mohamed Gamal
“Co-Founder”
+8 years of experience in Software engineering and Entrepreneurship.
Bachelor of Computer and systems, Ain Shams University.
Khaled Moftah
“Co-Founder”
+12 years of experience in Customer Support, Operations, and Sales.
Bachelor of Business Administration, Modern Academy for Computer Science and Management in Cairo.
Costing / Pricing Issues

  1. In the first phase of the startup, when focusing on diet meals, the founder was working on collecting the ingredients for the agreed-upon meals with food bloggers, but the cost remained high despite comparing the ingredient prices to those of similar meals offered by high-end restaurants. This is because when the meal arrives to the customer in raw ingredient form, all the ingredients must be of the highest quality. For example, if the meal requires tomato sauce, the customer must see first-rate tomato chunks because they will not accept anything less. This is in contrast to restaurants where tomatoes designated for sauce can be of grade B or C depending on the restaurant's quality, which leads to a significant increase in price, especially after considering the costs of operation and packaging.

  2. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus and the shift in focus only on restaurant products, the costs were not good too. In this case, the founder needed to spend a budget on marketing, unlike in the initial phase where he received help from food bloggers in marketing and by considering the remaining operating costs, the founder was unable to reach a formula that would allow him to cover all the costs and generate profits.

Lessons learned:

  1. If you have an idea that requires expertise in daily operations and management, it is crucial to ensure that either you have the necessary experience from day one or one of your co-founders possesses the required expertise. This will contribute to identifying the direction in which you should focus and move towards and don't expect to acquire this experience after starting the project, as this will have a negative impact on your ability to continue and exhaust your energy and resources.

  2. If you need to raise investments for your startup at a specific stage, you should take action up to a year before reaching that stage. This is because of the current difficulty of the investment process and the pressure that investors face due to the high number of companies in the market, which reduces your startup's chances of attracting investments.

  3. Raising investments is a skill and a full-time job that requires studying, researching, and identifying suitable or potential investors for your company. If you wish to speak with one of them, for example, during an event, you must ensure that you inform them in advance and prepare well for the conversation between both of you.

  4. The entrepreneurship community in Egypt has been increasing in the last few years, both in terms of companies and investors. Therefore, it's not necessary for everyone who appears to have an investor badge at an event to have previous experience investing in startups. It's possible that they are in an exploratory phase for new investment opportunities, and therefore they could move with you in steps of due diligence on your company and meetings that may extend for months, and in the end, the funding that may be offered to your company may not be entirely compatible with your investment offer or what you are looking for. So, your good study and research from the previous step will help you try to avoid this point.

Do you have any insights regarding the company that you would be willing to share with us?
We would greatly appreciate your input and look forward to hearing from you.

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