Gossip & Rumors Technology

Rumor: Elon Musk is Coming to Kuwait

Over the past couple of days there have been rumors floating around about Elon Musk coming to Kuwait. It’s being reported by some local news sites which I hadn’t heard of before, which is why I’m marking this as a rumor for now.

Allegedly, Elon Musk is expected to visit Kuwait in the next few days for discussions aimed at establishing Kuwait as a global hub for artificial intelligence.

This is where things gets strange, there is a secretive GPU cloud startup in Kuwait called Omniva that have plans to build a huge data center in Kuwait. The company is headed by big names who came in from companies like Amazon AWS, META and Microsoft. The data center which is under construction is located at the entrance of Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City (Road 278). source

I reached out to Elon Musk and Omniva to confirm all this, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Nando’s is opening in two weeks!

According to a source of mine, the popular South African franchise Nando’s is targeting to open in Kuwait on February 20th.

Nando’s originally opened at The Avenues back in 2007 but ended up closing down shortly after. This time, Apparel Group are bringing them back to Kuwait, the same company that brought Tim Hortons back, and also recently opened Jamie’s Italian.

Nando’s will have two locations in Kuwait initially, one in The Warehouse Mall and a second in Al Kout Mall. The tentative opening date could change due to unforeseen circumstances, so make sure you follow @apparelgroupofficial for the official announcement.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Chipotle is Set to Open at The Avenues in April

Last year Chipotle signed an agreement with Alshaya to bring the franchise to the Middle East. The initial plan is for two locations to open each in Dubai and Kuwait. A few weeks ago I posted that their first location in Kuwait is expected to be at The Avenues, and now my source just informed me that they’re aiming to open by April.

The first location will be in The Avenues Phase 4, where Blaze Pizza used to be located, right next to Gait and VOX Cinema.

Every time I post about Chipotle the posts tend to go viral and I’ve been trying to understand why. My best guess is that lots of people used to have Chipotle back when they were studying in the US? I have no idea but if you have a better theory, let me know.

The coming soon hoarding is still not up, but I took the liberty of adding one to my photo.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Chipotle’s First Location in Kuwait

Back in July, Chipotle announced that they had signed an agreement with Alshaya Group to open locations in the Middle East next year. The initial plan is for two locations each in Dubai and Kuwait.

According to a source of mine, Chipotle’s first location in Kuwait will be at The Avenues in place of where Blaze Pizza was located, near Gait and VOX Cinema.

All the Blaze Pizza locations in Kuwait recently closed down and I’m assuming permanently. Blaze, I believe, was Alshaya’s third attempt with pizza, the first two being 400 Gradi and Spontini (I loved Spontini) both of which also closed down.

I reached out to Alshaya for confirmation regarding Chipotles first store and they responded stating they would not comment on speculation, but that as they’ve previously mentioned, Chipotle is set to open in Kuwait in 2024.

Food Fun Gossip & Rumors

BBT Haunted House

This is an interesting and random project, BBT is opening a haunted house next month on the Gulf Road. The project is in collaboration with TEC and is located near where Jeans Grill used to be in Salmiya (the good old days).

The haunted house looks to be hospital themed which gave me Raccoon General Hospital vibes from Resident Evil. In addition to the haunted house there will also be a new BBT location right next to it.

Both the haunted house and the new BBT are expected to open mid next month. Tickets to the haunted house will be through the TEC app. If you want to check the place out it’s still under construction but here it is on Google Maps.

Food Gossip & Rumors

ALBAIK Opening in 2024

Because of my Popeyes post this morning a few people asked me if I had any updates about ALBAIK opening in Kuwait. ALBAIK is a very popular Saudi fried chicken concept and from what I’ve been told, they’re planning to open in Kuwait next year with the first two locations in Al Khiran and Aswaq Qurain. They also have plans to open two more locations in the north but they haven’t decided where yet.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Dubai’s SALT is Coming to Kuwait Next Month

Dubai’s beach-born concept SALT is coming to Kuwait next month and they’ll be popping up at the new Blajaat project in Salmiya.

Although SALT is mostly known for their iconic Airstream trailer, over the past few years their pop-ups have turned into beautiful and elaborate setups, so should be interesting what they’re planning for Kuwait.

The exact date hasn’t been finalized but they should be popping up the last week of November.

Gossip & Rumors

Zain is Launching RedBull Mobile

A friend told me that Zain was launching RedBull Mobile next week to compete with Virgin Mobile. I didn’t know RedBull Mobile existed until she told me so I contacted a couple of sources to confirm this rumor but they were being tight lipped about it. But, it looks like it’s happening.

If you head to right now you’ll end up at their website which seems to still be under construction. Their Instagram account will also be @redbullmobilekw. Like Virgin Mobile, I doubt this is going to have any effect on the market or anyone (unless there is some Formula 1 tie in and in that case this is going to be great! I love Red Bull Mobile, please get me RedBull Paddock access during a race).

Gossip & Rumors

Mo Amer is Coming to Kuwait

Mo Amer, the Palestinian American comedian known for his hilarious performances in the Netflix show ‘Mo’ and the award-winning Hulu sitcom ‘Ramy,’ is set to bring his comedy to Kuwait this September.

Mo was actually born in Kuwait and lived here till the age of 9. He only left Kuwait because of the 1990 Iraq invasion which is how he ended up in the US. I’m not sure if he’s been back to Kuwait since then, but if you went to a British school in the 80s, I’d pull up an old yearbook and see if I could spot him.

According to the information I have, Mo will be performing his standup on September 8th at The Arena. More information will be officially announced soon.

Gossip & Rumors

Café Kitsuné is Opening in Kuwait

Café Kitsuné, the sub-brand of the trendy French-Japanese lifestyle brand Maison Kitsuné is opening in Kuwait.

Maison Kitsuné expanded their brand in 2013 by opening Café Kitsuné in Tokyo followed by a location in Paris in 2019. I’ve been to the one in Paris and I’m a fan of the brand like I’m sure many people are.

Café Kitsuné has over 21 locations worldwide and they’re now planning to open in Kuwait (lso set to open in Dubai). The details aren’t finalized yet but they’re planning to open in Abdullah Al Salem sometime this year.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Nando’s is Coming Back to Kuwait

Nando’s the popular South African franchise that specializes in Portuguese flame-grilled peri-peri style chicken is coming to Kuwait.

They originally opened at The Avenues back in 2007 but ended up closing down shortly after. This time Apparel Group are bringing them back and they’ll be opening at the new Warehouse Mall which I posted about recently.

I don’t have an opening date but I’ve reached out to Apparel Group and waiting to hear back from them. But, I think it would be safe to assume they’ll be open by Q4 of this year.

Gossip & Rumors

Pret Opening 3 New Locations

According to my source, Pret A Manger is planning to open three new locations in Kuwait after the successful opening of their first one in Al Hamra Tower.

The three locations are:
– Argan Bedaya, Sabah Al Salem
– Hybrid Outlet Mall, Al Khiran
– Argan Square, Salmiya

I’ve reached out to Pret for confirmation and I’m currently waiting for their response.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Rumor: Chipotle Coming to Kuwait!

I’ve been told that Chipotle is finally coming to Kuwait and it looks like Alshaya are the ones that could be bringing the brand.

I’ve been sitting on this news for a bit now waiting for a second source since I got this news wrong the first time back in 2013. That rumor never materialized so hopefully, this time around it will.

Chipotle for those who don’t know is an American Mexican grill chain specializing in bowls, tacos, and burritos made to order in front of the customer. Chipotle operates in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and France.

I reached out to Alshaya to confirm this rumor but they did not want to comment on it.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Rumor: Beefbar Opening in Al Hamra Tower

Back in August, I posted that Beefbar, the popular meat-focused restaurant from Montecarlo was coming to Kuwait. When I originally posted they hadn’t chosen a location yet but now it looks like they’re hoping to open in Al Hamra Tower. If this location is confirmed, they’re expected to likely open by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

Beefbar is already available in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and they’re also opening soon in Bahrain.

Gossip & Rumors

Inside Scoop: New Food Delivery App – CARI

Since we’ve been on the subject of food delivery apps this past few days, here is another interesting tidbit.

There is a new delivery app that will be entering the market soon and it will be called CARI. The delivery platform is by the previous owners of Carriage who had signed a 5 years non-compete agreement with Delivery Hero when they were acquired back in 2017. Since the 5 years are now up, the previous owners are entering the market again.

What will they bring to the table?

When Carriage initially launched one of the few things that made it different than Talabat was the quality of restaurants over quantity. They had a much smaller list of restaurants available but they were all good restaurants, a curated list. CARI is bringing that back, they have only been approaching companies that have good brands and asking them to join the platform.

Another differentiating factor is that they will guarantee 30 minutes delivery. This is going to be big since you’re more likely to order from CARI if your favorite restaurant on it will deliver to you quicker than other apps. Restaurants that are currently being invited to join the platform will only be accepted if they can guarantee food can be prepared within a specific time (I think 6 minutes). If they can’t, then they won’t be allowed to join the platform. Another way of making sure the food will get to you in 30 minutes is by reducing the delivery zone. Currently, most delivery platforms allow restaurants to deliver within a 10km radius, CARI is going to deliver within a 5km radius. This means the riders don’t have to travel a long distance to deliver the food to you. On the downside it also means you might no longer be in the delivery zone of your favorite restaurant.

Not actual logo

Finally, they’re also doing something different with the restaurants. Most delivery platforms right now charge restaurants a 25-35% fee off every order as well as 1KD from the customer to deliver the food. CARI is taking a different approach. To entice restaurants to join their platform, CARI is charging restaurants 0% commission for the first couple of years. Instead, restaurants will have to pay a one-time fee of **KD (I can’t disclose the exact amount) for every new customer that orders from their restaurant. So say I order from McDonald’s for the first time, McDonald’s would pay CARI 5KD (for example) as a new customer fee. And that’s it, no other fees. It’s kinda genius, CARI gets this big cash influx up front, and restaurants pay it with the hopes that the same customer will order again from them. Most restaurants will need the same customer to order from them maybe 8 or 10 times to cover the initial acquisition fee but after that, all the money goes into their pocket. If the customer doesn’t like the food and doesn’t order from the restaurant again or doesn’t order enough times over the next few years while this 0% commission is in effect, then that’s a loss for the restaurant.

When I first heard about this fee structure I was in awe. Usually, the platform would pay to acquire new customers but in this case they’ve not only managed to make it so that restaurants would pay the acquisition cost, but that fee is going to be a major cash boost at launch which should help CARI fast track their way into profitability. I love it.

With Carriage, Talabat, Deliveroo already owning the majority of the market share, the Saudi app Jahez entering the market, and now CARI also coming in, I think things are going to get really exciting.

Update: Their Instagram account is up and they’ve revealed the logo @get.cari