Harnessing the Power of Technology Highly Commended: Kitopi

Published: Jul 2022


Photo of Sally Swanepoel, Kitopi.

Sally Swanepoel

Director Corporate Accounting & Control

Founded in Dubai, UAE, in January 2018, Kitopi is the world’s leading tech-powered multi-brand restaurant. Having first established itself as a leading managed cloud kitchen platform, Kitopi now operates a portfolio of both invested and franchised F&B brands both in the delivery and dine-in space. With over 4,000 employees, Kitopi currently runs 200+ locations across the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

in partnership with

Cloud-based food group harnesses APIs to transform payments

The challenge

Kitopi’s finance team had to process fund transfers and pay vendors and staff using automated clearing house (ACH) and priority payments. In a manual process, spreadsheets were also used to track and reconcile payments and both payment initiation and reconciliation became increasingly cumbersome and time-consuming when the business grew during the pandemic. In short, Kitopi needed a more automated solution that would easily scale as their business grew.

The solution

Working with HSBC, Kitopi trialled a new automated payment initiation solution powered by APIs for its UAE operations. This led to multiple improvements including a reduction in payment creation time, and the enhancement of the review and approval processes embedded in its enterprise resource planning (ERP) workflow – leading to new level of efficiency and performance.

Powered by APIs integrated into its ERP system, Kitopi’s treasury team no longer manually set up ACH payments and cheque balances on separate internet banking platforms to ensure funds are available.

Instead, the company can move money wherever it is needed and make payments directly from their ERP as they come due. The bulk payment initiation API provided the company with the ability to initiate on-demand single or bulk payments with the payment status available immediately. The solution also gives Kitopi access to balances in real-time, enabling greater visibility of its accounts to help automate reconciliation.

Best practice and innovation

As a leader in technology solutions itself, Kitopi was eager to be the first company in MENA (and one of the first few globally) to pilot HSBC’s APIs for real-time payments and account balances in the UAE.

This was especially impressive since treasury opted to jump directly into APIs and skipped the typical digital journey many businesses follow which normally includes first adding an e-channel or online banking portal, then setting up host-to-host connectivity. Faced with huge growth, treasury realised it only had two options: to increase headcount to manage increasing payment volumes or to invest in technology.

That bold decision means the company is now building a treasury of the future. Based on the success of the pilot programme, Kitopi is planning to replicate the solution across its entire MENA portfolio.

Key benefits

Automation has reduced payment processing and reconciliations from days to mere seconds. Enhanced visibility over account balance and payment status has enabled the company to make more meaningful decisions based on the data. Elsewhere, there is a lower risk of fraud and human error associated with manual data entry and the solution is highly scalable, supporting Kitopi’s extraordinary growth.

The Adam Smith Awards is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2022 awards attracted 230 nominations spanning 34 countries. To find out more please visit:

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