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Spades launches in the UAE & expands to GCC countries

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There’s no denying that the Middle East is growing fast and its restaurant scene is growing even faster. Dining in the UAE means exploring one of the most diverse, vibrant, and delicious food destinations on the planet. Restaurants are increasingly turning to Spades to keep up with dynamic demand, while providing a seamless checkout experience for dine-in customers to pay their bill.

Spades was founded by Mehdi Chraibi, Adnan Haque, and Sameer Poonja after successful careers building digital products used by millions of users at VISA, Emirates Airline, Oracle, Millicom, and Rocket Internet. The team is backed by executives with leadership roles at global Payment Service Providers (Adyen, VISA & MasterCard), Cloud Kitchens, and multiple Hospitality Houses in the Middle East. Their oversubscribed angel round of $2.5M also included prominent European business angels, such as Thibaud Elzière (Founder, Fotolia & eFounders), Eduardo Ronzano (Founder, KelDoc & Managing Partner, Secret Fund), and Yan Hascoet, Othmane Bouhlal, Omar Benmoussa – the Founders of Chauffeur Privé – Kapten (acquired by Free Now), which was closed with early investments from global & regional VCs such as Nordstar and Impact46.

The FinTech payment startup has already signed over 150 restaurants in its first 12 weeks and launched with major brands in UAE such as NOLA, Couqley, Alaca, and The Sum of Us. The company is growing fast and recruiting multiple roles across the board this year to cope with its expansion in the GCC and beyond.

How it works:

Spades allows guests to easily pay their bill by scanning a code or tapping to pay, without any downloads or registration, translating into shorter wait times. Trustworthy, and reliable, the platform provides the fastest and most secure payment solution that integrates seamlessly into all major POS systems, making refunds and reconciliation just a click away.

Partner restaurants have already reported doubling their staff tips, turning tables faster, saving trees, and improving guest service. With a solution that caters to both restaurants and customers, Spades is set to revolutionize F&B in the region with just a quick scan and a couple of taps!

Customer journey:

A simple tap to pay or  QR code scan allows diners to conveniently and securely clear bills at partner restaurants. The solution also allows diners to split the total bill with friends and add their own tip individually for staff, while paying using their method of choice. Customers can receive a digital receipt for their records and also review their experience. Through its partnerships, the platform integrates seamlessly with all major POS systems making transactions, refunds, and reconciliation just a click away.

Human-centric approach:

While other like-minded rival technologies create a disconnect between customers and restaurants, Spades has a human-centric approach to challenge the status quo by increasing engagement throughout. The actual order is still placed in person with the wait staff which has been designed to ensure customers continue to get a chance to interact with their server and seek the right dine-in experience, an issue widely encountered by other online ordering platforms. The automated end-to-end payment integration with any Point of Sale removes all manual errors and simplifies daily reconciliation. By bringing payment to the table, customers can now choose traditional forms of payment or use Spades directly from their phone.

Co-founder of Spades, Adnan Haque said, “With Spades, we have created a seamless payment portal that is fast, secure, and convenient. Our goal is to give back time to customers and restaurants, and create a perfect “phy-gital” harmony that helps achieve an exceptional dine-in experience.”

Investment Associate at Impact46, Saud Alsahaf said, “F&B is an important industry in the local market, and Spades is offering a powerful digital solution to improve the experience for all stakeholders in the value chain. We look forward to making Spades the standard for restaurant payment.”

Co-founder and Managing Director of NOLA Social House & Eatery, Alex Economides said“Since starting with Spades we’ve noticed our staff having more time to engage with guests at the end of their dine-in visit. Rather than running around at peak hours printing bills and collecting payments. Exceptional service has always been one of the WOW factors at Nola, so with Spades’ efficient and convenient payment method we see a perfect fit.”