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Burger Index raises $1.3m as Gulf F&B sector is hungry for data

Burger Index founders (L) Wassim Berro (R) Maurice Karam Burger Index
Burger Index founders Wassim Berro and Maurice Karam say their clients want to know customers' purchasing power
  • ‘Bloomberg of the F&B sector’ provides real-time data
  • Most clients are in Gulf states and the rest in Europe
  • Funding will expand coverage to supermarkets and grocers

Food and beverage data analytics platform Burger Index has raised $1.3 million to cater to rapidly growing demand across the GCC.

The Madrid-based firm’s recent funding round was led by Flat6Labs, the Cairo-based seed and early-stage venture capital firm.

Launched in January 2022, Burger Index provides market, competition and consumer intelligence in real time to food and beverage (F&B) companies.

It has 88 clients, which are restaurants, food delivery service ‘cloud kitchens’, food brands and distributors. Some 90 percent are based in the UAE, Saudi, Kuwait and Qatar, with the remainder spread across Europe. The startup is also expanding into Egypt.

Burger Index will use its new funding to expand its team and data coverage to include digital groceries and supermarkets.

Its first client was Saudi food technology firm Matbakhi and it has since onboarded Saudi’s Reef Technology and Bidfood. It has also partnered with McDonald’s and Nestle, along with Allo Beirut, Majid Al Futtaim and the UAE’s cloud kitchen operator Kitopi.

“The F&B market moves extremely fast and is highly competitive so a lot of our clients want to minimise the risks of the decisions that they’re making,” Burger Index founder and CEO Wassim Berro told AGBI.

“Majid Al Futtaim was one of our first customers. When it is deciding on a new location, for example, it wants to know what the competition distribution is and the social demographics across different parts of the city.”

Compiling data manually, such as rival menus, pricing and promotions, can take weeks, but Burger Index makes this available in seconds, for a fee.

Berro says his company provides access to market data at a tenth of the cost of alternatives such as market-research agencies and internal data-insights teams.

He likened Burger Index to the “Bloomberg of the F&B sector” in its ability to track market data, index it and generate actionable insights to send to companies as notifications and alerts in real time.

“The F&B industry has low margins, so companies are always looking at opportunities to increase their pricing,” he noted.

Seeking Saudi data

A key trend among clients, says Berro, is a growing desire to establish a presence in Saudi.

“Almost every single one of our clients today is interested in purchasing Riyadh data,” Berro said. “After Dubai data, it’s the most highly purchased product on our platform – they recognise the opportunity there and they’re looking for the right locations in which to open.”  

Berro and his co-founder, Maurice Karam, met while studying for MBAs at Madrid’s IE Business School. The idea for the Burger Index was born out of an economics class about the ‘Big Mac Index’, which was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a way of measuring purchasing power parity between different countries.

“A lot of our clients want to know the purchasing power of their potential customers, and that data doesn’t fly around as freely in the GCC as it does in Europe,” explained Berro.

“Tracking the price of a burger still remains one of the most valuable insights into understanding that. We’ve recently been able to track fluctuations in its price across different areas of Dubai based on changes in the cost of living.”

Burger Index has recently also been commissioned to leverage its data to understand how cuisine distribution and consumer F&B preferences are evolving across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi.

“We can see that the dessert tag is currently one of the highest tags used in Saudi, while in Dubai, it’s the sandwich tag,” explained Berro.

Burger Index is also called up when companies are targeting F&B brands for potential acquisition.