In an exclusive interview, we had the privilege of sitting down with Vishal Kapadia, the esteemed Chief Process Officer at Food Nation Catering Services. With an impressive background in the food industry, Vishal plays a pivotal role in driving the success and growth of the company. With years of experience and a deep understanding of operational processes, Vishal brings a strategic approach to his role. His dedication to excellence has been instrumental in shaping Food Nation’s reputation as a leading provider of school catering services in the UAE. Join us as we delve into our interview with Vishal Kapadia and explore the remarkable journey of Food Nation Catering Services.
A complete journey about the company? When you have started, how and where?
Since 2016, Food Nation Catering Services has established itself as the leading school catering provider in the UAE. With an impressive track record, we currently manage a highly successful Food Program in over 40 schools, including private and government schools, nurseries, and parents cafes. Our dedication to excellence has been recognized with the prestigious Arabian Best of the Best Award – School Catering in 2022, reaffirming our commitment to delivering exceptional services.
As a homegrown company, we take immense pride in our local roots and actively contribute to the community through our catering services. Our strong presence extends across the networks of Aldar Education and Taaleem, as well as standalone and government schools. Each day, we produce an impressive range of 25,000 to 30,000 products, serving approximately 70,000 students from nursery to Grade 12 across three Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai.
At the helm of Food Nation Catering Services is Chef Magnus Mumby, our visionary founder, and managing director. Chef Magnus relocated to the UAE in 2014 with the aim of establishing and overseeing a new restaurant startup. Within his first year, his culinary expertise and innovative approach garnered multiple awards from Time Out Dubai, opening doors to consulting for a prestigious high-end school catering company in Dubai.
Chef Magnus’s extensive knowledge of food nutrition, including keto diet nutrition, the gut-brain relationship, and mindful nutrition, allowed him to identify a crucial gap in the school catering industry. Recognizing the need for quality and nutritious meals, he launched the first Food Nation Café in Foremark School. From that moment, our journey has been one of growth, success, and a steadfast commitment to revolutionizing school catering.
The Journey of the Entrepreneur?
Having moved to the UAE in 1994, my family and I have witnessed the incredible growth of this country from its modest beginnings to the global phenomenon it is today. After completing my schooling at the Indian High School in 2004, I had the opportunity to pursue my undergraduate and higher studies in London. Graduating from Middlesex University in 2007 marked the beginning of my professional journey in the hospitality industry.
My career started in the vibrant neighborhood of Bayswater in Central London, just a stone’s throw away from Hyde Park. I worked at the Radnor Hotel, a modest two-star property, and over the course of three years, we successfully elevated it to a three-star establishment. During this period, I also managed to pursue my MBA. In 2009, I returned to Dubai to be with my family.
The summer of 2009 became a significant milestone in my career as I was entrusted with the task of introducing one of India’s largest fast-food chains, Tibbs Frankie, to the UAE. I underwent extensive training at their factory in Mumbai and even had the privilege of serving at Wankhede Stadium during an IPL game. Through hard work and perseverance, we opened our first retail store in July 2010, strategically located in the bustling heart of Bur Dubai. As our reputation grew, we expanded our presence by opening stores in DIFC, JLT, and Karamah.
In August 2017, I embarked on a new chapter of my career, joining Food Nation as their Food Program Manager. Over the years, I have made significant contributions to the growth and success of the company, achieving remarkable milestones. Currently, I oversee the overall operations of the company, which has expanded from two schools in 2017 to an impressive 40 schools in 2023. With an annual turnover of approximately AED 30 million, we have also collaborated with government entities to reshape the landscape of school catering in the country.
One quote from my late father, Mr. Rajendra Kapadia, has left a lasting impact on my career: “People remember your failures, and no one cares about your achievements or what you have done for them.” This quote serves as a constant reminder that regardless of personal or company milestones, upholding the fundamental principles of hard work and dedication is crucial for success. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to receive guidance from like-minded leaders, and I strive to instill these same values in my colleagues and team members.
Your role at Food Nation Catering Services and its success?
As the Chief Process Officer at Food Nation Catering Services, my role revolves around overseeing and optimizing the operational processes within the organization. I am responsible for ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in every aspect of our catering services. From menu planning and sourcing high-quality ingredients to implementing strict food safety standards and managing our talented team, my focus is to deliver excellence in every meal we serve. By streamlining our processes and maintaining a strong emphasis on quality, I contribute to Food Nation’s success as a trusted provider of school catering services.
What sets Food Nation Catering Services apart from other school catering providers in the UAE?
At Food Nation, we firmly believe in providing healthy and nutritious meals to students while promoting a positive food culture. Our approach sets us apart from other catering providers in the UAE. We understand the impact of good nutrition on a child’s development and academic performance. Hence, our menus are thoughtfully curated, ensuring a balance of flavors, essential nutrients, and variety to cater to diverse palates. Additionally, our commitment to food safety and hygiene practices is unwavering, instilling confidence in parents and school administrators. Our dedicated team’s passion for culinary excellence and customer satisfaction further distinguishes us as a leader in the school catering industry.
How does Food Nation Catering Services prioritize the health and well-being of students through its meal offerings?
The health and well-being of students are at the core of our mission at Food Nation Catering Services. We prioritize their nutritional needs by focusing on fresh, wholesome ingredients and minimizing the use of processed foods. Our menus are designed in consultation with nutritionists to ensure they meet the dietary requirements of growing children. We incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into our meals to promote balanced nutrition. Moreover, we actively work to educate students about the importance of healthy eating habits through engaging initiatives and interactive sessions, fostering a positive relationship with food.
Notable achievements of Food Nation Catering Services?
Over the years, Food Nation Catering Services has achieved numerous milestones and garnered recognition for our commitment to excellence. We take pride in receiving accolades for our menu innovation, nutritional value, and exceptional customer service. Our success stories include transforming school lunch programs, improving students’ dietary habits, and receiving positive feedback from parents, students, and school administrators. We have witnessed remarkable improvements in students’ overall health and academic performance, which reinforces our belief in the positive impact of nutritious meals. These achievements motivate us to continuously strive for excellence and push the boundaries of school catering services.
What does the future hold for Food Nation Catering Services, to stay ahead in the industry?
As we move forward, Food Nation Catering Services aims to expand our reach and impact by partnering with more schools and educational institutions across the UAE. We plan to leverage technology and data-driven insights to enhance our operational efficiency, ensuring seamless service and personalized meal offerings. Furthermore, we will continue to invest in our team’s professional development, fostering a culture of innovation and culinary expertise. By staying ahead of industry trends and consistently exceeding expectations, we are confident in our ability to maintain our position as a trusted leader in school catering services.
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