Interview: Nathalie Haddad

Interview: Nathalie Haddad
The inspirational wall where dieticians prepare inspirational messages for clients to pick up as they walk in or out of Right Bite Nutrition Centre in Dubai.
Published: 14 March 2017 - 8:59 a.m.
By: Sarah Jacotine

Nathalie Haddad was a pioneer in the UAE healthy meal delivery market when she founded her company, Right Bite, in 2004. Since then, the nutritional consultation and meal delivery service has helped its clients lose an average of 250,000 kg excess weight, she tells Caterer Middle East. And these are just the people who subscribe to Right Bite’s customised meal plan packages — this figure doesn’t take into account the customers who use the delivery arm of the company, Right Bite Express.

Now in its 13th year of operations, Haddad’s company won region-wide recognition a few months ago when Right Bite took home the trophy for SME of the Year at the StartUp Awards 2016, hosted by sister title Arabian Business. Among the reasons Right Bite was crowned the winner was the company’s continued progress toward long-term sustainability.

“It was very rewarding to be recognised by an external party. And what was the most touching for me personally was the fact that they said Right Bite had become a household name,” she shares. “That’s what resonated with us and gave us satisfaction — to know that Right Bite touches people’s lives on a day-today basis, because that is what we try to do.”

Helping people, specificially helping them to live healthier lives, is a topic Haddad comes back to several times during our interview. It was this side of the business, rather than a burning desire to work in hospitality, that motivated her to launch Right Bite.

Haddad, who is Lebanese and grew up in Abu Dhabi, completed her undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and then continued her training at McGill University, in Canada, where she obtained a Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition.

“I have always been interested in the medical field and the health industry — doing something related to health,” she reveals. “Nutrition touches people’s lives every day and a lot of the medical issues are controlled and prevented through what you eat, such as diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure and types of cancer. Taking care of your body — inside and out — helps people prevent many problems.”

When she founded Right Bite she was working as a dietician, advising individuals on what and how to eat. The idea to start catering to people like her clients grew organically from there.

“There was demand — people were telling me that they had busy lives, that they were on the go the whole time, and the availability of healthy food was limited at the time. So, this is how I started Right Bite; general growth from the demand from my clients to have such a service to complement the nutritional education and counselling that I provided.”

Initially, she says she “outsourced everything” but quickly realised that without a central kitchen, she couldn't meet her own exacting standards.

“Outsourcing meant fewer overheads but you don’t have 100% control over product quality, so we moved into a central kitchen [in Al Quoz] soon after, allowing us to prepare everything from scratch. We bake our own bread and make all our own desserts. We don’t have anything processed and we make sure everything is prepared fresh with locally sourced natural ingredients. Having the central kitchen means you have control over everything that you do.”

Since the beginning, the company's core business has remained the same: nutritional counselling followed by personalised meal plans. Haddad says changing lifestyles and eating habits prompted a new business avenue — on-demand delivery service Right Bite Express.

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