Founder Interview: Mehreen Omar and Muna Mustafa, SupperClub Middle East

Tell us about yourselves, where did you connect and what made you found SupperClub Middle East?

Muna and I crossed paths at a global e-commerce in 2012 here in UAE. Our connection sparked when I hired Muna to handle sales. The interesting part is, it all began with a casual challenge – I asked Muna to ‘sell me a pot of tea’ while we were sitting in a café.

Very quickly, we discovered that our working styles complemented each other exceptionally well and it was clear our journey wasn’t stopping there. We both had this gut feeling that we needed to dive into a new venture together. That feeling turned into reality with SupperClub Middle East—it just felt like the next logical step, a nod to our belief that, by combining forces we could create something pretty unique.

Where did your idea come from? What was your inspiration?

The idea came from our experience working with 5-star hotels. They consistently voiced two main concerns – unfavourable positioning next to fast-food joints and high partnership fees. After facing rejection from management when we presented our solution, we decided to launch a novel membership concept. This focused exclusively on dining and leisure offers from 5-star hotels and premium F&B venues, aiming to pre-emptively address these challenges before competitors could seize the opportunity.

What is SupperClub Middle East? What makes it unique to the marketplace?

  • Exclusively 5-star and premium dining offers. Members can enjoy discounts and offers at premium F&B venues, 5-star hotel restaurants, spas, and beach clubs.
  • Our members benefit from unlimited use of offers – no caps on discounts, guests, or overall usage. It’s a level of freedom unheard of in this space.
  • Membership extends to the entire family, allowing you to book for friends and family hassle-free. It’s an insanely flexible approach to catering to everyone’s needs.
  • Discreet discounts applied. No awkward discussions or fumbling with codes and vouchers. Our discounts are applied discreetly to the bill, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience.
  • Members can make bookings online easily. No phone calls and waiting for callbacks.

What has been your biggest achievement with SupperClub Middle East to date?

Despite being a young company (SupperClub is just 3 years old!) in a saturated market with a number of well-established lifestyle membership platforms, we have managed to carve a niche in the industry. We attribute this to our strategic selection of partners which includes the finest names in the luxury hospitality and F&B segment, extending beyond the UAE to the entire Middle East. What makes this accomplishment even more significant is that we achieved it as a bootstrapped startup with a lean team. We take pride in our journey, navigating challenges and intense competition, and we’re excited about how far we’ve come.

How do you keep member retention high?

To ensure high member retention, we’ve introduced various touchpoints to keep our members informed about new offers and facilitate seamless bookings. Throughout the year, we’ve implemented the following strategies:

  • Hyper-Relevant Email Marketing: Our targeted email campaigns keep members in the loop about the latest offers tailored to their preferences and booking history.
  • Whatsapp Concierge Service: Members can now request personalized recommendations through our Whatsapp concierge. Whether it’s booking a restaurant serving a specific cuisine or special occasions such as birthdays, parties etc or other special requests, we provide real-time assistance.
  • Social Media Marketing: Engaging our audience through social media platforms allows us to showcase new offers, share member experiences, and foster a sense of community.
  • Homepage Carousels: The homepage features dynamic carousels highlighting newly added and most-booked offers, ensuring members are always aware of the latest and most popular choices.

Have you experienced any challenges/obstacles since launching? How have you overcome these?

Absolutely! Challenges are inevitable when growing a business, and we view them as opportunities for progress. Embracing this mindset is crucial because it signifies movement, and movement is key to expansion. Another essential factor is having a solid business partner for emotional balance. Muna and I work seamlessly together; on days when one of us is more tapped out (completely normal, as we’re human!), the other provides perspective and an action plan to tackle the obstacle at hand. This collaborative approach helps us navigate challenges effectively.

What have you learnt since founding SupperClub Middle East both on a personal and professional level.

Since starting SupperClub Middle East, We’ve learned a lot on both personal and work fronts.

  • Stay Grounded. Don’t celebrate a new client until the deal is done and money is in the bank.
  • Focus on Action. Don’t waste energy on possibilities. Put effort where things are actually happening.
  • See the Big Picture. Having a broader perspective is crucial for making smart decisions.
  • Time Management Matters. To stay sane while juggling work, family, and personal life, I’ve found it helpful to set specific work hours and avoid checking emails on my phone.
  • Solid Partnerships. Having a great business partner is a game-changer. Mehreen and I work well together because we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s been a learning adventure, and these lessons are shaping our journey in a big way.

With all the lessons and experience you now have, is there anything you would do differently if you were to build another start-up company?

Absolutely, one key change we’d make is to delegate responsibilities much faster. Recognizing the importance of efficient delegation early on would significantly streamline our startup process.

Your venture is completely self-funded, do you have any plans for funding rounds to support future growth?

While we considered it before, given our substantial growth, securing additional funding isn’t currently a top priority. However, we remain open to the right opportunity. If an investor with both funds and relevant market expertise approaches us, we would certainly be interested in exploring the possibilities.

As start-up founders, what qualities do you believe are integral to success?

  • Mental Stability. Maintaining a clear and stable mindset amidst challenges.
  • The ability to simplify rather than complicate, making tasks and decisions more manageable.
  • Being adept at making decisions in 60 seconds, ensuring agility in a fast-paced environment.
  • Knowing how to set up processes swiftly, streamlining operations for efficiency.

What are your goals for the next 5 years and beyond with SupperClub Middle East?

Over the next five years and beyond, our primary goal for SupperClub Middle East is to extend our reach into the GCC. We’re particularly keen on replicating our successful member base expansion in Bahrain and KSA. Our approach involves fostering organic collaborations, mirroring the successful model we’ve implemented in the UAE.

How can our readers get involved and find out more about SupperClub Middle East?

Visit our website and IG: @supperclubmiddleeast. We highly recommend you sign up for newsletters for regular updates on offers, special promotions, giveaways and other exclusive perks.

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East