The Secret Sauce: Interview with Mohamed Chahin from eatclever

The Secret Sauce: Interview with Mohamed Chahin from eatclever

By
Arman Anatürk
May 7, 2020

“If you want to win in life, if you want to build something extraordinary, you have to take risks”

Mohamed is a second-generation refugee. His parents immigrating from Lebanon to a small village in Northern Germany.

Growing up, Mohamed saw how his father’s risk-averse choices caused him to miss out on golden opportunities.

This sparked him to take an alternate path, one that led him to drop-out of university, move to Berlin and work on a startup idea that he and his friends came up with over a hackathon weekend This gave birth to, eatclever, a virtual restaurant brand now with 100 locations over 70 cities with over a million meals served.

Mohamed shares more about the early days of starting a company, the nitty-gritty details of what life was really like behind a fast-growing startup, their unconventional ways of hiring, and how a routine customer call landed them with investment from one of Germanys most well-known founders, Tarek Müller.

In January 2020, after 5 years of growing eatclever, Mohamed decided to step away from his position and is now working on his new book summarizing his learnings on behavioral psychology to help founders and entrepreneurs to better communicate with their customers.

Timestamps

  • 0:56 - 08:40 -  Mohamed’s early life
    - Immigrating from Lebanon to Northern Germany
    - His first entrepreneurial venture, picking nuts
    - Working as a car salesman
  • 08:40 - 14:20 - The first taste of the startup world
    - Discovering the startup world
    - Leaving university to join a startup in Berlin
    - Learning the ropes of an early-stage startup  
  • 14:20 -18:30 - Starting eatclever, testing, pivoting
    - The birth of eatclever, the problem that drove them
    - Pioneering the virtual restaurant category
  • 18:30 - 25:30 - Acquiring customers
    - Why eatcelver chose to bootstrap from the get-go
    - Acquiring restaurants: tactics, tip and things that don't scale
    - Acquiring customers through Tinder - how and why?
  • 25:30 -  30:40 - How cold calling led to seed funding
    - Cold calling eatclever’s first investor
  • 31:10 - 35:47 - Early hires
    - “Only hire working students”
    - eatclever’s brutally honest job applications
  • 35:48 - 40:39 -  The Secret Sauce behind eatclever’s growth
    - Processes, people
    - Expanding internationally and lessons learned
    - Profit led growth
  • 40:40 - 44:53 - The realities of a startup founder  
    - The realities of a startup founder  
    - Putting out fires day-to-day
    - Covid-19 and the impact on restaurants
  • 44:53 - Stepping away from eatclever
    - Why Mohamed left eatclever
    - Planning his departure
    - What Mohamed is working on today
    - Link to find out more

The Secret Sauce by FoodHack

In a fast changing industry, it's good to know how to get ahead. The Secret Sauce is a business podcast where host, Arman Anaturk, co-founder of FoodHack, speaks with disruptive entrepreneurs and innovators from across the food industry to learn more about the businesses they’ve built.

Written by
Arman Anatürk

Lived across North America, Europe and Asia, leading to my questionable cooking style. Jumped two feet forward into the startup world in 2013, and haven't looked back since. Always on the hunt for the next story or inside scoop to cover - email me or connect on LinkedIn.

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“If you want to win in life, if you want to build something extraordinary, you have to take risks”

Mohamed is a second-generation refugee. His parents immigrating from Lebanon to a small village in Northern Germany.

Growing up, Mohamed saw how his father’s risk-averse choices caused him to miss out on golden opportunities.

This sparked him to take an alternate path, one that led him to drop-out of university, move to Berlin and work on a startup idea that he and his friends came up with over a hackathon weekend This gave birth to, eatclever, a virtual restaurant brand now with 100 locations over 70 cities with over a million meals served.

Mohamed shares more about the early days of starting a company, the nitty-gritty details of what life was really like behind a fast-growing startup, their unconventional ways of hiring, and how a routine customer call landed them with investment from one of Germanys most well-known founders, Tarek Müller.

In January 2020, after 5 years of growing eatclever, Mohamed decided to step away from his position and is now working on his new book summarizing his learnings on behavioral psychology to help founders and entrepreneurs to better communicate with their customers.

Timestamps

  • 0:56 - 08:40 -  Mohamed’s early life
    - Immigrating from Lebanon to Northern Germany
    - His first entrepreneurial venture, picking nuts
    - Working as a car salesman
  • 08:40 - 14:20 - The first taste of the startup world
    - Discovering the startup world
    - Leaving university to join a startup in Berlin
    - Learning the ropes of an early-stage startup  
  • 14:20 -18:30 - Starting eatclever, testing, pivoting
    - The birth of eatclever, the problem that drove them
    - Pioneering the virtual restaurant category
  • 18:30 - 25:30 - Acquiring customers
    - Why eatcelver chose to bootstrap from the get-go
    - Acquiring restaurants: tactics, tip and things that don't scale
    - Acquiring customers through Tinder - how and why?
  • 25:30 -  30:40 - How cold calling led to seed funding
    - Cold calling eatclever’s first investor
  • 31:10 - 35:47 - Early hires
    - “Only hire working students”
    - eatclever’s brutally honest job applications
  • 35:48 - 40:39 -  The Secret Sauce behind eatclever’s growth
    - Processes, people
    - Expanding internationally and lessons learned
    - Profit led growth
  • 40:40 - 44:53 - The realities of a startup founder  
    - The realities of a startup founder  
    - Putting out fires day-to-day
    - Covid-19 and the impact on restaurants
  • 44:53 - Stepping away from eatclever
    - Why Mohamed left eatclever
    - Planning his departure
    - What Mohamed is working on today
    - Link to find out more

The Secret Sauce by FoodHack

In a fast changing industry, it's good to know how to get ahead. The Secret Sauce is a business podcast where host, Arman Anaturk, co-founder of FoodHack, speaks with disruptive entrepreneurs and innovators from across the food industry to learn more about the businesses they’ve built.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Read Unlimited Articles
  • Access Member Directory
  • Join a Global Community
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“If you want to win in life, if you want to build something extraordinary, you have to take risks”

Mohamed is a second-generation refugee. His parents immigrating from Lebanon to a small village in Northern Germany.

Growing up, Mohamed saw how his father’s risk-averse choices caused him to miss out on golden opportunities.

This sparked him to take an alternate path, one that led him to drop-out of university, move to Berlin and work on a startup idea that he and his friends came up with over a hackathon weekend This gave birth to, eatclever, a virtual restaurant brand now with 100 locations over 70 cities with over a million meals served.

Mohamed shares more about the early days of starting a company, the nitty-gritty details of what life was really like behind a fast-growing startup, their unconventional ways of hiring, and how a routine customer call landed them with investment from one of Germanys most well-known founders, Tarek Müller.

In January 2020, after 5 years of growing eatclever, Mohamed decided to step away from his position and is now working on his new book summarizing his learnings on behavioral psychology to help founders and entrepreneurs to better communicate with their customers.

Timestamps

  • 0:56 - 08:40 -  Mohamed’s early life
    - Immigrating from Lebanon to Northern Germany
    - His first entrepreneurial venture, picking nuts
    - Working as a car salesman
  • 08:40 - 14:20 - The first taste of the startup world
    - Discovering the startup world
    - Leaving university to join a startup in Berlin
    - Learning the ropes of an early-stage startup  
  • 14:20 -18:30 - Starting eatclever, testing, pivoting
    - The birth of eatclever, the problem that drove them
    - Pioneering the virtual restaurant category
  • 18:30 - 25:30 - Acquiring customers
    - Why eatcelver chose to bootstrap from the get-go
    - Acquiring restaurants: tactics, tip and things that don't scale
    - Acquiring customers through Tinder - how and why?
  • 25:30 -  30:40 - How cold calling led to seed funding
    - Cold calling eatclever’s first investor
  • 31:10 - 35:47 - Early hires
    - “Only hire working students”
    - eatclever’s brutally honest job applications
  • 35:48 - 40:39 -  The Secret Sauce behind eatclever’s growth
    - Processes, people
    - Expanding internationally and lessons learned
    - Profit led growth
  • 40:40 - 44:53 - The realities of a startup founder  
    - The realities of a startup founder  
    - Putting out fires day-to-day
    - Covid-19 and the impact on restaurants
  • 44:53 - Stepping away from eatclever
    - Why Mohamed left eatclever
    - Planning his departure
    - What Mohamed is working on today
    - Link to find out more

The Secret Sauce by FoodHack

In a fast changing industry, it's good to know how to get ahead. The Secret Sauce is a business podcast where host, Arman Anaturk, co-founder of FoodHack, speaks with disruptive entrepreneurs and innovators from across the food industry to learn more about the businesses they’ve built.

“If you want to win in life, if you want to build something extraordinary, you have to take risks”

Mohamed is a second-generation refugee. His parents immigrating from Lebanon to a small village in Northern Germany.

Growing up, Mohamed saw how his father’s risk-averse choices caused him to miss out on golden opportunities.

This sparked him to take an alternate path, one that led him to drop-out of university, move to Berlin and work on a startup idea that he and his friends came up with over a hackathon weekend This gave birth to, eatclever, a virtual restaurant brand now with 100 locations over 70 cities with over a million meals served.

Mohamed shares more about the early days of starting a company, the nitty-gritty details of what life was really like behind a fast-growing startup, their unconventional ways of hiring, and how a routine customer call landed them with investment from one of Germanys most well-known founders, Tarek Müller.

In January 2020, after 5 years of growing eatclever, Mohamed decided to step away from his position and is now working on his new book summarizing his learnings on behavioral psychology to help founders and entrepreneurs to better communicate with their customers.

Timestamps

  • 0:56 - 08:40 -  Mohamed’s early life
    - Immigrating from Lebanon to Northern Germany
    - His first entrepreneurial venture, picking nuts
    - Working as a car salesman
  • 08:40 - 14:20 - The first taste of the startup world
    - Discovering the startup world
    - Leaving university to join a startup in Berlin
    - Learning the ropes of an early-stage startup  
  • 14:20 -18:30 - Starting eatclever, testing, pivoting
    - The birth of eatclever, the problem that drove them
    - Pioneering the virtual restaurant category
  • 18:30 - 25:30 - Acquiring customers
    - Why eatcelver chose to bootstrap from the get-go
    - Acquiring restaurants: tactics, tip and things that don't scale
    - Acquiring customers through Tinder - how and why?
  • 25:30 -  30:40 - How cold calling led to seed funding
    - Cold calling eatclever’s first investor
  • 31:10 - 35:47 - Early hires
    - “Only hire working students”
    - eatclever’s brutally honest job applications
  • 35:48 - 40:39 -  The Secret Sauce behind eatclever’s growth
    - Processes, people
    - Expanding internationally and lessons learned
    - Profit led growth
  • 40:40 - 44:53 - The realities of a startup founder  
    - The realities of a startup founder  
    - Putting out fires day-to-day
    - Covid-19 and the impact on restaurants
  • 44:53 - Stepping away from eatclever
    - Why Mohamed left eatclever
    - Planning his departure
    - What Mohamed is working on today
    - Link to find out more

The Secret Sauce by FoodHack

In a fast changing industry, it's good to know how to get ahead. The Secret Sauce is a business podcast where host, Arman Anaturk, co-founder of FoodHack, speaks with disruptive entrepreneurs and innovators from across the food industry to learn more about the businesses they’ve built.