The West has introduced some of the most technologically-advanced services in the digital food-ordering realm successfully and in the process cluttered the space with a plethora of apps and delivery services. The concept whilst catching on, is fairly nascent in Pakistan, and an untapped market for business to unlock a lot of economic value.
Many a times, while running late to work, not having sufficient time to grab a bite, the nation’s urban millennials make do with the perks of ordering food online. However, along with ease come some challenges, mostly resulting from last mile delivery, logistics and payment options which in themselves are all developing verticals in the larger tech play in the country.
Building upon a shared idea, coupled with the distinct notion of ‘democratizing your food’, the creators of a recently-initiated digital food service in Pakistan ‘Eat Mubarak’ unveiled why they decided to launch a start-up centered around food.
Sair Ali - a Social Sciences graduate from LUMS - co-founded ‘Eat Mubarak’ with Yusuf Jan (ex-chairman Pakistan Software Houses Association) as his second business venture.
Sair’s first brainchild namely Booked.pk is an online venue discovery portal which was started two years back. At just 30 years of age and with almost no prior experience in digital entrepreneurship, Sair has successfully garnered rave responses and feedback from the public for both his projects so far.
“94% Pakistani population still chooses to order food by picking up telephone and calling the restaurant. Whilst there is a global shift to more efficient ways the Pakistani population is no different and slowly warming up the idea. So we thought there is a lot of space in the market in this regard. While we have just one online service, Foodpanda, operating nationwide at present, India has five, its always healthy to bring some competition to the market and provide businesses and consumers a fair choice based on service and value,” Sair shared while in conversation with The News.
He further went on to reveal how he, along with Mr. Yusuf, aspires to establish ‘Eat Mubarak’ as an indigenous digital food service that will localize this for other markets globally with a proposition for the burgeoning world's halal food demand.
“When we launched ‘Eat Mubarak’ some six months back, we wanted to carve a niche in the digital economy with expedient, improved food delivering system across the nation. Additionally we also wanted to expand our services beyond Pakistan for which we have started rolling out pilots in cities like New York too. In those markets our differentiator is attracting the Muslim diaspora that previously faced a challenge while ensuring their meals complied with ‘halal’ food standards,” Sair stated.
“Under the banner of Eat Mubarak we have partnered with 600+ restaurants. Taking, individual branches of these outlets into consideration, that makes around 800 eateries that are on-board with us,” co-founder Yusuf Jan shared.
A seasoned entrepreneur with two tech exits under his belt, namely Mixit Technologies and Trafix LLC, 58-year-old Yusuf Jan, is a Pakistani-American entrepreneur who is drawn to Pakistan in more ways than one. He continues to co-invest and co-found with local talent with the aspirational target of building an ecosystem of startups and generating high growth employment for years to come for the tech and non-tech young graduates.
“So for many years, we have observed that the online food services used by the Pakistani population such as Foodpanda are regionally driven players, who acquired local startups as part of their growth strategy, our view was if some one can come in and create the right service there is definitely more than enough room for more players, especially a locally driven and focused player, thus ‘Eat Mubarak’ was born and is proudly made in Pakistan,” said Yusuf.
Responding to the question regarding the inspiration behind naming their service ‘Eat Mubarak’, both the creators proudly said, “Food is the one thing that unites everyone. 'Eat Mubarak' strongly resonates with Eid Mubarak and Eid is that one occasion that spreads smiles everywhere. We at Eat Mubarak want to see a united Pakistan that is bound in togetherness and happiness with food!”