This food-delivery startup is providing an income for women in Egypt

Tech

Karim Mansour

Food by food delivery app Mumm

Courtesy of Mumm

It’s a bit of a running joke in the Middle East that you can get pretty much anything delivered here, day or night. Fast-food outlets may close shop at 10 pm in the UK and the US, but in the UAE and Egypt, you can have McDonald’s delivering burgers to your doorstep at 2 am.

For the majority of the region’s working individuals, convenience is crucial. According to a 2016 report by auditing firm KPMG, three in every four people in the UAE order a takeaway or have food delivered at least once a week. While there are no recent statistics relating to food and beverage consumption habits in Egypt, it’s no secret that junk food is more affordable than preparing healthy choices at home.

Thirty-two-year-old entrepreneur Waleed Abdel Rahman was part of the same fast-food trap. He led a busy corporate life in Cairo and Beirut, and the last thing he wanted to do was return home and prepare dinner.

Waleed Abdel Rahman_founder of Mumm Egypt

Photo: Waleed Abdel Rahman, founder of Mumm, Egypt / Courtesy of Mumm

“I used to complain to a colleague about having to eat unhealthy food all the time and pay lots of money for it,” he told My Salaam. “She sent me the number of a home-based cook who delivers hot, freshly cooked meals to your doorstep.

While this solved the problem of getting a supply of fresh, healthy food, Waleed realised that the business lacked a number of factors, such as good packaging, good marketing, and standard pricing. That’s when the concept of Mumm, his food-delivery venture, came to him.

Now a fully functional business, Mumm is a new style of food-delivery service: instead of teaming up with fast-food restaurants, Waleed partners with amateur or professional chefs to deliver fresh, home-cooked meals to patrons in Egypt.

HOW IT WORKS

Launched a year ago, the platform collaborates with ‘food partners’ who prepare special menus. Users order what they want, and Mumm takes care of the delivery.

 “A typical Mumm client is a white collar corporate employee or hard-working people who want to juggle a successful career and a healthy lifestyle for their families,” said Waleed.

But the real question is, are Mumm meals more expensive than junk food? “No, you’re almost paying the same price for a healthy, safe, clean, home-cooked meal.”

Food by food delivery app Mumm

Courtesy of Mumm

While the service is an innovative idea in itself, it’s also helping those who usually cannot find work in the country. For example, many of the company’s food partners are housewives (who can bring in an average of $300 a month through the service, according to Waleed) as well as refugees currently residing in Egypt. For many, this can be an invaluable source of income.

“We’ve partnered with FARD foundation, a refugee non-profit organisation, to get Syrian, Iraqi and Sudanese women onto our platform as food partners and create work opportunities for them,” Waleed said.

QUALITY CONTROL

Drawing on his experience in marketing, Waleed was keen to ensure that his product was something users could trust from the get go. Impressively, he gathered his first seed investment only three months into the project.

“We carry out regular health inspections of all the kitchens of our food partners, and we provide them with a training/induction period in the beginning with a full, detailed guide on how to carry out health-standard-compliant food preparation procedures,” he said. “Those who don’t comply or break the rules are asked to leave the platform.”

At the moment, the majority of partners on Mumm are women, as they are usually at home during the day.

Food by food delivery app Mumm

Courtesy of Mumm

GOING GLOBAL?

Waleed has his eyes on growth as well as continued collaboration with local charities. “During Ramadan, we introduced the ‘Mumm Kheir’ initiative, which enables you to provide iftar to a fasting refugee via the push of a button, with the meals delivered to FARD Foundation to distribute.”

Mumm has also worked with the Baheya Foundation during breast cancer awareness month and with the Misr El Kheir Foundation during Mother’s Day with a goal to release 1,500 mothers from debtor’s prison to spend the day with their families. “So we’re always finding new ways to give back,” Waleed remarked.

In terms of ambitions for Mumm over the next 5 years, Waleed admits he would love to go global. “But for our short-term plan, we’re hoping to incorporate the model in other countries in the region and expand our network locally within Egypt to have more than 10,000 food partners on the platform.

“Right now, we’re trying to grow and become a dominant player in the field by acquiring more food partners and introducing more people to the app, and in 2018, we’ll start to penetrate other markets.”

© MySalaam.com 2017 All rights reserved

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