Hunger Games in Doha

Cross-post. Originally published online for JustHere.

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You’ve got to hand it to the people of Qatar, they love their food.

This is true, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to picking places where one might eat. But takeaway, well, that’s another matter.

You’re telling me! I can never find menus and there’s very little information online. And anything I do find is usually hopelessly out of date.

Well, one can always call a restaurant.

Have you tried to do that?

Yeah. I can never get through. And if I can, then they never seem to understand what I’m saying.

I can never understand them either.


And the stars have to truly align for the delivery driver to find your home…

Or find your office.

If only there was a website, which made all of this easier…

Ah, then you’re in luck! Have you heard of ‘Doha Delivery’? They have online menus, which you can order from. The restaurant then receives your order online complete with a MAP to your location. Simple!

That, is, Genius! I need this in my life.

Me too!

I can’t imagine it was easy to set up.

Well, we started small. Tested the idea, adapted and changed the site in response to customer use. It’s working pretty well now.

Excellent! Although, I imagine it must have been a bit of a challenge to set up.

It was. Most restaurant managers in Doha seem pretty unmotivated and/or under qualified. That’s the downside of recruiting low cost labour. The ones who are driven, trained and supported are always looking for ways to improve customer service and grow their base. Many of them are actively working with Doha Delivery.

So what’s next?

Tablets for restaurants. The plan is to put the tablet next to the register and manage the orders without going to a computer. That way, there’s no excuse for messing anything up or delaying anything!

What can I learn from Doha Delivery’s experience?

Three things: In Doha, remember how small the population is and plan accordingly. Stay lean and light, but don’t sacrifice quality on critical areas. Experiment! Experiment!! Experiment!!! You will never, ever, ever get it right the first time, so be ready to fail and adapt.

Good points. What else did Doha Delivery learn?

Most staff and managers aren’t comfortable with computers. They need more help and support than you probably realise. Low cost staff actually costs businesses more in the long run, thanks to low productivity and low-tech adoption.

All this talk of food is making me hungry. Where do I find out more?

Follow Doha-Delivery on Twitter and Facebook for updates. Restaurant managers can get started by going to Doha Delivery and creating a new account. – once they’ve been verified, then the Doha Delivery team will give them the support they need to get started.

Presumably, because everyone must have seen the need for this sort of service, was it easy to get funding?

No. It was impossible! In 2011, no potential investor in Qatar understood the concept of investing in such a website so no institutions wanted to help. That’s why we did it all by ourselves.

Who or what inspired you, both for this project and future ones?

My kids inspire me. I want to show them that you can change the world…that you don’t have for settle for being a salary man or a “yes-man”. Every time you wonder why somebody doesn’t do something about “that”, you have to remember that YOU are that “somebody”.

What other ideas are you working on?

I developed a really innovative and well-built real-estate website called – but I don’t have any time to run that business, so I’m probably just going to sell it. I’m working on a really fantastic project for the Roudha Center right now that will hopefully transform the region, making it a better place for entrepreneurs. And, I’m also helping a CMU professor launch a new start-up called “Kairion” – it’s a software programme that will revolutionise academic citations and thus, Inshahallah, also revolutionise research.

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