Bana Shomali, co-founder of ServiceMarket, talks to Catering News Middle East about why she decided to add catering to her company’s portfolio…
Why did you decide to add catering to ServiceMarket’s offer? ServiceMarket is constantly looking for ways to make resident’s lives easier. We recognised that although there are many catering companies in the UAE, the process of finding the right one was both time consuming and confusing. It was hard to get an understanding of the quality provided by the different catering options, and calling up multiple companies to get quotes was inconvenient. We added catering to ServiceMarket to allow customers to easily get multiple quotes from companies within their budget, and enable them to read vetted reviews of the companies before they make their choice. At the same time, catering companies often struggle to get their name out there and reach more customers. ServiceMarket allows catering companies to list their services and menus, and immediately get access to thousands of UAE residents who are looking for what they have to offer.
How do your catering services differ from other providers in the market? What we offer is a flexible and customisable approach to catering. We offer easy access to multiple caterers providing different cuisines and within all budgets. We help match you with the right catering company for you given your requirements and budget – and our customer care team are there along the way to offer guidance. Customers submit their requirements online. They will then be contacted by catering companies with a quote. Customers can also request quotes directly from the caterers they shortlist.
What brands have you partnered with on your catering offer? There are already many big names onboard such as Dish Catering & Events, National Catering Company, Royal Catering, and Wafi Gourmet. We are constantly adding new partners to our platform, so if you own a catering company that is looking to grow its business, get in touch!
How have you ensured the ordering process is simple for users? Customers simply provide us with the event details. We take care of all the nitty-gritty work behind the scenes. The customer can either choose specific catering companies to get quotes from, or allow us to match them with multiple companies that serve the type of food and service they are looking for. We will call up the different catering companies, discuss the requirements, and then the company will contact the customer with a quote directly. The customer care team are on hand to answer any questions the client may have and customers can read vetted reviews in advance to make sure that they are picking the right caterer.
How successful has your catering division been since launch? Since the launch earlier this year, the catering division has received lots of positive feedback from both customers and catering companies. We have helped thousands of people get quotes for all sorts of events, from small family gatherings at home, to kid’s birthday parties, to large corporate events spanning over weeks. On the other hand, we have helped our catering partners find potential customers easily, without them having to spend a fortune on marketing themselves. Catering companies are finding that just by registering on our site they get immediate access to new customers.
What are your plans for future development of the catering services? We are expanding the catering services we offer every month by continuously adding more caterers to the site. We want to ensure that we cover all possible cuisines and food types, for all budgets. We are also in the process of getting hotels involved. For many events in Dubai, such as weddings, people opt to host the event in a hotel venue. Therefore, we want to combine the venue and catering aspects, to make it even easier for customers to get quotes and see what options they have for their event.
Bana Shomali is the founder of ServiceMarket.com (previously MoveSouq.com), an online marketplace in the UAE for home services.