It’s Monday afternoon, and you are already worried about the Friday gathering you set up in your home with the girls. Everyone has confirmed, but you have no clue what you are going to do about food. Never much of a cook, you have a couple of tried and true catering concepts saved on your phone. Yet, this time, you are looking for something different.
So you pick up the phone and call a concept your friend recommended. You are on hold for five minutes before the catering department comes on the phone. You ask if they have availability, and are on hold for another 10 minutes. Finally, your date and time is confirmed, but now you have the daunting task of going through the entire menu on the phone.
“I have that issue,” said Latifa Benessa co-founder and Business Developer of Bilbayt.com. “Honestly, although I would love to know how to cook and everything, I don’t. When we have gatherings I’m always running around. The extra thing is the food. It’s just such a hassle.”
Benessa, along with her husband Ahmed Salamah and his long time friend Ali Al-Awadi, launched Kuwait’s first digital casual catering service Bilbayt.com. Both Al-Awadi and Salamah knew they wanted to start a technology-based company together, and that it had to be about food. It was Benessa who, while out to lunch one day with Salamah, identified the challenges of scheduling catering in Kuwait.
They came up with a plan for a website that not only saved you time and energy when setting up the food for your event, it also eliminated much of the headache when dealing with restaurants.
“Imagine calling up a caterer or restaurant and asking what the menu is,” said Salamah. “Some of the restaurants have like 30 items on their menu. Sometimes you have different nationalities, so there is always a language barrier. You also can’t see their setup or how the food is served. Imagine all of this and being on the phone. Bilbayt eliminates all of that.”
Using Bilbayt.com is as simple as a few clicks. You enter the date and time, and are presented with a list of available caterers. You can then click through each one, check their menu, catering and station photos, and special requirements. Concepts like AJ’s Food Truck need a place to park the truck, while Breadz can set up anywhere in your home. Once the order is confirmed, the restaurant will call just to confirm the details, and you, the hostess, can relax until the day of the event.
What makes Bilbayt’s website truly unique is their user experience and the ease of ordering your live cooking station online by immediately identifying the restaurant’s schedule and menu offerings. They also include a checklist of requirements for setup, including electricity, special needs and physical space. Customers can make requests for female only servers, and any other special needs they may require.
The site, only fully launched in March of 2015 now has contracts with almost thirty restaurants, some of which never offered catering before Bilbayt. Behind the screen, the team offers consulting services for the menu creation and development of a catering concept. It’s this personal commitment, Al-Awadi says, that has strengthened their business.
“We usually start with the owner, who directs us to the person in charge of catering, who directs us to marketing,” said Al-Awadi. “So we have to balance all these people. It’s good because we have a personal relationship with them. They know that we are on the ground and doing the work ourselves.”
The team has also recently launched a mini catering service for those of us who cannot facilitate a live cooking station, like hosting smaller parties in apartments and meetings in an office. The new packages are designed by the Bilbayt team, and will offer ready-made boxes for a small party of 10 – 50 people.
So whether it’s a small gathering or a big party, check out Bilbayt.com. Leave the food to them, so you can enjoy your guests.