DUBAI, UAE, March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Following more than eight months of research and development, UAE-based team of internet-savvy entrepreneurs officially introduced Tawilati - the region's first online restaurant booking gateway at this year's Taste of Dubai, the UAE's largest foodie festival with over 17,000 visitors per year. The site acts as a search engine for some 500 restaurants in the UAE and enables users to make dining arrangements with the click of a mouse.
With the growing number of internet users in the region standing at more than 70 million - not including the close to 45 million internet mobile users - and the constantly expanding food and beverage industry, the power team of founders Dr. Ibrahim Baggili - a Cyber Forensics specialist - and Mohamed Al-Marzougy - an Emirati entrepreneur - identified the need for a real-time booking engine that provides information about restaurants. Drawing inspiration from the user-friendliness of search engine giant Google, Baggili and Al-Marzougy partnered with itrak technologies in the UK and went on to develop Tawilati in early 2011.
Tawilati.com (meaning "my table" in Arabic) is an online gateway dedicated to diners in the Middle East to find, learn about and book restaurants online. From a diner's view, using Tawilati is as easy as visiting a website, typing in search criteria such as the name of a restaurant, a type of cuisine, a location, etc. and booking their selection online in a matter of seconds. It's free, simple and eliminates the stereotypical run-around of making restaurant reservations. On the restaurant's end, using the system is as simple as a visit to Facebook with a fully customizable back office that merely requires an Internet connection. Options such as an iPad application for customer surveys allows the restaurant to track all of its past and present diners such as vegetarians or those with food allergies, creating an invaluable method of learning about its clients and even the quality of its staff.
"Imagine having a butler in your pocket," says Al-Marzougy. "All you have to do is say the word and he sets off to realize your wish… That is Tawilati! An Internet connection from a laptop or android phone, a few words to list what you are looking for and you are presented with a host of some of the best outlets in the UAE."
The company currently targets restaurants throughout the UAE and is amidst negotiations with several high-end hotel groups with the aim of further expanding the outreach of Tawilati to the entire Middle East region. Al-Marzougy is looking to collaborate with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to create awareness amongst visiting tourists who are not familiar with the country and stand to benefit from such a social gateway that provides extensive information and access to the best the food and beverage industry has to offer.
Dr. Baggili, who brings with him more than 13 years experience in the technology realm, including a PhD in Cyber Forensics and his family's extensive involvement in the catering industry within the UAE, leveraged his expertise to apply some of the most advanced technology and sophisticated interface when developing Tawilati to establish it beyond regional standards. But what really makes the team special, he says, is "Each of us is highly qualified within their field and are driven by pure passion for excellence, quality, and creativity in every aspect of our work and it is that drive that has enabled us to grow our online presence in such a short span of time through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and weekly dining deals blog post."
Tawilati.com is already active online and has been so since end of 2011 as part of a test trial to confirm usability and demand all of which have resulted in positive and very promising feedback by consumers across the UAE. As part of its official launch this week, Tawilati will be showcasing its services at booth number E135, adjacent to the Philips Chefs' Theatre during Taste of Dubai from March 15th to March 17th.