Discover, Review and Share info about your favourite eating outlet on Mazaydar.com
I have always said that if you want to succeed in business in this country, the easiest way is to open a good eatery because, as a nation, we are as focused on food as the Chinese are :). Any wonder then that as more web applications begin to emerge some of them are focusing on bringing us information regarding eating places around town.
KarachiMetro, launched by Mohtashim Ahmed of Ittazee.com fame, provides names of restaurants in karachi together with phone contacts and menus for those of us who are too lazy to venture out.
Foona (a word derived from a fusion of food and khana) was founded in 2006 and had an extremely good and easy-to-use interface and a great search facility. It focused on Islamabad to begin with and aimed to become countrywide. The website has been inactive for quite a while so I don’t know if the developers/founders decided to abandon the project or have been busy elsewhere.
Latest on the scene, and extremely impressive, is Mazaydar (meaning ‘delicious’). The idea behind Mazaydar, says Founder Obaid Ahmed (CEO of Deensoft), is to create a social platform where users can also contribute data by posting their favorite restaurant or cafe or road-side stall and posting reviews about the places that they have already gone to. The site currently allows you to browse listings in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Visitors are welcome to create an account and add new listings in any of these three cities. 44 more Pakistani cities will be added to the portal within the next few months.
The portal is already well populated with restaurants from the three major cities of Pakistan. I found the interface to be neat and intuitive. Obaid started working solo on this project around 6 months ago spending most of his weekends planning and designing the site.
Although so far it has been a one-man mission, Obaid tells me that that is about to change. He is in the process of setting up teams all across Pakistan to help promote and manage Mazaydar.com. He is also going to be creating an API for third-party developers to create mashups ontop of the data.
Community portals like these are driven no doubt by passion but if they are to be sustainable, there has to be some way to monetize the project. Obaid has already thought that through – in addition to advertiments, Mazaydar will be providing businesses the option to sponsor a complete listing where only their advertisements, deals and coupons will show up. Businesses will also be able to signup and customize their listings by adding more information about their business and get stats on who is saying what about them.
I think the fact that the portal incorporates reviews, video guides and star ratings that will be used to determine the best eateries in town for the Mazaydar Award, really makes this a very comprehensive and customer-centric site. The community will get involved, people will want to share their experiences and add interesting videos and comments. I know I will.
For people who travel on business to different cities, I think this portal will become a place to ‘consult’. I know that often when I am not in my home town, I wish I knew which restaurant to go to or to take people to. Mazaydar.com will make life much easier for me, that’s for sure. Maybe I am asking for too much but if there could be brief location information regarding the restaurants, that would really help too. GPS/Google maps? 🙂
Great site though – I hope that Obaid and the team he is putting together will take this in the direction that he has envisaged. I am sure it will evolve over time with community feedback. Good luck guys! You will definitely have me as a regular user/visitor.
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