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Dubai-Based Online Food Delivery Concept Mama Rita Brings A New Spin To Homecooked Meals "Our idea for Mama Rita is premium quality food with democratic pricing, and a menu carefully curated by the family."

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Mama Rita
Jessica and Rita Kahawaty, co-founders of Mama Rita

As a child, Jessica Kahawaty remembers people complimenting her mother, Rita, for the food she made, saying things like, "Your food is so great; you should open a restaurant!" But at the time, Rita was too busy being a devoted mother, and she never found time to pursue that line of thought. Fast forward many years later to 2020, and Jessica -who had, by then, become an internationally acclaimed model and humanitarian living in Dubai- decided to tap into the potential of this idea of her mother spearheading a food business when Rita, who had traveled to Dubai from her home in Australia, found herself staying on with her daughter for longer than she planned thanks to the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic. This is, in effect, what led to the mother and daughter becoming the co-founders of Mama Rita, an online food delivery concept specializing in the provision of homecooked meals that are both healthy and delicious.

The Mama Rita menu is an eclectic one- there are hearty offerings like the oriental rice with lamb and the beef stroganoff, interspersed with lighter fare like the fattoush salad and the newly introduced Mediterranean prawn wrap. "Our idea for Mama Rita is premium quality food with democratic pricing, and a menu carefully curated by the family," says Jessica, who essays the role of CEO at the enterprise, while Rita is its Head of Culinary.

"We are a light-asset digitally native vertical brand that uses cloud kitchens to operate and expand. Being at the forefront of the virtual brand, we can speak to our consumers directly through a combined reach on social media of 1.2 million followers. Innovation is at the heart of what we do. Our menu items are unique, many of which were my grandmother's recipes. The best part is that they are bestsellers and much loved by our Mama Rita customers, which allows us to stand out from the vast pool of players in the market."

Source: Mama Rita

And Jessica has the numbers to prove her statement. "The reception towards Mama Rita has been incredible so far, with over 150,000 meals served since launch, and an incredible retention rate of 80%," she points out. "Looking ahead, the vision for Mama Rita is to expand geographically to reach more people who are already fans of the brand."

At the same time, Mama Rita has also been inking strategic partnerships with influential brands in the market- Jessica proudly notes that in the fifth month of its operation, Starbucks approached the company to have one of its desserts called the "Fresh Fruit Paradise" in hundreds of the former's outlets across the UAE.

Such achievements bode well for the future of the business, and Jessica, for her part, seems to be all fired up for the road ahead. "Looking back on my journey, there is nothing I would've done differently," Jessica notes. "We jumped into this so fast without knowing what to expect, and the greatest businesses come from a moment of magic and serendipity."

Related: Making Complex Simple: Ahmed Saleh On His Dubai-Based 3Fils Becoming "The Best Restaurant In The MENA"

Source: Midwam

EUREKA: Jessica Kahawaty explains how to make an idea a great one

1. Keep it simple "The brightest ideas spark from the simplest of things– find what you are passionate about, and nurture it."

2. Solicit feedback "Speak to friends and people you trust in business for honest feedback on your big idea– be willing to receive negative and positive feedback. Challenge yourself fully."

3. Focus on providing value "Identify ways your great idea could improve a customer's life. Everything almost exists already, so be different, and offer something new."

4. Start today "Things don't have to be perfect for you to begin. The most important thing is not to be stagnant and wait. Today is the perfect day."

Mama Rita is one of the companies included in the 2022 edition of our annual 10 Great Ideas feature, which celebrates individuals and innovations that impress with their ingenuity. Check out the full list of 10 Great Ideas in our print issue here.

Related: By Reinventing Dates As Gourmet Treats, Kimri Founder Sara Saleh Is Aiming To Bridge Cultures With Her F&B Brand

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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