The food industry in Egypt is booming especially during Ramadan when businesses – dessert places in particular – compete to create the most innovative dishes. If you visit The Batter Half & Co. during Ramadan, you’ll find their display packed with a wide variety of delicious desserts from konafa with lotus cream, red velvet, Nutella and banoffee and delicious konafa cones.
In an extremely packed and competitive market, The Batter Half & Co. founded by Karim Auf stood up among the crowd. By offering top quality and creative desserts in Egypt. In our interview with Karim, he tells us more about The Batter Half & Co and their success tale.
Karim Auf and The Batter Half & Co revolutionizing the dessert scene in Egypt
Karim Auf has been in the dessert industry for almost a decade. Despite always loving food — specifically desserts in Egypt — he did not have an educational background in the culinary world. Far from cooking, Karim studied International Relations and History in the United Kingdom. Afterward, he started working in a management consulting company. Although he only stayed there for 2 years, he managed to learn and a great deal about management consulting which was helpful when he was launching his own business. He explains:
Learning a little about management is a great start for anyone looking to start their own business.
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Food and dessert inspiration
The food industry had taken a hit in 2011. Yet, desserts in Egypt continued to thrive as they represent a joyous meal in times of instability and distress. In 2012, despite it being a very turbulent time and the inner circle of Auf advising him not to launch a business, Auf decided to launch The Batter Half & Co.
Everyone thought I was crazy to decide to open a business at such a difficult time. However, I was convinced that there was a business need to be fulfilled.
At that time, there were two kinds of dessert shops: one that was very specialized for cupcakes, waffles, or crepes, or the old-school traditional dessert shops. The need to bring his innovative spirit into the equation inspired him to bring new creations and trends from Europe and the USA across a variety of options; one of them being the industry of desserts in Egypt.
Filling the gap
Yes, desserts had a special place in Karim’s stomach regardless of the meal.
My friends always made fun of me because no matter how much food I ate, there was always room for dessert.
This was one of the main ideas behind our brand and its name, that dessert is the better half of the meal. The name caught on quickly, but the hardest and most important thing for any business is quality and consistency. To provide both in times of financial withdrawal was a tough task for Karim and his team. This was a lesson he learnt the hard way because, during the first few years of offering various desserts in Egypt, a lot of political and economic turbulence continued to hit the Egyptian markets. Furthermore, it was followed by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. All these factors put a lot of pressure on our suppliers in terms of both quantities available and prices. The Batter Half & Co had to adapt to use more local ingredients where they succeeded in providing the utmost quality even using alternative ingredients for some of their innovative recipes. Though, there was still the challenge of using the dominant channels of communication to attract those seeking good desserts in Egypt.
After deciding on the name, Auf went ahead and purchased the domain. He had to ensure that their launching business had a good website and domain for email exchanges and also for their clients. The Batter Half & Co. use GoDaddy’s domain name, web hosting and their professional emails. Subsequently, they launched the website in 2012. Karim explains why they chose to use GoDaddy’s services:
GoDaddy is the go-to brand when it comes to domains and websites, and I truly believe in specialization, it is best to go to the best in any field if you want to get the best service.
Karim shares a few tips to anyone interested in opening a similar business or into launching a restaurant specialized in desserts in Egypt:
Don’t be tempted by the glamour of it, everyone thinks it’s a lot of fun to own a restaurant or a dessert place, and in reality, it is. But also it is a lot of hard work with thousands of details where many things can go wrong.
Therefore, his advice is to stay on top of your business every step of the way. Satisfy your customers. Put a smile on a child’s face, and a memorable experience in an adult’s head. Make your customers happy; their feedback is rocket fuel for your efforts to improve and remain excellent. Eventually, you will forget all about the hardships and just remember the value of what you do.
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Image by: The Batter Half & Co