‘Halal Place’ is a new app with a database of halal places in the UK.
Through a fantastic conversation with Syed Ahmad, the Chief Executive Officer of ‘Halal Place’, I got the chance to have an insight into the development process, the hopes and the future vision for the app.
‘Halal’ refers to what is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law. Foods which are not considered halal for Muslims to consume include pork, blood and intoxicants such as alcoholic beverages.
Syed, what inspired to create the app?
“The idea to put all halal places together on a map came to my mind a few years ago. Our goal is to provide both Muslims and non-Muslims with the availability and benefits of this app.”
Why do you want non-Muslims to use this app, as well?
“When I grew up in London, there was a lot of anti-Muslim prejudice in British society, even in universities.”
“People tended to be just scared of Muslims though they did not know about Muslims.” However, there were actually approx.15, 000 halal places in London; so we started to think about the effective way of giving people knowledge about ‘Halal’.”
Every single restaurant’s page on the app has quite detailed information like signs of ‘Halal food only’, ‘Halal food + Non-halal food’, ‘Alcohol-free’, etc. This is because the ‘Halal Place’ team desires to give as many people as possible beneficial information to find halal places.
What are your thoughts on people’s understanding of Muslim Culture?
“We have almost 3 million Muslims in the UK, and around 6 percent of inbound tourists are also Muslims. It is said that they spend almost £1.5 billion a year, especially on food, fashion and travelling.”
“Therefore, halal economy is strong in the UK. In response to this, we set our vision to utilise this massive economical power to get people’s understanding of values of Muslims and give back the power to the entire the UK’s economy.”
“After Donald Trump won the election, as well as an explosion of arguments and conflicts around Brexit started to emerge, we found the problems of xenophobia and racism have gotten serious and serious in the world.”
“However, London is a multicultural city, so we were afraid these awful situations would happen in this city. “
Definitely, there are a lot of international restaurants in London. Syed also believes food can work as an extension of culture.
How does this app dedicate to people’s familiarity with diverse culture?
“It is not just a database to search halal places but a platform where the users can join sharing information with other users to introduce their recommended halal places, post pictures, etc.”
How did you increase the numbers of the app users?
“We definitely utilized a power of people’s sharing through social media.”
“We have 20, 000 followers on our social media (They operate quite actively on twitter, instagram, snapchat and facebook) but we have spent no money on marketing.“
“The buzz of our app are absolutely going on, and now the users are increasing at rate one person per minute…”
What was the most challenging thing that Halal Place’s business has ever faced?
“When I started this company, I was 21 years old. We had bad news, troubles and hardships almost every day. Especially, once people found how old I was, their attitude was always entirely changed…”
“To convince a lot of people to work together and gain an understanding of your idea is quite hard but necessary especially for youngers who want to launch business.”
Syed also explains how important his team members are
“We have now become a good team sharing ideas with each other, and all have quite strong passion and soul to dedicate to the work of this app.”
They are now developing a newer version of the app which will have much more convenient access/location information and adaptability to a larger range of users, etc.
I then asked Syed what are their long terms goals, with a smile he said….
“Our long-term vision is to be global. We are going to go to the US and the rest of European cities, such as Paris, Amsterdam, etc.”
“We desire to provide people with something like AI (Artificial Intelligence) that can always tell us options of halal places anywhere in the world, which might help to make an even cohesive society in the future. “
In the process of forming their business and the app, they have suffered from people’s lack of understanding and non-respectful attitude toward their voice because of their age, as well as subconscious against Muslims. However, their mission has always been clear; to dedicate the app to gain everyone’s understanding and familiarity with Muslims.
I was impressed by their strong passion which never stops to collect data and listen to the user’s voice.
“We have kept listening to users’ voices since the beginning, and writing down all of them in our notes. If we stop doing this, the app and our business will fail. We believe that to adapt to the users’ needs means connecting to success.”
After an insightful interview and meeting, I am happy to say that I am looking forward to downloading their new app.
This is not just because I want to eat Halal food, but because I would like to join the Halal lovers’ community to learn more about the Muslim culture and share it with my friends in JAPAN!