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The new website creates jobs for stay-at-home moms. (Photo: Neda Monem)
The founder of Mamanpaz was very interested in digital businesses, as they grow very fast and need very little investment at the beginning
Sci & Tech

Homemade Persian Food Business Spreads Happiness

The Digital Age may move as fast as it could, but one thing is for sure: the love for authentic Persian food isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.   
Experts and laymen alike agree that good quality, homemade Persian cuisine appeals to both Iranians and non-Iranians.
No matter how many fast-food chains, stylish sushi places or hipster cafes emerge, the love for saffron-infused rice served with marinated lamb or chicken kebabs, or the herbal stew Qormeh Sabzi, has endured the vagaries of time. These Persian dishes become all the more irresistible when they taste just the way mothers have been cooking them for generations.      
A newly-found startup named Mamanpaz (made by mama in Persian) has set out to protect a value: to ensure we get our food just the way mothers make them at home, no matter how busy we may be.
Financial Tribune sat down with Tabassom Latifi, the startup’s founder, who explained that Mamanpaz is literally a homemade food distribution network.
With a background in electrical engineering and MBA from Sharif University of Technology, the 30-year-old Latifi said Mamanpaz connects two groups of people: homemade food providers who love to cook with those who are looking for homemade food, particularly those who are missing the taste and flavor of homemade food.
“I always wanted to start my own business,” Latifi said. “Graduating with an MBA, I learnt many things about entrepreneurship and how to start a company.”
According to the CEO, this encouraged her even further to launch a new business.
“I was very interested in digital businesses, as they grow very fast and need very little investment at the beginning,” she said.  
On the other hand, the food industry had always been interesting for Latifi who thought Mamanpaz could be a viable idea.
“My mother is a magnificent cook, but we live in two different cities. After I moved from Khorramabad in Lorestan Province to Tehran 12 years ago, there was no more homemade food for me. That was when I thought there might be many other people who, like myself, might love homemade food but just can’t have it.”
This, Latifi says, is how the idea of Mamanpaz for supplying homemade food and making people happy sprouted in 2013.
“We wanted to make housewives happy by creating jobs for them and helping them generate their own income,” she said.
“We also wanted to make our customers happy by delivering healthy and delicious homemade food.”

How It Works
After linking up with https://www.mamanpaz.ir, customers place their order two days in advance. They select the appetizer, the main dish or dessert of their choice. The name of the housewife preparing the food is mentioned below each item.
“The housewives start to cook after an order is placed and only in small quantities. That is why we observe the pre-ordering policy,” Latifi said.
Anybody who cooks skillfully can work with the team, once the quality of the food is approved on the basis of criteria that include taste, appearance, quality and conformity with health standards. One of the team members regularly visits the cooks’ homes to ensure they observe all the health standards.
Mamanpaz offers almost all the standard Persian dishes, which is indeed a broad range. It does not, however, offer fast-food such as pizzas and burgers.
The food is priced by the cooks themselves but must fall in a range set by the Mamanpaz team in advance. For every order, Mamanpaz gets about 30% of the bill.  
Latifi explains that the administrative team currently comprises seven members who handle coordination, distribution and technical management as well as customer support and financial affairs.
Mamanpaz also has a rating and review feature that, according to Latifi, is “the most important feature that helps us control quality. On the website, the moms are classified according to the ratings they receive from customers”.
Latifi explains that “most customers are young, care a great deal about food quality, have access to Internet and live modern lives that hardly leaves any time for cooking”.
The team has also released the Mamanpaz app for Android and iOS.

Challenges and Future Path
Since its launch in 2014, the popularity of Mamanpaz has spread only by word of mouth and it now has over 15,000 customers.
Launching the website was a challenge.
Initially, Latifi was unfamiliar with Internet-based businesses and didn’t have a website.
“I found three good cooks and then using my own mobile phone, I would send tomorrow’s lunch menu to the customers who were mostly my own friends. And they would get to choose between at most two options,” she said.  
As the business grew, challenges also became bigger.
“Quality assurance and reducing delivery costs were the most important operational challenges to come later,” she said.
Asked about the future path ahead, Latifi said she thinks the business will develop into a substantial peer-to-peer market for homemade food.
“We hope that eventually every housewife would consider Mamanpaz as a job opportunity,” she said.
The business network currently only operates in Tehran, but plans to expand to other metropolises soon.

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