Hazem El Dalati

  • Current company Touristic Investment Company (TICO)
  • Country Egypt
  • Inudstries Consumer

Brothers Hazem and Fahed began opening restaurant ventures in 2003, serving innovative global fusion dishes at their chain of Crave restaurants. Though Egypt lacked a sit-down restaurant scene a decade ago, fine dining establishments and imported chain restaurants now split the market. Crave’s casual dining restaurants fill the gap between these two dining options. Each of the restaurants offers a clean, casual, and comfortable dining experience with menus offering dishes from at least six international cuisines. All Crave restaurants calm customers with earth tones and light music kept low to maintain a relaxed atmosphere.

The entrepreneurs believe that research and development is as critical to the food and beverage industry as it is to a tech company. Their research takes the brothers on month-long trips to international food exhibitions and foreign restaurants to follow dining trends. They then change the Crave menu quarterly with new fusion dishes that adapt global cuisine to Egyptian tastes through creative uses of local ingredients. For example, Thai-inspired fried shrimp with coconut milk and red chiles transforms into an Egyptian original once placed on top of a bed of Middle Eastern angel hair pasta.

In addition to its five core restaurants, the Tico parent company includes a catering arm for corporate and private celebrations, and a hospitality management service that organizes large-scale events at two Cairo business parks. Tico’s restaurants and catering have won an SGS Food Safety & Hygiene award in 2011 and a Microsoft Windows 8 Launch Award for Quality Food Service in 2012. Crave plans to add five restaurants in Egypt and five throughout the MENA region within the next few years, as well as grow its catering business.

Tico has stirred up Egyptian casual dining through its founders’ combination of culinary creativity and management expertise. Hazem and Fahed now face the challenge of maintaining the consistency of their menu while adapting to the tastes of additional countries in the region. They have benefited from Endeavor mentorship on strategies to best focus Tico’s services and maintain the Crave brand as the company scales.

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