Amir Allam is the young entrepreneur behind the website that caused a revolution in the methods Egyptians used to decide on where and what to order for food today. If you haven’t already guessed, Amir is the man behind elmenus. We met with him to discuss corporate life, risking it all for passion and of course food!
1. Tell us about how the idea for elmenus originated.
I like food and I like going out, simple as such. There was a time where I was going out very frequently and sometimes I would end up at places that were either too expensive without prior notice, or had dishes that I would miss out on because I didn’t know they served.This is where the idea originated.
2. So your love of food is actually what brought us elmenus?
Yes! I wasn’t even thinking about making it a business. For the first year all I thought about was how helpful it would be to have a food database around and how there are probably so many people who are facing the same problem. If I had thought about it from the business perspective first it wouldn’t have succeeded. As opposed to the countless people who noticed the opportunities in the food sector, I was passionate about it.
3. What exactly does elmenus do?
elmenus helps people decide what to eat, the platform provides comprehensive restaurant information including most importantly menus! Since the launch of the iOS app, elmenus has attracted the growing foodie community in Egypt by enabling them to share thousands of tasty food photos and reviews easily.
4. What gave you the courage to quit your job and take your chances with elmenus?
That was the easiest part! (laughs) it’s reason enough to feel like you’re in an environment where you’re under appreciated. Plus I was blessed with some very frustrating managers so they all sort of pushed me over the edge.
People need to understand it’s not about the destination you’re getting to, it’s the entire journey. It has become cliché for one to say that money isn’t the right reason, but it really isn’t.
5. Walk us through the process of how elmenus came to be.
Right after I quit my job, I hired freelancers and we held our meetings in cafes. It was very random at first. The website went viral after our launch in 2011, the number of users highly surpassed our expectations and word of mouth got us thousands of users per month. By the end of the year we had started making money, so we purchased an office and became an official entity.
6. How many subscribers do you have now?
We have almost half a million per month.
7. You must have gone through many obstacles to get to that, right?
Recruiting was a difficult thing to do. It was always hard to find good talent and people who were willing to take the risk with doing something that has never been done before and hence has no reference. On top of that, they had to be passionate about the product as well.
Don’t settle for the status quo. There’s always more…
8. What’s your most prominent attribute?
I guess you can say I’m curious.
9. As a young entrepreneur, what advice would you give people who want to follow your lead?
Make sure it’s for the right reasons. People need to understand it’s not about the destination you’re getting to, it’s the entire journey. It has become cliché for one to say that money isn’t the right reason, but it really isn’t. Money comes as a byproduct as long as you’re passionate about what you do.
10. What’s the best piece of advice you can offer?
I would say as a general philosophy, there’s always more. Don’t settle for the status quo. There’s always more than what is obvious.
you can visit elmenus’ website at www.elmenus.com or download the app at
After all the inspirational food talk we decided to ask Amir if he thinks he knows what women want, and now we think Amir knows us way to well. Here’s his spot on answer: