HalalNite 


Connecting Halal eaters with non-Halal restaurants.

HalalNite is a web platform that gives Halal eaters access to restaurants that are typically non-Halal. We curate some of the best NYC restaurants, create a Halal menu off their best-sellers, and deliver a dining experience Halal eaters otherwise wouldn’t have access to. 

Type 

Personal Project

Status

In Progress

Team

Myself
Rafey


What I Worked On: 

Product Strategy
Visual Design
Market Research
User Research
Operations

Research

Quantitative Online Survey
Qualitative Interviews

Tools

Sketch 
Framer X 
Landen
Typeform
Google Analytics
Facebook Pixel

Deliverable

An end-to-end MVP

•    •    •

HOW IT STARTED

This started as a conversation I had with my friend Rafey one night during dinner. We had painstakingly looked through several menus to make sure there was something he could eat. He has a particular type of dietary restriction: the ingredients must be halal. Most restaurants are not halal which means eating out makes him a default vegetarian or pescatarian. This night, he was a vegetarian. And not a happy one. After a heated rant, we ended up discussing the difficulty of finding cultural cuisines that were also Halal. And that’s when we thought about making a restaurant Halal for a night. 

CHALLENGE

How might we bring traditionally non-Halal cultural cuisines to the Halal-eating community? 

RESEARCH

Understanding the Problem  

Because I’m not a Halal eater myself, I wanted to understand what exactly Halal is and how that differs from other types of restrictions. Luckily, I have a Halal-eating friend. We sat down and I interviewed him about what Halal is, and his experience adhering to Halal. 

Halal actually is an Arabic phrase that designates if something is permissible according to the Quran. So it’s not a cuisine but rather a designation of whether something is considered sinful or not. How does this relates to food? Well, according to the Quran, there are certain foods that are considered halal (ok to eat) and ones that are haram (sinful to eat).

An easy guide for this is no pork or alcohol. Any other type of protein needs to come from a certified halal butcher. Seafood is exempt. Animal byproducts follow the certification & no pork rule. Halal meals need to be prepped like it was a known allergen.

The last thing that I was curious about was what were halal eaters doing if they did want to try a different cuisine that normally wasn’t halal. Apparently there are a few atypical Halal restaurants that serve Chinese or Mexican but not many exist. If someone wanted to create an authentic meal they would have to find the recipe and ingredients themselves, and cook it at home. 


Understanding Halal Eaters 

It was important to understand this demographic and their eating habits in order to create a dining experience they'd be interested in. Therefore we surveyed 75 halal eaters. You can view the results of the survey here

After aggregating this data, I segmented it out based on three criteria: profession, age, and average spend. This allowed us to be more granular in our analysis. In doing so, we learned that: 

1. 60.5% of halal eaters adhere very strictly to Halal 

2. Strict halal eaters that eat out the most spend an average of $35/meal

3. The most popular professions tended to be in finance, healthcare, and engineering

4. The most requested cuisines were Korean(56.6%), Mexican(44.7%), and Thai(42.1%)

5. A few (19.7%) wanted to try a fast food restaurant like McDonald or Shake Shack

6. Halal adhering strictness was rather binary. You were either strictly eating Halal (5) or not adhering at all(0) 

The night of our beta. 

PROTOTYPING

We played around with a few ideas from hiring a private chef to having a private dining experience with someone’s parents or grandparents. Ultimately we decided that working with a restaurant was the most ideal idea to test first. It required the same amount of effort as the rest of the ideas but had way more benefits for both the restaurants and the users.

We reached out to 50+ restaurants and spoke to either a general manager or the owner. Through conversations, we realized that restaurants were interested in what we were trying to do but had 3 issues:

1.     They don’t have the time or budget to market this event themselves
2.     They didn’t really know what halal entailed
3.     They did not know where to buy halal ingredients

All three issues were easily addressed. With that in mind, we found a restaurant, La Slowteria, that was willing to work with us. We threw up a simple landing page with a pre-fixe menu and marketed it on behalf of La Slowteria. We ended up with 30 participants who paid $42 each for this experience. 

LESSONS LEARNED 

After the event, we set up an email to automatically send the next morning asking our participants several questions about their experience. We had a 26.7% response rate (n=8) thus far but the results are promising. Here are some of the stats: 

NPS Average: 9.25 out of 10 
Overall Experience: 3.375 out of 4 

The most interesting question that we asked was How would you feel if we stopped doing HalalNite? 

Everyone either answered Somewhat Disappointed (n=3) or Very Disappointed (n=5) which meant that we had decent market fit. We segregated users around this metric and looked at what both groups thought were the benefits and what we could have improved to make their experience better. 

This revealed that both groups believe the value proposition of HalalNite was the ability to try new restaurants and community building. Inversely, what held some users back was the variety, price, and time of the event. 

We also gave users the ability to do an in-depth interview with us and are now in the processing of talking to them. Based on the post-event survey data alone, we believe there are two likely types of users: 


Mohammed, 26, Single, Engineer

Mohammed is a single 26-year-old mechanical engineer who lives with his parents and siblings in their 3-bedroom house in Queens.

  • He enjoys dining out with his friends in the city
  • Willing to travel to try new places
  • Eat out several times a week
  • Looks for affordability and mid to high-quality
  • Uses Whatsapp and Instagram as main social media


Aaleyah, 34, married, mother of two, Doctor

Aaleyah is a married3 4-year-old doctor with two kids: a 2 and 4-year-old. She lives in a house in Brooklyn with her husband and frequently drives to work.

  • Wants to find moments to share with her young family
  • Willing to splurge for a unique experience
  • Looks for family friendly accommodations
  • Wants to eat out once a month
  • Uses Facebook and Whatsapp 


After we finish our interviews, it will be interesting to see how these personas develop and evolve. 

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