Background to Romex

William Fattal, Elias Fattal, Romex, RomexWorldWilliam and Elias Fattal, Founders

Romex is a wholly owned subsidiary of Citylink Group Limited which is privately owned by the Fattal family.  Roboserve Ltd was founded in the 1960’s by William and Elias Fattal with capital generated in their property business.  It was a drinks and snacks vending machine service business.

Roboserve was built up from scratch on service and technical innovation over a 20 year period into the largest independent UK Company specialising in this market.  Roboserve initially used other manufacturers’ products to provide an exemplary service, and later improved their products.

In 1987 the UK business of Roboserve was sold to a PLC and following the sale, the parent company changed its name from Roboserve Holdings Ltd to Citylink Group Limited (Citylink). The UK part of the business was employing some 1,500 people and had developed other activities, including overseas expansion and held a dominant market position in a food service adopted by major hotel groups as well as leading organisations.

One leading edge technical innovation was the development of the first automated hotel mini bar (called Robobar) billing system in 1982 – an innovative combination of fibre optics (instead of mechanical switches) together with an on-board pcb linked through the hotels TV cables to each hotel’s property management system.  The development of Robobar was customer led with a software programme that could be dialled into anywhere around the world, providing automatic billing as well as notification when Bars need refilling to minimise labour costs and guest disturbance.

Robobar was first adopted by predominately leading chain hotels in the UK, which led to installations in North America and Western Europe, with an HQ in London and offices in     Paris, Toronto and San Francisco.

The Robobar business was sold in 1996 to a company with a large base of “honour” bars who joint ventured with Electrolux to adopt the automatic solution.

Realising that technology is key, the Fattal brothers also started and developed a computer maintenance business which by 2004 was servicing some 500,000 PC’s and taking 150K service calls a year.   Wishing to provide an impeccable service they developed an in-house employee management solution which would allocate the best positioned engineer to carry out the service call ensuring that they arrived on site with the correct spare parts and within the contracted time. This technology enabled them to increase service levels as well as reducing costs which in turn positioned them to sub contract for leading brand computer equipment manufacturers.

With the introduction of the mobile phones in the late 1990’s– they saw the opportunity to use this technology to not only create an off the shelf mobile employee management solution but also one that could protect employees too. Using experience and expertise gained in the Robobar and computer maintenance business, the concept of Romex started to be created by Citylink in 2009. 

With the mobile phone becoming the dominant communication tool it has also become a hazard for drivers. So they have developed Driver Distraction Prevention software on the mobile that stops drivers using their mobile phones whilst driving only allowing emergency calls without being distracted.  It is the first company to develop a sophisticated software application incorporating abuse management that can be adopted worldwide.  As part of National Road Safety week in Novemver it is donating a third of the nominal subscription costs to charity.