#Asia Amid tough weather, Zomato rolls out table reservation feature

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Recently, the restaurant listing and food ordering firm laid off 300 employees and shut down food delivery services in four Indian cities

Indianfood

2015 may be a year that Zomato probably wants to forget forever. A massive employee layoff, coupled with the leakage of CEO Deepinder Goyal’s e-mail to employees asking them to pull up their socks, spoiled the party for this restaurant listing-cum-food ordering company, which has operations across the globe.

The new year is not off to a good start either, as Zomato was forced to shut down food delivery services in four Indian cities due to poor uptake. Adding to this was the resignation of Indonesia Country Manager Djunadi Satrio.

The foodtech market in India as a whole has been undergoing a change for some time now. Many startups, including foodpanda and TinyOwl, fired people en masse as part of streamlining operations. Stiff competition, huge discounts and huge delivery costs are creating hindrances in their growth path.

Amid all the hullaballoo, Zomato has formally launched a table reservation system, almost eight months after it acquired US-based online table management startup Nextable (which was rebranded as Zomato Book and integrated into Zomato’s app and web products).

In a statement, Zomato said that it has partnered with hundreds of restaurants across various markets to enable millions of its users to book tables via its app and website.

Also Read: From Archives: Can EazyDiner survive in India’s dog-eat-dog food market?

The service, available at restaurants in multiple cities and languages, allows users to make, modify and cancel bookings in three simple steps at any given time of the day. Users can also sync bookings with calendars and send reminders prior to the booked time.

According to Deepinder Goyal, Founder & CEO of Zomato: “We understand that restaurants want – and need – integrated solutions; that’s why we’ve spent countless hours designing an ecosystem, not just a single app. Zomato Book integrates with our other products to ultimately give restaurant managers a seamless solution for enhanced consumer delight. Hundreds of businesses around the world – ranging from small to 1,000-plus seat restaurants, and even theme park resorts – are already using Zomato Book.”

The firm claims that more than 500 establishments across 21 cities globally are curently using Zomato Book. Restaurant partners include major multinational brand names such as JW Marriott in Dubai and the Kempinski group in Dubai and Ajman, Hard Rock Cafe and The Hilton and The Conrad in Istanbul, Universal Studios Resort in the US, Le Meridien in Gurgaon, The Lalit Hotels across India, as well as local favourites such as Summer House Cafe in Delhi, Arbor Brewing Company in Bangalore and The Bombay Canteen in Mumbai.

Also Read: Global expansion in sight for India’s Dineout thanks to inResto acquisition

Zomato Book also gives restaurant managers a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on inside the restaurant in real time, enabling them to maximise their seating capacity, estimate how long it will be until a table frees up and keep wait-listed customers notified on the availability of tables.

Restaurants can also access data from a customer’s past visits to their restaurant, helping them personalise their customer’s future dining experiences.

Started in 2008, Zomato is a restaurant search and discovery app, providing in-depth information for over 1.4 million restaurants across 23 countries. Zomato is used by consumers globally to discover, rate and review restaurants, as well as create their own personal network of foodies for trusted recommendations.

In September last year, Zomato raised US$60 million in a fresh round of funding led by Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, with participation from existing investor Vy Capital.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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