#Asia Zomato ID Country Manager: “We have already reached break even in 6 countries”


Karthik Shetty also reveals the company’s grand plan for Indonesia –and what Indonesians like to eat the most in 2015

Karthik Shetty Zomato

Karthik Shetty welcomed e27 into Zomato Indonesia office one day to talk about the latest update from the company.

The Zomato Indonesia Country Manager was appointed recently to replace Djunadi Satrio, who stepped down last year. He had been with the company for 4.5 years in total, in which he had helped set up Zomato’s international operations in many countries, including Indonesia.

“We have a strong local team here and are currently looking to hire a local Country Manager and build the leadership team for the long term. Given my involvement in building up the operations in Indonesia in the past, I’m helping drive this process and we are on track to setting up the core local team for future growth soon,” he says.

We then proceed to talk about the company’s major milestone in Indonesia so far, and the hottest trends in the country’s F&B scene.

The following is the edited excerpt of the conversation.

Also Read: Amid tough weather, Zomato rolls out table reservation feature

What are Zomato’s big agenda for Indonesian market this year?

In February this year, we broke even operationally in six countries, including Indonesia. For any company, especially a startup, I think breaking even is a huge milestone.

Our immediate goal now is to achieve 100 per cent profitability overall in Indonesia very soon.

Long term, is to get involved in various partnerships with different brands which are relevant in the F&B industry, and definitely to expand our services across different cities.

We haven’t yet decided but probably Bandung would be next. There’s a strong connection between the people of Jakarta and Bandung … so the familiarity with Zomato will definitely be there. We also got many requests from users.

We already got almost 21,000 restaurants in Greater Jakarta Area. We’re also present in Bali with almost 4,000 restaurants. Overall in Indonesia we are close to cover 25,000 restaurants.

What are the challenges and opportunities that you see in the market?

There are a lot of opportunities. For example, I think recently there was a study done by Nielsen about the number of smartphone users in Indonesia. End of 2015, there are 50 million new smartphone users in Indonesia. On 2016, it’s like more than 60 million. And I think it’s projected to hit a hundred million by 2018.

That itself is already huge opportunity for consumer-facing brands.

Since smartphone use is heavy over here, obviously mobile data is also the highest in the world.

The other thing is in Indonesia, the number of Android users are far higher than iPhone users. It’s increasing gradually, but that in itself presents a set of opportunities in terms of targetting people based on demographic, income, brand preferences.

On Zomato Indonesia itself, the split between Android and iPhone users is 70 to 30.

We also come up with infographic on food trends that people keep searching for on Zomato. In 2015, we had noticed that sushi, ramen, seafood, steak, and burgers were the highest search categories in Jakarta. It’s a huge opportunities for restaurants to look into.

For challenges, the biggest would be the fact that not all businesses here are ready to promote themselves online. They still prefer traditional methods of promoting themselves. Getting people to adopt new ways is something which is growing but there’s still a lot of scope there.

The other challenge, on the B2B side of things, there are lots of businesses here that targets consumers based on discounting. But in the long run that’s not a very good way to build sustainable user base.

Restaurants do ask us, why doesn’t Zomato offer discounts or something like that? We explained to them the drawbacks of doing discounts. Even for the restaurants … in the long run, it doesn’t create good brand impression.

Also Read: Zomato launches cloud-based POS system for Indian restaurants

What will be your strategy to get ahead in competition?

We’re already leading in terms of stats and Alexa ranking of our site.

We have almost five million sessions per month across web (20 per cent), mobile web (42 per cent) and app (38 per cent) … and almost two million unique users across web and apps.

Indian foodtech scene is changing rapidly. How important is the Indonesian market’s position, and for Indian startups in general?

Southeast Asia has an extremely active food scene, and Indonesia, especially Jakarta, has one of the most vibrant dining out scenes in the region, making it immensely important for companies like ours.

As I also mentioned before, the growth opportunity in the mobile space is immense for any consumer facing player, be it from India or other geographies. And we are seeing global players from other markets set-up their operations in Indonesia as well.

Is India the new “Japan” for Indonesia? What will be your advice for Indian startups looking to get into Indonesian market?

To Indian startups, my advice is to ensure there is a product market fit for your product and factor into account the several nuances and aspects of doing business here. Don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach towards everything, and make sure you hire the right people.

Conquering this market will be like running a marathon, and not a 100 meter sprint.

Anything unique in the Jakarta market in terms of user behaviour?

We see some social media trends replicated on Zomato, that we don’t see in too many other places. For example, taking pictures with your hands in the frame is becoming a fad on Instagram now, and we see a lot of photos on Zomato Jakarta as well of food with peoples hands in the frame.

Image Credit: Zomato Indonesia

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