Managing and marketing a restaurant is a serious undertaking that requires commitment, diligence, tact and understanding. To run it smoothly, everything should be planned from start to finish. But how to do that? One such startup functional in this space is DineDesk which helps restaurants with their end-to-end tasks management.
Founded in April 2014 by Ahmed Sharief, Hyderabad-based startup, DineDesk is a cloud based reservation, table management system and marketing platform for the restaurants.
Working on B2B model, the startup helps restaurants in managing and marketing their business. Its core features include online reservations, table management, waitlist management, guest CRM, feedback, marketing, billing and POS, analytics and statistics.
Also, the company is launching its B2C business by the brand name of ReserveDine which is a restaurant discovery, reservation, reviews, analytics and content driven platform. The startup claims that the new ReserveDine platform will be different from current discovery portals that are in the market. The user experience and the verified content brings in the differentiator.
Talking about the startup, Ahmed told iamwire that, “Our vision is to be the first to provide a platform to manage customer facing operations for restaurants globally. In certain geographies like US and India where we have access, we have our own sales force to sell it. In other countries, we have formulated strategic partnerships across different geographies and have a network of resellers doing sales for us.”
DinesDesk currently operates in India, Thailand, UAE, Indonesia, Singapore and USA.
During a few business lunches at restaurants, Ahmed met with a group of friends who were restaurant operators. They often spoke about operational and marketing issues that they face. Probing further, Ahmed heard from them complains regarding lack of automation in many restaurants. There are lot of restaurants that still use paper and pen for managing their operations. And those restaurants that had automated their operations complain about heavy setup and monthly recurring cost incurred.
“Alongside they had issues about using several solutions for their different needs including reservations, operations, marketing, order taking, feedback etc; this made us think why not offer a solution with 360 degree suite of tools, a solution that could assist in managing reservations to operations and feedback. That’s where the concept of Dine Desk was born,” added Ahmed.
What problems is it solving?
Restaurant operations are inherently complex, from marketing to dining room management. Large percentage of restaurants still use the traditional paper based reservation book and feedback mechanism. Restaurants that use technology complain about systems being complicated to use, expensive to setup and high recurring costs. And worst of all, the tools lack integration, forcing restaurants to work with multiple vendors, learn many systems, often purchase special hardware, and remember endless passwords.
It also becomes difficult to aggregate bookings and deals from multiple sources. Restaurants need several providers to manage their IT and social assets like website, mobile website, mobile app, Facebook, twitter, Google plus etc. Managing the assets require specialized skills or outsourcing to IT providers. DineDesk is solving this by offering premium 360-degree suite of products with guest experience at a affordable cost.
DineDesk offers restaurants an integrated suite of tools to manage all aspects of online marketing, reservations and guest management on their Android mobile.
DineDesk raised $100,000 seed round from angel investors. These funds were used to develop the product, build technology and marketing team, develop initial business model, launch beta product, formulate partnerships in a few countries, branding and marketing.
The startup is now looking to raise $ 500,000 to scale up the business, refine its business model, grow network of partnerships to launch DineDesk to several other countries, build sales force across different geographies, expand team or management and advisory board etc.
Within a few months of its launch, DineDesk has signed up close to 120 restaurants and 5 partners across UAE, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines. It will be reaching to a figure of 1000 restaurants by end of 2016.
The firm has just released the iPad and Android tablet version, currently in beta testing.
In those geographical areas where DineDesk has its presence; it sells a monthly subscription to restaurants at $50, which is its initial offering. In other countries, where the firm has employed a partner or reseller, the startup retains about 50-60% of the monthly subscription fee. With the new ReserveDine, it intends to charge restaurants a fee per every booking or order taken through it.
The startup will be reaching to a figure of 1000 restaurants by end of 2016. Also, it intend to build its network of reselling partnerships across US, Australia, Japan, China, Latin America, Europe and Middle East in coming years.
“As we keep expanding our B2B product Dine Desk, we also envision adding up close to 3000 Restaurants on ReserveDine. We would like to show a growth rate of about 45% in revenues and refine our business model as well,” said Ahmed. We envision “Making things Easier” in this vast ecosystem of restaurant industry. Truly a disrupter of business models, DineDesk is making its presence felt.
Market Opportunities and Competition
Research estimates 8-10 million restaurants worldwide, with about 800,000 in the US and 1.4 million in Europe. DineDesk’s current addressable market includes only restaurants that take reservations, engage in social media, or promote themselves online. It estimate it to be around 290,000 restaurants.
As a global company, DineDesk has different competitors in different geographies. In US market, it has two competitors – OpenTable and Yelp Seatme. Other player in this market include Zomato which had acquired US-based restaurant reservations and table management platform NexTable in April 2015, and launched restaurant reservation service in India, by the name of ZomatoBook. Another firms playing in similar space are WowTables which was earlier known as GourmetItUp, and DineOut which has been acquired by Times Internet Ltd’s listing service TimesCity.