Deepinder Goyal, co-founder, Zomato says India and UAE are our biggest and most profitable markets right now, and these two markets will continue to grow for us in terms of traffic, revenue and profitability.
Delhi-based online food ordering company Zomato, which started out as a restaurant listing service five years ago, has been on an acquisition spree over the last few years to expand globally. Its most recent acquisition was of US-based Next Table, a table reservation company. Deepinder Goyal, co-founder, Zomato, talks to Avanish Tiwary about his larger plan for the company in terms of both product development and business expansion. Excerpts:
What are your global plans for Zomato?
Our current focus, for the 22 markets we are in, is on ramping up revenue while also building vertical depth within the restaurant space. We will expand our new product offerings, such as online ordering, table reservations and cashless payments, to multiple geographies. For example, we piloted the online ordering feature in India in late May and will soon launch it in Australia, UAE, Qatar, South Africa and the Philippines. We will also launch the cashless payments feature in New Zealand following the traction we have been seeing in the UAE.
On the product front, we are currently working on Zomato Book – our Table Reservations feature, and Zomato Base – our PoS product. There are a couple more exciting projects that we are working on, but it’s too soon to disclose them.
On the geographical expansion front, we are looking to launch in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Singapore and Malaysia over the next 6 to 9 months. We are currently looking at joining forces with food-tech start-ups that are trying to solve real problems globally.
How will Zomato work on the table booking system in India?
Zomato Book is a table reservation and management software that will help restaurants manage their bookings and customer database more efficiently, and also help them draw analytics and insights from the product. Customers will soon be able to make restaurant reservations in real time via the website or app, and restaurants will be be empowered with table management and marketing tools as a part of the same product.
At some point, the India business took a back seat for Zomato. How did it happen?
I don’t think that’s true. Even though there’s been a strong focus on global expansion, acquisitions and product innovation over the past 18 months, India has been and will continue to be one of our strongest markets and we will not take our eyes off it.
Food-tech has become extremely hot and, over the past few months, we have seen intense action and consolidation in the space, especially on home turf. Having said that, there is no other platform that offers the depth or breath of services that we do in India or globally, and we’re going to continue building on that.
What are the challenges for an Indian company going global?
For us, one of the main challenges was to make sure that we had built a solid content platform and that we’d covered every street in the cities we were launching in. It will be a big challenge maintaining the same standard of quality of our content and product as we grow. It’s been incredible seeing Zomato grow from a small four-member team working out of a living room in 2008 to a 2,000-plus-member team working across 50 offices in 22 countries.
What are the global challenges in food tech that you plan to solve?
Connecting customers and merchants across the world is one of the greatest challenges in the food-tech segment and we’re glad we’re doing our bit to make a difference there. There is a huge communication gap between restaurant owners and consumers, as well as a dire need for a seamless product experience that will change the way people dine.
Somewhere over the past six months, our vision for Zomato has become bigger – it changed from being the largest, most exhaustive discovery platform to ensuring we can facilitate every interaction between a restaurant and a user. Online ordering, table reservations and payments are important parts of that vision.
Which is your biggest market right now?
India and UAE are our biggest and most profitable markets right now, and these two markets will continue to grow for us in terms of traffic, revenue and profitability. We are also seeing great traction in other markets, such as Qatar, South Africa, the Philippines, New Zealand, Turkey, Australia and Indonesia, and should be operationally profitable in these markets in the next six to 12 months. We look at the business differently from country to country.