Having been launched in April 2015 in Delhi with about 150 restaurants and about 400 guests frequenting these outlets, the outfit has grown into an eight-city strong brand with over 2, 000 restaurants on the platform, in the country (Chennai, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata, Goa) and in UAE (Dubai). Rohit Dasgupta, the CEO of EazyDiner and Ahana Bhutani, the VP, Sales are the two Co-founders of the company along with Sanghvi. Dasgupta tells us, “We have been working behind the scenes in Chennai for about 8 to 10 months now. We have signed on about 200 restaurants in the city – comprising both budget and fine dining hotels and pubs. We are adding about 10 to 15 new restaurants on a weekly basis across India.”
A soft launch for Ahmedabad has been planned in April, followed by Hyderabad, in July. Tier 2 cities like Coimbatore, Kochi, Jaipur, Agra are on the anvil in the coming months. Speaking about the cut-offs when it comes to ‘choosing’ one’s investors, Sanghvi, the Chief Critic for the app, who vets the review of each restaurant on the platform before it goes live, says, “When we started the app, a lot of investors had expressed their interest in it, not because I am a genius. It was because it’s based on the model of OpenTable (an online restaurant reservation service firm head quartered in San Francisco), which has seen success in many parts of the world. It was only a matter of time before somebody else brought it to India as there clearly was a gap in the market.”
He adds, “Almost 70 per cent of those who wanted to invest were keen only on gaining market share without making profits in the beginning. However, my co-founders and I were keen on running the business on sound financial principles. We ran the company on a shoestring budget, hoping to break even soon. Start-ups that were founded on unsound economic principles will need to readjust themselves.
Presently, we have five equity investors, some of whom have invested in brick and mortar businesses previously. Deepak Shahdadpuri, who runs DSG Consumer Partners, and is one of the investors in Sula Vineyards and Smoke House Deli is one of our investors.”
About 5.5 lakh users currently use the app to make their reservations instantly. And even people flying in and out of the metros comprise a significant percentage of the app’s user base as Dasgupta reveals, “As much as 20 per cent of the revenue comes from users making intercity reservations. From business travellers to casual flyers, there are people who make their reservations in advance, before they board their flights for tables in highly-coveted restaurants, say a Bombay Canteen in Mumbai, or maybe an Indian Accent in New Delhi. We are also looking at digitising F&B in a large way, helping hotels use data and analytics in a more efficient and profitable manner.”
On the Series B investment that has been planned for the company, which has already raised $5 million, the team said it was seeking investors from Europe and North America.
Thailand and Singapore are the international locations where thought-out expansions have been planned.
Vir Sanghvi, Chief Critic, EazyDiner