Eating is a huge deal, as we all know. Apart from being a vital need, people enjoy going out to eat and discovering new restaurants. That’s what Zomato is doing: helping uncover new places to eat. The app has been expanding recently and has just launched in Lisbon. I chatted with Miguel Ribeiro, Zomato’s Portugal Country Manager, to find out more about them.
How does Zomato propose to change the way we go out to eat?
Zomato was created to make restaurant discovery simple and effortless by helping people connect with great places to eat around them. Covering over 228,000 restaurants in 41 cities across 12 countries, Zomato has key restaurant information; everything anyone looking to dine out, order in, or get takeaway would need to know.
We feel Zomato has been shaping the way people eat for some time now, and for a few reasons. For one, you have access to every restaurant in the cities we’re present in at your fingertips. Easy-to-use filters make picking the perfect restaurant extremely easy. Once you’ve picked a place, you can find out business hours, call and make a reservation, browse through the menu and read unbiased reviews about other users’ experiences at the restaurant. A rich, exhaustive content base gives people reason to keep coming back to help them decide where or what to eat. We also have a strong social layer on the website, allowing users to follow one another, share their dining experiences with pictures and reviews.
In what ways can restaurants interact with users?
Zomato is a highly targeted platform that makes it convenient for restaurateurs to interact with their customers and market their product as well. By creating a platform that allows restaurateurs to reply to user reviews, update special menus seasonally and upload carefully crafted food pictures, it helps connect with existing (as well as potential) customers and show that they really care about them. Customer feedback is one of the best ways to know where one can improve, and we’re glad to be able to bridge that gap between restaurant and customer.
How does the social component work?
With the new product roll-out in April, we have moved towards being a social restaurant search service connecting people over their shared love for food. In Portugal, where food is a passion rather than a necessity, Zomato’s additional social layer is ideally suited for this demographic. On Zomato, users can search based on personalised recommendations from trusted reviewers. This allows users to build a more trusted ecosystem of recommendations that will result in quicker and easier decision-making. Among the new features is a FoodFeed that lets people see updates and activities from their network on Zomato, as well as restaurants visited, rated and reviewed – encouraging a more social, real-time discovery of restaurants.
Can you share a bit about your business model?
Our business model is based on selling advertising spaces to restaurant owners. Every month, Zomato has over 16 million users globally who visit the website to search for places to eat at or get home delivery or enjoy the local nightlife. The model is based on hyper-local advertising and also takes into account user preferences.
What are your immediate expansion plans?
Buoyed by how passionate the Portuguese are about their food, we plan to expand to Porto in the next few months and subsequently to Setúbal and Algarve, among other regions. Currently, Zomato covers restaurant information in the Great Lisbon area, which includes Lisbon, Cascais, Oeiras, Sintra, Odivelas, Amadora and Loures. Globally, we are looking to expand to 21 new countries over the next 2 years.
To find out more about Zomato visit http://www.zomato.com/