Info Edge backed, online restaurant and events guide, Zomato has now entered the print segment, with the launch of a Restaurant Guide for Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. The company has partnered Hatchette Books for publishing 1,00,000 copies of the guide, initially. Hatchette inturn has exclusively partnered with Flipkart, to make the book available online, and has already started taking pre-orders, at a discounted price. The guide is expected to hit the shelves in the second week of May. Zomato also intends to launch an e-book version, through Apple’s iBooks, in a couple of weeks.
Why move to print?; Isn’t the food guides space already crowded?
Speaking with MediaNama, Zomato founder, Deepinder Goyal said that the move will allow Zomato to reach out to more customers, specially the ones who don’t access the internet. Also, it would give the company more exposure in the B2B segment, which is still not internet savvy. According to Goyal, it’s also a form of marketing exercise, which will help the company gain more users.
On being asked how Zomato’s food guide would be different from those published by others including leading media houses, he responded that the Guide is not just a directory listing of restaurants, but is more like a curated list featuring restaurants indexed on the basis of occasions. The guide will feature 20 such lists including ones based on ocassions like romantic dinners, girls’ night out, dining with kids, among others. Each will feature 15-20 restaurants, and all related info except for pictures and menus, which Zomato has integrated via the use of a QR code. So it hopes that this feature will also result in an increase in traffic on the site. This means that it would only feature select restaurants. Goyal informs that the Delhi guide features only 195 restaurants.
Interestingly, Zomato claims that the occasions have been sourced on the basis of searches on the Zomato website. However, it does not intend to make this content available online. On being asked if the company will come out with an updated guide every year, he responded that it does plan to publish more copies of the guide, once the initial copies are sold out, and could even update them. It hopes to come out with a guide every year.
Will this be another source of revenue?; Tie-up with Flipkart
According to Goyal, Zomato has already made profits on the guide, through ad-placements. It has sold ad space to existing partner restaurants. He also revealed that Zomato wanted the guide to be exclusively available on Flipkart, and had convinced Hatchette for the same. The reason that he gives is that the company wants to have a focused approach, and that the founders of the two companies were always bullish of the idea of launching a food guide.
Zomato is looking to expand to new markets in Singapore, Dubai and Shanghai. Goyal informed that the company has done it’s groundwork, and is hiring new people for international operations. So, is the company planning to raise fresh funding for it? – He responded that Zomato has enough funds from the second round to invest towards the expansion. However, it was in talks to raise a fresh funding for expanding its events section. He also informed that Zomato’s India business had almost broken-even. The company plans to follow the same business model in the new markets.
He also said that Zomato intends to expand its ticketing offering, with a focus on events. However, it would stay out of movie ticketing. Interestingly, during new year’s eve, when Zomato had tied-up with a large number of restaurants and hotels for party tickets, the average transaction size was Rs 16,000 and the maximum amount for a transaction went upto Rs 3.25 lakh. Zomato intends to leverage on the IPL season, and is tying up with a number of restaurants, bars and lounges for screening events.
Windows Phone App
The company has added events to its Windows Phone app, and intends to bring the section to other mobile platforms in the next update. The Windows Phone app has been downloaded 10,000 times. We asked if there was a push from Microsoft or some sort of a development incentive for the app, to which he responded that even though Windows Phone was a new platform, it might get more traction in the future and the company wants to support all modern platforms. He denied the app’s development being funded by Microsoft, although he did admit that Nokia was behind all the push that WP7 is getting in India.